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Top Five Films About the Porn Industry

Simon Rex’s ‘Red Rocket’ joins a distinguished list of quality movies about a seedy business.


Alongside this week’s ‘Who the F*** Are You?’ interview with actor Simon Rex, who has been lauded far and wide for his portrayal of past-it porn star Mikey Saber in the critically acclaimed movie ‘Red Rocket’, we thought it would be fun to share a list of best movies covering the somewhat taboo theme of porn in conventional cinema. Are you ready….


Red Rocket

Conceived, written and directed by ace indie filmmaker Sean Baker, whose penchant is to focus on those living on the fringes of society, ‘Red Rocket’ is a cracker of a dark comedy. It’s a vibrant, ground-level look at modern American life, whereby the protagonist Mikey Saber (Simon Rex) is a charming, narcissistic, washed-up porn star, a natural born hustler who returns to his small Texas hometown, proud of his award-winning career and looking for a way to plot his comeback. The majority of actors that Baker employs, aside from Rex, who pulls off the performance of a lifetime, have never acted before and are locals from the area. Baker met Suzanna Son — who does a fine job of playing Strawberry, the subject of Saber’s attention — whilst waiting in a movie line with his wife. Distributed by A24, Red Rocket has been the talk of all the film festivals, gaining great kudos and respect, and was seen as the dark horse (and a much deserving) contender for the Oscars until the nominations were announced this week.


Middle Men

Directed by George Gallo and based on true events, the 2009 movie ‘Middle Men’ is a high octane, on point, brilliant look at the genesis of the internet porn business. Starring Luke Wilson as clean-cut businessman Jack Harris, we see him struggle with his principles and conscience as he delves into the darker world of internet commerce. He partners with genius but drugged-up duo, Buck Dolby and Wayne Beering (played by Gabriel Macht and Giovanni Beering) and tries to remain alive, sane, and to not drown in a sea of conmen, mobsters, drug addicts, and porn stars. It’s an absolute romp, extremely entertaining and has deservedly become something of a cult classic with a bevy of lines such as this: “If I’ve learned one thing, it’s that business is a lot like sex. Getting in is easy, pulling out is hard.”


Boogie Nights

A veritable classic and the second feature from genius filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson, ‘Boogie Nights’, is set during the golden age of porn in and around LA’s San Fernando Valley, where Anderson grew up. The 1997 film established Mark Wahlberg’s acting chops, playing high school dropout Eddie Adams as his work and life trajectory take him from nightclub dish washer to porn industry superstar Dirk Diggler. We watch Dirk and his legendary large penis ride the cocaine-fueled high’s and subsequent lows of an industry populated with every type of colorful, idiosyncratic character, always present and intricately woven into all of Anderson’s films. His career is managed by porn director Jack Horner, played to the hilt by Burt Reynolds, and with a supporting ensemble cast that includes Julianne Moore, Don Cheadle, Heather Graham, William H Macy and the late, great Philip Seymour Hoffman, the film received both critical and commercial success and remains the go-to in its field.


The People Vs. Larry Flynt

‘The People Vs. Larry Flynt’ is a 1996 biographical film based on the story of original ‘Hustler’ magazine publisher Larry Flynt. Starring Woody Harrelson as Flynt, the movie charts his rise from impoverished roots in Kentucky to the heady heights of the adult entertainment industry, and his multiple clashes with the law, religious institutions, and anti-porn campaigners that comes with such turf. With brilliant performances by Courtney Love as Flynt’s muse, and Edward Norton as his on and off again lawyer, Alan Isaacman, the movie — directed by Milos Forman and produced by Oliver Stone — won critical acclaim and Academy Award nominations for both Harrelson and Forman. A bona fide irascible iconoclast, Flynt wasn’t shy in voicing his arguments such as, “Murder is illegal, but if you take a picture of it, you may get your name in a magazine or may win a Pulitzer Prize. However, sex is legal, but if you take a picture of that act, you can go to jail.” It’s a fair point… and another extremely entertaining movie.


Lovelace

Another engaging biographical drama is ‘Lovelace’, starring Amanda Seyfried as iconic porn actress Linda Lovelace, star of the 1972 seminal adult move ‘Deep Throat.’ The film chronicles girl next door Linda (real name Linda Boreman) who, struggling with her family. is courted by an older man, Chuck Trainor (Peter Sarsgaard). Chuck capitalizes on her vulnerability, grooms her for pornographic film stardom, and marries her — but soon becomes abusive and jealous of the company and attention she is attracting as Lovelace, the number one porn star in the business. Seyfried is brilliant in the role and is accompanied by a plethora of excellent performances from Sharon Stone, Chloe Sevigny, Hank Azaria, Juno Temple and Bobby Cannavale. Despite lukewarm reviews by the critics, Lovelace is a fantastic story covering a moment in history and one woman’s journey.

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