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

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Pornonomy Revies: Sex Games

Sex Games (1983)

Directed by:
Paul G. Vatelli

Becky Savage
Betty Jane
Cody Nicole
Julia Parton
Melanie Scott
Nicole Black
Shauna Grant
Kevin James
Ron Jeremy

You might expect a film that deals with hacking into computers in the early '80s with the a name like Sex Games to deal with the sexy consequences of the threat of nuclear war. In fact, though, it seems like the film was originally titled Electric Love (considering the end credits), so the re-title was probably just an attempt to cash in on the popularity of War Games.

After seeing a special on the exciting new world of home computers, Peter (James) becomes fascinated by the idea of computer dating. After his roommate, Howie (Jeremy), tells him about a special he saw about "computer bandits" that break into other computers through the telephone, Peter hatches a plan to access the records of women at the local computer dating service in order to have the inside scoop on their fantasies. (What isn't explained is why he chooses this route over staying in his current - and by all indications from the opening scene - sexually satisfying relationship. I guess sex with many women trumps sex with one woman.)

After registering with the computer dating service and tricking employee Linda (Nicole) into giving him her access code, Peter accesses the profiles of Colleen (Grant), Chris (Savage), and "Artist" (Scott), finding out that they're looking for a classy man, a rugged biker, and an artist, respectively. Of course, armed with this information and the can't-miss alias "John Smith," Peter takes the women to, I don't know, new sexual heights.

Even though the women call the dating service with rave reviews of "John Smith," the fact that someone's been hacking (or, bandit-ing?) the system causes consternation in the office. Linda decides to set a trap for the elusive Smith. Upon getting caught up, Peter is given the option of prison or "doing whatever" Linda says. So, obviously, he chooses prison. No, wait, that's not right. [SPOILER ALERT] He chooses to have sex with Linda.

For an 84 minute film, it's sort of surprising that there are only six sex scenes. And with the exception of a semi-unnecessary scene between Howie and his girlfriend Tangerine (Jane), they're all James plus woman (or women, in one scene). There is also a surprising amount of time between some sex scenes, but that time is well spent documenting some great vintage computer well as a (presumed unintentionally) hilarious candle light dinner seduction scene and an awful Marlon Brando impression.

For that great footage, James' typical goofy charm, and the fact that, although I've probably seen her before, Sex Games brought Becky Savage to my attention, I'll give it a B.

Pornonomy Reviews: Getting Lucky

Getting Lucky (1984)

Directed by:
Paul G. Vatelli

Angel West
Barbara Alton
Shana Evans
Janey Robbins
Renee Summers
Mary Ann Richards
Misty Dawn
Cynthia Brooks
Eric Edwards
Craig Roberts
Marc Wallice
Todd Keller

Another day, another Vatelli flick. This one's a blast from the past, though. Like Dangerous Desires, this is a film I saw nearly twenty years ago, but couldn't remember the title. As soon as it started, though, I knew immediately that Getting Lucky was the film I was thinking of.

Honoring the teen flick staple of taking place in a single day (seen from American Graffiti to Adventures In Babysitting to Superbad - which, okay, probably takes place in, like 30 hours, but who's counting?), Getting Lucky starts at a high school graduation party and ends the following morning. In between, it follows three friends, recent grads played by Todd Keller and Craig Roberts, and "slightly older guy who hangs out with high schoolers that doesn't seem too weird at the time but is pretty creepy when you get older and think about it" Eric Edwards. Intending to head out to a club, the group gets broken up when, stopping at a liquor store to get beer en route, Roberts (who's character "Moon" was probably intended as a sort of scene-stealing slob - Booger, for instance - but just doesn't pan out) is "abducted" by three horny chicks in a van who've made a bet amongst themselves, while cruising around drinking beer, that they can make a guy come ten times in a single night.

Next, after Keller and Edwards get to the bar, Edwards is propositioned by a couple of hustlers (Robbins and Evans). After explaining that normally he's the one paid for sex, they decide that "whoever enjoys it more will pay." Which, yeah, will totally work out....

Left alone, and feeling low because he wasn't able to score with his girlfriend before leaving the party, Keller shuffles out into the street, nearly being run over by a limo. Lucky for him, the rich passenger (Duscha, who's "introduced" by this film, and after the introduction...yeah, I guess I wouldn't have been too torn up if we'd never "met"), offers him a ride (if you catch my drift, wocka wocka).

It's unfortunate, really, that for starting as strongly as it did - there was a really great "they're not really talking about what you think they're talking about" moment to open the movie, and the handwritten "Fuckin'" on the "Happy Graduation" banner is a nice touch - Getting Lucky loses a lot of steam after it gets into what should be the meat of the action. Still, Getting Lucky is a solid reflection of its era, one that arguably defined the teen sex comedy, and is probably better than most of the American Pie knock-offs from the past decade. B-

Monday, March 21, 2011

Pornonomy Reviews: Bodies In Heat

Bodies In Heat (1983)

Directed by:
Paul G. Vatelli

Annette Haven
Christie Kaye
Crystal Fire
Janey Robbins
Kimberly Carson
Laura Sands
Raysheena Mercado
Anthony Spinoza
Billy Dee
Eric Edwards
Gilberto Ciro
Hershel Savage
Jerry Davis
Jerry Gullo

Basically since rediscovering Stiff Competition, I've been on the lookout for a film that will give it a run for it's money. As a starting point, I've checked out a few Vatelli films from the same period, and while Lips was a disappointment, and The Girl From S.E.X. showed promise, Bodies in Heat has come closest.

Initially, I was going to comment that Bodies In Heat, like Lips, was a name that had little to do with the movie until I remembered, duh, Body Heat. While In Heat doesn't push the noir feel as far as Heat, the tone is undeniable.

Harry Green (Savage) is a playboy detective who is called in to investigate a robbery at the home of a high-powered lawyer Lawrence DeSalvo. He's met at the house by Laura DeSalvo (Haven), the lawyer's cool, beautiful wife. Green is seduced by Laura, and is further intrigued by her and her situation after a little digging shows her husband's clients are exclusively big time criminals.

Later, when Laura tells Green that she's afraid her husband is going kill her, Green concocts a scheme which ends up with an outcome that is only surprising if (1) you're delightfully naive or (2) are completely unfamiliar with the idea of a femme fatale. While the action/consequence is predictable, the veeery final moment was a twist that actual did surprise me. (Who knows, maybe I'm a little "delightfully naive"....)

With the exception of a pool party/orgy, the sex scenes don't feel too tacked on, which is always nice. Savage and Haven both do great jobs in their roles. The male lead, here, could have been more-than-capably handled by John Leslie, but it's actually nice to see Savage - who often seems relegated to second banana (no pun intended) roles. And Haven's reputed icy and professional demeanor fits the character to a tee. There's a pretty substantial cast list, but with the exception of Lisa DeLeeuw (unfortunately in a non-sex role) as Green's partner, and Kimberly Carson as the station dispatcher who's emotionally and sexually toyed with by Green, there aren't any identifiable characters. At least everybody else is competent, so there aren't any super distracting performances. (Unless you count Janey Robbins's wig in the first scene....)

Do I think there's a film that can unseat Stiff Competition from it's top spot? I hope so. Well, Bodies In Heat isn't it.... But it's not too shabby. B