Saturday, March 12, 2022

Centerfold Celebrities (1982)

"The tape you're about to see is called
Celebrity Centerfolds.

What is a 'celebrity centerfold'?

The girls you're about to see, in x-rated action, hardcore sex, are girls that you see and fantasize about in men's magazines."

So says director Bobby Hollander in the introduction to the video Centerfold Celebrities or Celebrity Centerfolds or maybe Triple X Confessions 1 depending on which version you come across.

He goes on to say, "You'll see them in adult films and hear how they feel about posing in the nude for you, out there, to see."

Bobby's first interview is with Laurien Wilde (credited and introduced as "Lauren Wild"), who was just a few months into her adult career. She has a natural charm and while Bobby Hollander was no Johnny Carson, his conversation with Wilde was pleasant enough, and he was quick enough on his feet to drop a laugh-out-loud moment when Wilde said her preferred dick was, "Long and not toooo...round in circumference," and he asked, "Not square?!?" to which she clarified she meant not too thick.

The interview wraps and transitions into a "hot, fabulous sex scene" (um, if you say so, Bobby) that's just a her-first-then-him oral sex trade with some muscle head named Merrick Flint (aka Ferris Weal).

You would think it'd go back to Bobby Hollander for an interview with the next "celebrity centerfold", but before a pattern can even get set, it's broken by cutting to Cody Nicole masturbating on the back corner of a couch while Tom Byron tries to watch a football game.

They end up having pretty standard sex on the couch (set to a library music song that I'd almost guarantee was used on an episode of The Love Boat).

So then it is back to Bobby Hollander for a conversation not with a girl we fantasize about from men's magazines, but Laurien Wilde's scene partner Merrick. There's nothing remotely interesting about their conversation, although Merrick seems like a legitimately nice guy. He's Canadian, so that tracks.

Instead of getting another hardcore scene, it's back-to-back interviews, with Laurie Smith next up. Hollander's lack of interviewing skill and tact is on fine display when he asks Smith how old she is and then, when she obviously fibs and says she's twenty two, starts naming every woman in the adult industry (including his wife, Gloria Leonard) who's over thirty. Laurie Smith is also awfully charismatic.

From the interview, it's thrown to a sapphic encounter between Smith and Cody Nicole. The ladies seem to have a good time, so you can't argue with that.

Again, it's back to Bobby on the couch, this time with Pepper Hinds. Hollander may be a clumsy interviewer, but Hinds is a wreck as an interviewee. Maybe she was nervous, but she ends every answer with a laugh that you can tell she thinks is way sexier than it is. 

Then, things get really awkward when Hollander asks her how old she was when she gave her first blowjob. When the answer surprises him (suffice to say, it's way too young), for some reason, he asks how old the guy was (way too old), and then, FOR SOME REASON, asks if it was a relative. And THEN FOR SOME REASON ASKS IF SHE LIKED IT. Jesus Christ! I don't know who had the genius idea to leave that exchange in the movie....
Then it's on to the Pepper Hinds/Steve Douglas hardcore scene. I've never paid a ton of attention to Steve Douglas, but he always struck me as a pretty nice dude (who knows, maybe he's Canadian, too). For a good chunk of the scene, he seems a little on his heels with how aggressively dirty Hinds is. Ultimately, he finds his sea legs and they end up turning in the most interesting scene of the movie, in part to some so-bad-it's-avante-garde camera work and a brief soundtrack departure that sounds like somebody trying out sci-fi patches on their new synthesizer.

The final interview was Karen Summer (credited as Ricky Lane) in her first hardcore movie appearance. Given that her interview started with just seven minutes left, both her conversation and her scene with Marc Wallice were short and to the point.

I'll hand it to Bobby Hollander, he was ahead of his time making Centerfold Celebrities. Starlet interviews before hardcore scenes have been the norm in non-feature porn for, Christ, decades now. Sure, Hollander probably owed some credit to what Al Goldstein had done with Midnight Blue - and Centerfold Celebrities has some Big Cable Access Energy in the production value - but I can't think of another strictly hardcore presentation from the era with a format like that. Suze Randall's Suze's Centerfolds from a few years prior to Centerfold Celebrities lacks the interview angle. Gerard Damiano's Consenting Adults released the same year as Hollander's project is in the same ballpark. Anthony Spinelli's Reel People is the best comparison I can come up with of the top of my head, but that was released a year later, and for all I know was directly influenced by Hollander.

I'd imagine it was a pretty cost-effective movie to make, too, since it was shot on video and - judging by the traffic noise in the background - he didn't have to spring for an even basic studio. If I were him, I'd return to the well, too: he shot four more Centerfold Celebrities entries between '83 and '85 and then knocked out two more in 1994. If Hollander got any better at conducting interviews, I'll have to find out on my own time: none of the '80s flicks that could have been reviewed by Robert Rimmer ended up as Collector's Choice selections.

I have to assume Rimmer recommended this on the strength of the novelty (and maybe some of the charm of Laurien Wilde, Laurie Smith, and Karen Summer), because it couldn't have been for the so-so hardcore. Let's see what he has to say for himself:

[F]or the most part, unlike the men's sex magazines in which the women porno stars give ecstatic respones to similar questions [about their careers and sex lives], these women seem unusually forthright and honest. ...The fascinating overall impression from this tape is that these women may be prototypes of he twenty-first century women who are totally at ease with themselves as naked ladies or ladies enjoying sex....

That might be overstating it, but in Rimmer's defense, he spends a chunk of his review talking about the Cody Nicole interview that was not in the version I saw. I'll have to see if I can find another edition that includes it, since it may change my perspective. Based on the version I did see, I'll say if Bobby Hollander was 20% better at conducting interviews, the movie'd get a much higher rating than the CC100 it earned here.

° Laurien Wilde said she'd just shot her first hardcore feature the week before she sat down with Bobby Hollander. She says it's called Phone Sex but it was either re-titled or she just spaced, because it's almost Let's Talk Sex, released the following year.

° Bobby Hollander slips and calls Wilde "Jennifer" which I'm guessing is her real first name.

° Speaking of real names, in response to people she's enjoyed working with, Pepper Hinds presumably used Kelly Nichols's real name since it the audio was cut out, and Hollander is quick to say, "That's Kelly Nichols."

° As I mentioned, this video has a couple AKAs. I think Centerfold Celebrities is the most accurate, since it implies the models are celebrities because they're centerfolds. Celebrity Centerfolds sounds like current celebrities that decided to pose nude. And Triple X Confessions just doesn't fit at all.


Okay, so that's two straight less than stellar pictures after a long-ass break. Throw me a bone, randomizer!


Now that's more like it!

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