Monday, March 28, 2011

Pornonomy Reviews: Talk Dirty To Me

Talk Dirty To Me (1979)

Directed by:
Anthony Spinelli

Cris Cassidy
Jesie St. James
Juliet Anderson
Sharon Kane
Aaron Stuart
John Leslie
Richard Pacheco

I've seen about two thirds of Nothing To Hide spread out over four parts. The reason I could never quite get through it is while "you got chocolate in my peanut butter!" is a good thing, "you got Of Mice and Men in my porno!" decidedly is not.

I found out later that NTH is a sequel to Talk Dirty To Me, which until today, I hadn't seen. I was surprised, though, because I had seen Talk Dirty To Me 3 (New) - so, not the Traci Lords version, for obvious reasons. Talk Dirty To Me 3 was about a mermaid, so I assumed that the first and second film would have similarly whimsical tones, light years from the "reality" of Nothing To Hide.

Within fifteen seconds of the start of Talk Dirty To Me, it was apparent that my assumption was incorrect. As in Nothing To Hide, Lenny (Pacheco) is ladies man Jack's (Leslie) slow best friend. (So Lenny is Lennie to Jack's George.) Now, I'm going to go on record that I think the developmentally disabled finding emotional and physical love is great. And I don't have a problem with it in pornography. In theory. The thing is, such a performance would require a nuance that, for the most part, is beyond the acting skills of most X actors. Pacheco plays Lenny with a sort of manic simpleton-ness that would be like filling Nick Kroll's "advanced aging disease-having six year old" from Children's Hospital full of Mello Yello: not bad if it's an over the top comedy, I guess, but cringe-inducing when played straight. Nothing To Hide didn't sit well because the film primarily revolved around Lenny. Mercifully, with the exception of the first ten or fifteen (non-hardcore) minutes, Lenny's pretty well relegated to the background.

Instead, the story focuses on Jack's attempt to bed "Marlene" (St. James), a married woman whose husband (Stuart) is away on business. While we were shown that she and her husband have sex, it's also demonstrated that his unwillingness to talk dirty leaves her unsatisfied. Fortuitously, talking dirty is sort of Jack's forte, evidenced early on by his ability to seduce a doctor (Cassidy) by saying how much he'd like to suck her nipples (an approach with a pretty dubious real-life efficacy...).

After crafting a solid game to get close to Marlene using their shared love for classic cinema and "happening" upon her house while looking for work, Jack has trysts with a met-his-match sexually aggressive realtor (Anderson) and a 'round-the-way girl, Rose (Kane). Rose tells her friend Jill (LeMay, in a surprisingly non-sex role considering she and Kane were given a stereotypically hilarious girl-girl set up when Pacheco and Leslie left the "party" to get beer...) that she's into Jack because he's such a freak. Jack really ratchets up the freakiness by taking Rose into a sleeping Marlene's bedroom, taking her from behind on the floor, just feet from the bed. I typically shy away from the sort of "red hot fucking" prose that crops up in most reviews, but I'm compelled to point out that - owing no small part to Kane and Leslie's talents and chemistry - the scene is some red hot fucking.

Finally, Jack accomplishes his mission, bedding Marlene. The scene is cut against Rose instructing Lenny in the art of physical love. The only scene featuring Lenny, it actually sheds an interesting light on the relationship between Jack and Lenny. Answering Rose, Lenny says that Jack will set him up with women (after he's had them), but it doesn't go super well, because he does his best to emulate the way Jack is with women. Of course, Jack has a certain "I don't know quois" that allows him to be successful with his approach. Lenny does not.

Ending after these scenes, it's worth noting that the film doesn't include any repercussions for Marlene's infidelity: her husband doesn't bust in, she doesn't profess her love for Jack, only to be scorned, her house doesn't explode.... Now, it's possible that pornography doesn't tend to punish women's sexuality the way mainstream films often do (I haven't really paid that much attention, to be honest), but it's something that struck me, anyway.

After Talk Dirty To Me, I'm inclined to finally finish Nothing To Hide, but it's gonna be pretty tough to try to watch it through fresh eyes. Additionally, I'll have to check out Talk Dirty To Me 2, in order to see to what extent the film seems like a series reboot. Anyway, the first installment is well constructed, well paced, and well acted (look, I'll concede that Pacheco does the best he probably could have). B


  1. Need to pick this one up. I actually really liked NOTHING TO HIDE. Didn't mind Pacheco but thought that Chelsea Manchester aka Tygr, did a better job as the female yin to Lenny's yang. Of course, John Leslie was great but he was great in everything. Good review!

  2. I adore both films! (Obviously). I have no problem getting some Mice and Men in my porn if it turns out as captivating and wonderful as this and NtH. A+ for both in my view.

    Oh, and this: "Now, it's possible that pornography doesn't tend to punish women's sexuality the way mainstream films often do (I haven't really paid that much attention, to be honest), but it's something that struck me, anyway."

    I've thought about this a lot, as has Linda Williams in her essay "Film Bodies" where she states that (non-BDSM) hardcore porn is one of the only genres of film that does not punish women for active sexuality. So, there ya go!