10 Alternative Films About the Porn Industry to Enjoy This Weekend

I think we can all agree that modern depictions of the porn industry’s sordid and dark underbelly peaked at Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights. But as a rich topic that’s intriguing, not only for the lucrative and ever-evolving nature of the industry, but for the characters and people that have been a part of it, of course cinema has had its fair share of films devoted to just what really goes on between the sheets and behind the scenes.

And this week, Rob Epstein’s Lovelace rolls into theaters, telling the biographical story of Linda Lovelace in a movie “about the chasm between public perception and private experience.” But with a plethora of interesting and entertaining films that penetrate the same discussion, why not spend some time going deep into those worlds as well? So whether you’re excited for Epstein’s latest or looking for an enticing alternative, we’ve provided you with some options. From Anderson’s brilliant film to documentaries that truly take you behind the scenes, and a bit of everything in between, here are some porn-centric films to enjoy this weekend.

Boogie Nights

"Few films have been more matter-of-fact, even disenchanted, about sexuality. Adult films are a business here, not a dalliance or a pastime, and one of the charms of "Boogie Nights” is the way it shows the everyday backstage humdrum life of porno filmmaking…Boogie Nights has the quality of many great films, in that it always seems alive. A movie can be very good and yet not draw us in, not involve us in the moment-to-moment sensation of seeing lives as they are lived. As a writer and director, Paul Thomas Anderson is a skilled reporter who fills his screen with understated, authentic details…In examining the business of catering to lust, Boogie Nights demystifies its sex (that’s probably one reason it avoided the NC-17 rating). Mainstream movies use sex like porno films do, to turn us on. Boogie Nights abandons the illusion that characters are enjoying sex; in a sense, it’s about manufacturing a consumer product. By the time the final shot arrives and we see what made the Colonel stare, there is no longer any shred of illusion that it is anything more than a commodity. And in Dirk Diggler’s most anguished scene, as he shouts at Jack Horner, "I’m ready to shoot my scene RIGHT NOW!” we learn that those who live by the sword can also die by it." 


Inside Deep Throat

"The movie uses new and old interviews and newsreel footage to remember a time when porn was brand-new. In my 1973 review of Deep Throat, written three days after a police raid on the Chicago theater showing it, I wrote: "The movie became ‘pornographic chic’ in New York before it was busted. Mike Nichols told Truman Capote he shouldn’t miss it, and then the word just sort of got around: This is the first stag film to see with a date."…As for Deep Throat, it remembers a time before pornography was boring, and a climate in which non-pornographic films might consider bolder sexual content. It has some colorful characters, including a retired Florida exhibitor whose wife provides a running commentary on everything he says. And it tells us where they are now: Damiano is comfortably retired, Lovelace died in a traffic accident, and her co-star Harry Reems is a recovering substance abuser who now works as a realtor in Park City, Utah, home of the Sundance Film Festival."    


Behind the Green Door

There’s a rumor that Stanley Kubrick once considered making a big budget pornographic film just to show people how it should be done. I’m not sure it would have worked. Hard-core pornography has a way of moving beyond eroticism and into images of clinical detail. I’ve always found soft-core movies more erotic.As for the scenes in Behind the Green Door, the least you can say of them, I suppose, is that they’re incredible. The plot (if I may misuse the word) involves a series of fantasies in which Miss Chambers is forced to undergo public humiliation at an orgy attended by various freaks. She puts up a token resistance for about seven seconds, after which we get an hour of surrender. Who knows? It might have been more interesting if she had resisted.”    


"Rashomon was told with great clarity; we were always sure whose version we were seeing, and why. Wonderland is told through a bewildering tap-dance on the timeline, with lots of subtitles that say things like ‘Four months earlier’ or ‘July 1, 1981.’ There are so many of these titles, and the movie’s chronology is so shuffled, that they become more frustrating than helpful. The titles of course reflect the version of the facts they introduce, so that a given event might or might not have happened ‘Three weeks later.’ Actors separated from chronology have their work cut out for them. A performance can’t build if it starts at the end and circles in both directions toward the beginning. Yet Val Kilmer is convincing as John Holmes, especially when he pinballs from one emotion to another; we see him charming, ugly, self-pitying, paranoid, and above all in need of a fix. Holmes, acting under the name ‘Johnny Wadd,’ made a thousand hard-core pornos (according to this movie) or more than 2,500 (according to the Web site). But by the time of the action, drugs have replaced sex as his obsession and occupation, and Kilmer does a good job of showing how an addict is always really thinking about only one thing."    

Rated X

"Production values are thin, a sense of time and place barely indicated (entire production was shot in Toronto, hardly a good double for S.F.), and one only has to think of Boogie Nights to realize how much texture and feeling can be summoned from such similarly seedy material. But the brother angle does give this story a distinctive dimension, and the brothers Estevez and Sheen, their pates shaved to help them represent the odd-looking Mitchells, do an uncanny, genuinely impressive job. The family tidbits offered up, including the fact that the Mitchells’ aging parents were so supportive that they attended the premieres of their boys’ films, help suggest their skewed moral sense, and small hints of affection, distrust and other emotions, some no doubt real between Estevez and Sheen, accumulate to create a credible portrait of a deeply problematic sibling relationship."    


"Orgazmo, a comedy by South Park co-creator Trey Parker, is the very soul of sophomorism. It is callow, gauche, obvious and awkward, and designed to appeal to those with similar qualities. It stars Parker himself as Elder Joe Young, a Mormon missionary who agrees to appear in a porn film in order to raise $20,000 so that he can be married in the temple in Salt Lake City. True to the film’s sophomorism, it is not a satire of Mormonism, but simply uses Mormons in the conviction that their seriousness will be funny to gapejaws in the audience–to whom all sincerity is threatening, and therefore funny. Orgazmo was made before Trey Parker and Matt Stone became famous for the South Park cable cartoon program. (There is an even earlier film, Cannibal: The Musical, which is unseen by me and has an excellent chance of remaining so.) South Park is elegant, in its way: A self-contained animated universe that functions as a laboratory to conduct experiments in affronting the values of viewers, who, if they held them, would not be watching. I like South Park.  It has wit. I guess Orgazmo was a stage the boys had to go through. They’re juniors now."    


The People Vs. Larry Flint

"…Forman constructs a fascinating biopic about a man who went from rags to riches by never overestimating the taste of his readers. If you question the dimensions of Hustler’s success, reflect that a modern skyscraper towers in Los Angeles, proclaiming FLYNT PUBLICATIONS from its rooftop…For Flynt, played by Woody Harrelson, Hustler was like winning the lottery. He was a Kentucky moonshiner’s son who ran away from home and eventually ran strip clubs in Cincinnati. There he found the love of his life: Althea Leasure (Courtney Love), a bisexual stripper who bluntly told him, "You are not the only person who has slept with every woman in this club." Hustler’s first publicity breakthrough came when Flynt printed nude photos of Jacqueline Onassis, a coup so sensational it forced the media (and the public) to notice the magazine. "The People vs. Larry Flynt" shows Flynt running a loose editorial ship in which his brother Jimmy (Brett Harrelson), hangers-on and assorted strippers and hookers seem to publish the magazine by committee.    Milos Forman’s other films include "Amadeus" and "One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest," both about inspired misfits with the courage of their eccentricity. Now Larry Flynt is another. Who else could have so instinctively combined idealism and cash, declaring at a press conference, "Americans for a Free Press is me. Who do you think is paying for this show?"    

Exhausted: John C. Holmes The Real Story

A 1981 documentary about the titular porn star who claimed to have slept with over 14,000 women, gave a darker look behind the green door into the excessive and saddening world of sex and wealth of the 1970s porn scene. Listen to Paul Thomas Anderson’s entertaining and wonderful commentary.    


Zack and Miri Make a Porno



"Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks make a lovable couple; she’s pretty and goes one-for-one on the bleep language, and Rogen, how can I say this, is growing on me, the big lug. Will this movie offend you? Somehow Kevin Smith’s very excesses defuse the material. He’s like the guy at a party who tells dirty jokes so fast, Dangerfield-style, that you laugh more at the performance than the material. He’s always coming back for more. Once during a speech at the Indie Spirits, he actually sounded like he was offering his wife as a door prize. Anything for a laugh. Nobody laughed. They all looked at each other sort of stunned. You can’t say he didn’t try."  


"The man is played by George C. Scott, the girl by Season Hubley. They have moments in the movie when they talk, really talk, about what’s important to them and we’re reminded of how much movie dialogue just repeats itself, movie after movie, year after year. There’s a scene in "Hardcore" where the man (who is a strict Calvinist) and the prostitute (who began selling herself in her early teens) talk about sex, religion, and morality, and we’re almost startled by the belief and simple poetry in their words. This relationship, between two people with nothing in common, who meet at an intersection in a society where many have nothing in common, is at the heart of the movie, and makes it important. It is preceded and followed by another of those story ideas that Paul Schrader seems to generate so easily. His movies are about people with values, in conflict with society. He wrote Taxi Driver and Rolling Thunder and wrote and directed Blue Collar. All three are about people prepared to defend (with violence, if necessary) their steadfast beliefs…The movie’s ending is a mess, a combination of cheap thrills, a chase, and a shoot-out, as if Schrader wasn’t quite sure how to escape from the depths he found. The film’s last ten minutes, in fact, are mostly action, the automatic resolution of the plot; the relationship between Scott and Hubley ends without being resolved, and in bringing his story to a "satisfactory" conclusion, Schrader doesn’t speak to the deeper and more human themes he’s introduced. Too bad. But Hardcore, flawed and uneven, contains moments of pure revelation."

Linkage: Lindsay Lohan Might Be an Escort, Jessica Simpson Can’t Stop Bonin’, & a Kris Kross Reunion

If you’re wondering how the hell Lindsay Lohan can get away with jetting across the globe and staying in fancy hotels with nothing but money from Playboy shoots and Lifetime movies, here’s a possible explanation on where she gets her money: she might be working as a high-class escort for the rich and not-so-famous. Some of her alleged clients include Prince Haji Abdul Azim, third in line of the throne of Brunei (which is a real place, not like Genovia), and painter Domingo Zapata. Of course, these allegations come from her scumbag father, Michael Lohan, so take them with a couple shakers of salt. [Radar]

Nicole Kidman is on the cover of The Hollywood Reporter, and she dishes about Scientology—sort of. When pressed, she’ll say only: ‘I’ve chosen not to speak publicly about Scientology. I have two children [adopted with Cruise] who are Scientologists—Connor [the Red Dawn actor is now 17] and Isabella [20]—and I utterly respect their beliefs.’” The cover story also revels that Modern Family’s Sophia Vergara was director Lee Daniels’s first choice for Kidman’s role in The Paperboy, so just imagine that crazy lady doing her own hair and makeup and peeing on Zac Efron. [THR]

Jessica Simpson, as always, is both a good indicator of the failures of sex education in this country and an example of how annoying celebrities can be if their publicists can’t get them to shut the hell up. The occasional singer and sometimes actress told Jay Leno last night that she’d like to get married to fiancé Eric Johnson, with whom she has one child and a second on the way, but, in her words, “he keeps knocking me up.” [Fox News]

Sarah Jessica Parker replaced Demi Moore as Gloria Steinem in the upcoming Lovelace, premiering at Sundance, after Moore’s hospitalization for exhaustion early last year. It turns out it was all for naught: Steinem’s role in the film has been cut. [EW]

Because of money, NBC is going to roll poor Betty White out again and make her watch a bunch of people “pay tribute” to her for Betty White’s 2nd Annual 90th Birthday Special. The party’s guest list includes folks like Blake Shelton, Bill Clinton, and Larry King, because who else could possibly ruminate on all of Betty White’s achievements as an old actress who still makes dirty jokes when forced to read from cue cards in front of a TV camera? [Deadline]

Kris Kross are getting back together because they left a lot of things unsaid, a lot of pants unsagged, and also realized how much of a boner everyone has for the ’90s. [Vulture]

Does keeping a “princess-free” household promote feminist ideals in children or just keep them from having fun? [Jezebel]

Die Hard director John McTiernan is headed to jail for a year and must pay a $100,000 fine. And no, it’s not because he directed that Rollerball remake. [Indiewire]

R.I.P., old guy from old TV show. [TMZ]

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New Image of Amanda Seyfried as Linda Lovelace; Biopic Set for Sundance Premiere

Yesterday we brought you the fifteen movies we’re most excited about at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, but it seems we forgot one big one: Lovelace, the biopic about Linda Lovelace and her starring turn in the classic ’70s porno Deep Throat. Stills from the film have been trickling online in the fast few months (and there’s something about that phrase that makes me a little uncomfy considering the subject matter of the film), but a new image of Amanda Seyfried in the titular role’s groovy hairdo popped up this morning.

Entertainment Weekly shares the image as well as more details about the film, which has an impressive cast assembled.

Sharon Stone, Juno Temple, Wes Bentley, Hank Azaria (in the directors chair), Robert Patrick, Bobby Cannavale (partially obscured in the upper right corner), and Chris Noth (standing beside the camera) co-star in Lovelace. Peter Sarsgaard also stars as Lovelace’s husband, Chuck Traynor, the man she later claimed abused her and coerced her into the porn world. James Franco will appear as Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, and Adam Brody (seated in the chair) is fellow porn actor Harry Reems.

Will Lovelace be a hit? Few movies have been able to capture the essence of porn the way that Boogie Nights did nearly sixteen (sixteen! it’s been that long!) years ago. It’ll definitely be a movie to keep an eye on. 

Check out the new still below:


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Sarah Jessica Parker Replaces Demi Moore in Lovelace Biopic

Now that Demi Moore is taking time off to attend her ‘health problems’ after winding up in the hospital for smoking incense (???), the Lovelace biopic is wasting no time to fill her spot.  Sarah Jessica Parker will be replacing the former Mrs. Kutcher as feminist icon Gloria Steinem.  What? Will she be able to pull it off?

Odd casting choice, brilliant career move, both?  Parker went from being pigeon-holed as the bubbly friend in ‘80’s flicks like Footloose and Girls Just Want to Have Fun to the bubbly lead character with a financially un-savvy shoe addiction in Sex and the City. Since then she’s been unable-despite a recent romcom about handling motherhood and career called I Don’t Know How She Does It-to break out of that role.  It’s going to take some serious acting skills to make audiences see past Carrie Bradshaw to view a woman capable of starting an intellectual revolution.

What is going to make this even more difficult? Chris Noth, Mr. Big himself, is also in the film. Even if viewers make it past a pink, diamond encrusted and pun-filled mental block chances are Noth could trigger those SATC images even if they don’t share screen time.

We’ll see. This could give Parker’s career a more serious arc or it could just start a clothing trend of bell bottoms and over-sized glasses.  Rounding out the cast are Amanda Seyfried, Peter Sarsgaard, Sharon Stone, a recently cast Chloe Sevigny, Bobby Cannavale, Adam Brody, James Franco, Wes Bentley, and Juno Temple.

Afternoon Links: Demi Moore’s Dangerous Red Bull Habit, Mariah Carey Is Back In The Studio

● And now it comes out that Demi Moore has been addicted to Red Bull for years, and that the habit has more or less kept her going through these dark and exhausted post-Ashton days. [TMZ]

● Speaking of: Mary Louise Parker is stepping in for Demi Moore as Gloria Steinem in Lovelace. [NYDN]

● And for his next act, James Murphy will conquer coffee roasting. "I thought it would be fun," he says of the plan. "I have beans that I like. I like this sometimes and that sometimes. Sometimes in the middle." [NYM]

● According to BFF Gayle King, Oprah hasn’t gotten baby Blue Ivy a gift yet, let alone be named her godmother. "if (that report is) true, it is news to her," she says. [Us]

●  Lana Del Rey has bought the rights to her mostly unheard debut record, Lana Del Ray A.K.A. Lizzy Grant, and she hopes to re-release the "forgotten terrible album" sometime this summer. [BBC]

Dem babies and a kidney failure later, Mariah Carey is at last back in the studio with her old friend Jermaine Dupri. [Rap-Up]

Morning Links: Demi Moore Hospitalized For Exhaustion, Tim Gunn Hasn’t Had Sex In 29 Years

● Demi Moore was rushed to the hospital late Monday night for a "substance abuse related issue" — "shaking" and "acting like she was suffering from a seizure," reportedly — and exhaustion. According to her rep, "Because of the stresses in her life right now, Demi has chosen to seek professional assistance to treat her exhaustion and improve her overall health. She looks forward to getting well and is grateful for the support of her family and friends." [TMZ]

● And accordingly, Demi Moore has dropped out of Lovelace, wherein she was set to play Gloria Steinem. [TMZ]

● An "impatient" ex-lover left Project Runway‘s Tim Gunn nearly celibate. During an episode of his new show, The Revolution, he revealed that it’s been 29 years since his last go. "Do I feel like less of a person because of it? No. Not even remotely." [Celebuzz]

● Miley Cyrus’s choice of cake for her boyfriend Liam Hemsworth’s birthday was unusual, to say the least. [ONTD]

● Kirsten Dunst and her new man, Country Strong‘s dreamy Garrett Hedlund, seem to be making a splash at Sundance. [People]

● Young Money CEO Birdman has got five million on Tom Brady taking the Superbowl. "I like New ENGLaNd," he tweeted. Belie’e dat! [RapFix]

● Etta James’s funeral has been set for Saturday in Los Angeles, with Reverand Al Sharpton presiding over the ceremonies and several as-of-yet unnamed celebrity performances. Let’s all hope, for Etta’s sake, that Flo Rida is busy that day. [Billboard]