• Craig Hunter

Pin-ups and Porn Stars

I recently watched three related but very different films about the naughty industry of sex.


The Notorious Bettie Page


The Notorious Bettie Page (2005) directed by Mary Herron and starring Gretchen Mol, follows the life of 1950s pin-up model Bettie Page.

Told in flashback, the film begins with Bettie waiting outside a court room to testify for a senate investigation.  We are show her early life in Tennessee where Bettie suffered sexual abuse from her father, a short lived marriage to an abusive man and a rape.

Bettie moves to New York to begin a new life for herself.  She takes acting lessons and starts modelling bondage shoots and acting in niche kink films for special customers.  Parts of the film take place in Miami where Bettie does some modelling for Bunny Yaeger.  The Miami scenes are filmed in color while the rest of the film is shot in black and white.

I can watch any film that portrays a historical period.  This film is rather slow but quite enjoyable.  Despite being difficult to develop an emotional connection to any of the characters because of how subdued all of the personalities are, this is a good watch.

Check out The Notorious Bettie Page on Amazon


Meet Monica Velour



Meet Monica Velour (2010) was directed by Keith Bearden and stars Dustin Ingram as an awkward teenager and Kim Cattrall as the washed up porn star that he idolizes.

Toby is an awkward kid who is stuck in the pop culture of the past.  After his highschool graduation, his "pop pop" gives him the keys to the Weenie Wiz--the blue hotdog truck with the 12 foot hotdog on the roof--so that he can take over the family business.   Toby puts the truck up for sale and gets a single offer from a man named Claude, played by the great Keith David, who collects American pop culture memorabilia in Indiana.

Initially, Indiana is too far to drive the truck to sell it, until Toby discovers that the icon of his pop culture nostalgia--80's porn star Monica Velour--will be making a special appearance at a local gentleman's club in Indiana.

Toby is not phased by Monica's trashy reality and they form an unlikely friendship.  Initially, Toby tries to woo Monica and then to change her.  But after a heart to heart with Claude he realizes that the right thing to do if he loves her, is not to change her, but to help her.

The essence of this film is transformation, and in the end, Toby and Monica help each other to move into new phases of their lives.

Check out Meet Monica Velour on Amazon


Lovelace


Lovelace (2013) was directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman and stars Amanda Seyfried as trailblazing porn star Linda Lovelace, and Peter Sarsgaard as her abusive husband.

This movie should have been called "Ordeal", which was the name of Linda's book about her life with her abusive husband, where the porn business was just a small part in that bigger story about her abusive marriage and her escape from it. This would be truer to the actual plot of the film.  This film really was about a woman and her struggle in an abusive relationship where she was ever so briefly pushed into porn by her husband.

At one point in the film, after Linda has escaped her husband, she is on The Phil Donahue Show and she says (paraphrasing) "Linda Lovelace was a character.  I was only in the porn industry for 17 days." She was telling the audience that she is Linda Marchiano, not the character Linda Lovelace that everyone thinks of.  That's how I felt about this film.  It was presented as a film about the porn industry and a major figure in it, but I feel like the film that I watched was completely different.  The film that I watched was about a woman in an abusive marriage who had a brief stint in the single most important movie in porn history.

I guess I feel like this movie was marketed deceptively.  Maybe that was the point.  In any case, I didn't like it. The subject matter really made me uncomfortable--which is fine, but I ended up not enjoying it.  Also, Amanda Seyfried gives a great performance, but she always looks like she is on the verge of breaking down and crying.  It's something about her mouth and her eyes.  She just looks so frail to me and it really creeps me out...and not just in this role.  I'm thinking of Big Love as well--which, excluding season 4, was a brilliant show.

Anyways, not my bag, but if you must, check out Lovelace on Amazon

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