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Adult movies, adults only please

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jenkins

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on: July 28, 2020, 08:01:09 PM




how am i to know the differences between these movies, what they can and cannot offer me, and how they are or are not comparable to other movies, when there is not an avenue for discussion?

at the video store in my country hometown the adult films lived behind a curtain. i do not think that it is reasonable to exclude these movies from critical discussion, even if they are not made for critical discussion. they are made regardless, and the law of probability says some will be bad, and the law of probability says some will be good. i for one one would like to hear a critical analysis of the accomplishments of fuck films, especially if tiny moments of unnoticed magic exist, which is likely

this thread was previously titled Opinion: Letterboxd should allow pornography
« Last Edit: January 19, 2021, 05:29:37 PM by jenkins »


jenkins

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Reply #1 on: July 29, 2020, 01:24:46 AM
i want to mention that the people making the assertions via Vinegar use quotation marks around "pornography" and "adult" films. there's no topic that so thoroughly complicates a rational perspective as sex, which Scorsese has mentioned another way, in relation to it as the last frontier in cinema

it's wild to me, in a vivid way, very wild, to me, how at a certain point pornography was on the threshold of mainstream, but once it didn't make it it disappeared from the conversation


WorldForgot

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Reply #2 on: July 29, 2020, 10:29:09 AM
it's wild to me, in a vivid way, very wild, to me, how at a certain point pornography was on the threshold of mainstream, but once it didn't make it it disappeared from the conversation

On that same page of cultural sterilization, it's easy to point toward the erotic thriller, which had its prime during the ascension of mainstream porn. What used to be a VFX-less adult genre in cinema seems to have slinked into the Eros-lite of premium cable. Starz' The Girlfriend Experience season 2 seems to me more radical than any American motion picture has attempted in a while.


Drenk

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Reply #3 on: July 29, 2020, 11:35:46 AM
Do you know why Tumblr banned porn? It seemed to be the only reason explaining why people were on that website!
Ascension.


jenkins

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Reply #4 on: December 19, 2020, 01:16:13 PM


the impetus here is simp: hardcore pornography is an unexplored territory for me, and I am a cinephile after all

you know the joke is on me: I can talk about werewolves and guns and knives and time travel etc, but I can't talk about sex movies. so I want to fix that

this is an endeavor of mine

I began with Joe Sarno's Vibrations, which I spoke of above. Vibrations is not a hardcore movie though, and Sarno wasn't even a fan hardcore movies, (he directed the r-rated Deep Throat Part II btw)

therefore Justine: 'A Matter of Innocence' was my first proper adult entry into hardcore films. like Justine, I was a virgin

I was worried about this: would the sex be too much for me to handle? would I end up whipping out my dick?

let us backtrack and remind ourselves: the golden age of porn was pre-vhs, it's a topic in boogie nights written/directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, and the scenario is these are movies with sex in them, made to be shown in a movie theater

thankfully by the end of Justine I did not encounter a scenario in which I was unable to control myself. learning about sex scene closeups is a new experience for me, but it doesn't panic my penis

it is very much a normal movie with pretty terrible acting and a narrative so half-assed you wouldn't call it a first draft so much as an unfinished screenplay outlined with extrapolative dialogue

I fucking loved it, I'm so excited, and I didn't order enough of these

there's a scene where Justine plays a flute while her cousin has a threesome with two friends after smoking Colombian pot and while listening to rock music--Justine doesn't do that stuff because she's been in a boarding school with strict regulations, except her hermit father just died so she was sent to live with her uncle. the end credits scroll as she loses her virginity to her uncle. it happens after they spend the day together in the city, ride horses, and really begin to connect with each other in a beautiful human way


jenkins

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Reply #5 on: December 19, 2020, 08:06:50 PM
this fucking imdb review of the movie is my new life coach

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Late carnal critic and "acclaimed adult filmmaker" Jim Holliday was fond of describing JUSTINE as "a poor man's SCENT OF HEATHER" and, as usually, he was not altogether wrong in his assessment. Released hot on the heels of Bill Milling's relatively lavish period epic, the similarities between the two are a bit too obvious as to be considered entirely coincidental. This variation from the reliable Roberta Findlay (who ground them out hard 'n' fast yet still maintained an impressive amount of quality, as evidenced by genre classics such as ANGEL #9 and THE TIFFANY MINX) may be set in the present day but still operates on a Mills & Boon level of convent-bred virgins and star-crossed lovers.

Naive Justine (surprisingly well-played by underrated Hillary Summers, one of very few adult actresses able to project innocence without coming across like a retard) bids her goodbye to the nuns to go and live with her recently deceased dad's estranged brother Steven, a convincing performance by habitual second banana Ashley Moore in what probably constitutes his finest work next to his memorable turn in Findlay's PLAYGIRL. Disillusioned since his faithless wife (the always interesting Linda Vale) left him, Uncle Steven moves from one female honey pot to the next with only equally cynical mistress Vanessa Del Rio (looking absolutely resplendent by the way) for semi-constant companionship. A lengthy sexual episode finds him picking up a pair of inebriated stewardesses (lookalikes Merle Michaels and Christie Ford) and taking them to a live sex show featuring the likes of Beth Anna and Christine DeShaffer. The man's emotional aloofness is hard on his son (one shot Andy Hayes) who seeks solace with the "wrong kind" of friends, pioneering punkette Robin Sane (Carter Stevens' saucy secretary in Howard Winters' exceptional PLATINUM PARADISE) and handsome Rick Iverson (star of THE LOVE-IN ARRANGEMENT), who definitely provide the right kind of sex with a sizzling double penetration of the rarest kind, i.e. two poles in a single hole ! There's also a slow-witted if perpetually randy gardener (Dave Ruby, the Al Bundy of porn) who's usually kept out of trouble by the household's scheming maid Marlene Monroe, the wicked stepmother from Fred Lincoln's SERENA, and they share one of the hottest scenes in the movie. Fending off the advances of all available men, Justine naturally longs for the one who seems least interested, Uncle Steven.

Pulling out all the stops production-wise, as befitting a movie from the Golden Age mid-section, JUSTINE rises above occasional narrative sluggishness with glowing cinematography by Findlay herself, assuming the capacity under her "Anna Riva" name from the sexploitation days, splicing in footage from Paris landmarks like the Arch of Triumph from stock for additional gloss. Equally befitting, there also happens to be a syrupy title song, of course. The acting, when called for, is generally competent though the delectable Del Rio is rather unceremoniously discarded after her scalding bathroom bit with Moore. No matter how hard she tries, simpering Summers – the fault lies with the writing, not her acting – can't make up for the untimely departure of this magnificent lady from progressively pathetic proceedings.


wilberfan

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Reply #6 on: December 19, 2020, 08:20:10 PM
Wonder if you'd enjoy reading this:

https://www.therialtoreport.com/2018/03/04/justine/
A gentleman beyond employment


jenkins

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Reply #7 on: December 19, 2020, 08:31:35 PM
totally


ono

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Reply #8 on: December 19, 2020, 10:17:50 PM
Now do The Fashionistas.


jenkins

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Reply #9 on: December 19, 2020, 10:32:27 PM
bucket listing it. 500k those sales and the runtime. my mymymy. i have this stack from vinegar and I was worried it’d be too much but now I don’t think it’s enough


jenkins

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Reply #10 on: January 03, 2021, 02:31:13 AM
a letterboxd review of It’s Called Murder, Baby, which is an r rated version of the x rated Dixie Ray, Hollywood Star

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Third time’s the charm. (Though, in truth, I’ve only watched it twice.)

I’m glad I watched the R-rated cut — IT’S CALLED MURDER, BABY — first. It proved to me once and for all that adult film director Anthony Spinelli, along with his cast and crew of adult film industry regulars, were eminently capable of making compelling, entertaining, thought-provoking, narratively challenging NON-adult cinema.

I already knew this, having watched both the adult and non-adult films of Roberta Findlay, Roger Watkins, Jean Rollin, etc., but seeing IT’S CALLED MURDER, BABY just put that myth (that adult films cannot also be *real* cinema) the rest of the way to bed.

As a retro-noir made in 1983, then, this R-rated cut trades not in explicit sex but complex and genre-speicifc character development. All the while effectively hitting every noir beat a 1980s-era cinephile would expect in a retro-neo-reboot version of the genre.

*And* doing all of that with a level of production value that, frankly, I can’t believe they could afford (seriously, an entire cast’s worth of expensive-looking, period-specific, smartly tailored clothes; one memorable noir location after another; etc.).

So, having tonight watched the X-rated cut — DIXIE RAY, HOLLYWOOD STAR — I can say a couple things:

1. It’s disappointing to see that, in order to make room for the requisite (and extended) X scenes, much of the complex (and extended) character development, so satisfying as part of the R, has been cut.

In some cases they’ve jettisoned whole scenes — when our stud detective first meets Dixie Ray at her Hollywood estate, following her from the tennis courts to one of her many parlors, for example; or when our detective has a heartfelt lunchtime chat with his Armenian father figure.

In other cases, we get alt versions of the same scenes, re-shot to drop the character interaction and insert the sexual. It’s very much like, say, watching a Paul Naschy werewolf movie that was released in both “clothed” and “unclothed” versions.

Here it’s more jarring, though, and a more extreme version of that common practice (common in the 70s at least, in order to get around censors in places like Spain). It feels so extreme that it almost seems these are, literally, two parallel but different movies. Existing either as different decision trees in the same Choose Your Own Adventure noir, or as examples of what the movie looks like in two different timelines.

2. One reason that losing all of that character development hurts is because it also erases some of the most interesting narrative choices in the R cut.

For example: John Leslie, who plays our stud detective. He spends his time in the movie wearing a perpetual, self-assured smirk, positively radiating his alpha-underdog confidence** (I.e., he knows in his heart of hearts his place in the universe — that he is, absolutely, the universal stud.)

Yet, the R-rated cut neuters his status as such. Though he’s repeatedly set up to sleep with the lead female characters — more than once being openly propositioned — he always turns them down with some excuse. Not enough time now, there’ll be time for that later, I’ve got a case to solve now, etc.

It causes cognitive dissonance not only because the history of noir is full of smirking stud detectives whose animal magnetism draws all female characters into their sexual orbit, but because, if you go into the R knowing it’s a cut version of the X, you *expect* the stud detective to be doing a lot of sleeping around.

Instead, his excuses come off as lame and half-assed, so much so that they begin to seem like some sort of “beard,” hiding the real, much more complicated reason for his refusals. Maybe his stud card’s been punched one too many times. Maybe he’s impotent, emotionally dead, grief-stricken or stopped up with guilt over some past case? Maybe he’s got a terminal disease — maybe he regrets sleeping with every female client (not to mention: his personal secretaries) up till then, who knows?

Whatever it is, in his repeated refusal, we start to wonder not only about him, but whether the same “rot” runs through the rest of the cast, the whole movie business, this whole stinkin’ town. It’s one of the most interesting aspects of the R cut, completely lost on the X, where he (and ad nauseam!) screws every single woman in the picture as many times as he can.

3. When Golden Age Hollywood started adapting the noirs of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler and Cornell Woolrich and Fredric Brown, the Hays Code required them to water down the content significantly. All of the taboo dialogue and drug use and assortment of “immoral” sexual acts — mostly free to live and breathe on the printed, pulp page — had to be cut completely, or coded so obliquely that it was impossible to guess their original form.

The X cut here, then, feels like an extreme swing in the other direction. Taking every implied sexual and taboo kink and not stopping till it’s on the screen explicit as can be. Taking all the whispered obscenities of that legendary Hollywood Babylon and writing them large. Again, it’s like looking at the movie (and the whole history of film noir) in another timeline.

So, to sum up, please Letterboxd please please please:

Get off your Puritan pot and let these X films — many of which already exist in TMBd! — into your database. There are respected home video companies dedicating their lives to nothing but preserving, restoring, and curating these films. The least you can do as a “global social network for grass-roots film discussion and discovery” is to support that film preservation, not censor it.


(Plus you already have plenty of hardcore films in your database — see, for instance, Jess Franco’s entries.)

Konrad Wardh
May 2020


jenkins

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Reply #11 on: January 03, 2021, 01:28:01 PM
Konrad Wardh, Sol_Madrid, is a goldmine for me. this list of favorite movies can help you see Sol_Madrid as a sibling

i was reading Sol_Madrid’s rundown on Joe Sarno, and the Abigail Leslie Is Back In Town section has this other great quote

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2. How so many of the tropes, images, moves, tics, plot points etc. of "explicit" movies have been so completely absorbed by mainstream film. So completely and — most often — without much comment or anybody really noticing at all.

I've been tracking down as many sexploitation classics as possible this year and I've lost count of the reviews that say something along the lines of "mostly tame by today's standards" ... another reason why LB's continued, inconsistent, haphazard refusal to allow a curated version of explicit adult films in from where they already exist in TMDb is so silly, provincial, old-fashioned, small-minded. Much of what was done in erotica and porn in the 60s, 70s, and 80s exists, without apology now, in "mainstream" movies. Get over it already and let us log what we watch.


jenkins

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Reply #12 on: January 18, 2021, 07:52:03 PM
Fred Halsted

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Committed suicide, overdosed on sleeping pills after the death of his lover, Joey Yale. From his suicide note, "I had a good life...I've had looks, a body, money, success and artistic triumphs. I've had the love of my life. I see no reason to go on."

we've seen the documentary that borrows the title, but I need to see the original LA Plays Itself

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The film opens on a shot of the "Los Angeles City Limits" sign. It then cuts to Fred Halsted taking a walk in the forest and coming upon a man sunning himself in the nude. They briefly talk and end up having passionate sex in the wilderness only to be interrupted by bulldozers destroying the wildlife area in order to build a new suburb. The film suddenly switches to inner city Los Angeles as Halsted and a man from Texas discuss in voice over the problems with modern society and the dishonesty of most people. This is inter-cut with shots of hustlers, bums, vagrants, porn theaters and shops, as well as footage of a man (presumably the Texan) being brutally tortured by Halsted. Eventually the man is bound and left helpless in a closet, a symbol of the violent and trapping nature of Los Angeles. The film ends on shots of newspapers saying that a young man was found dead after being tortured.

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At the film's screening, Salvador Dalí was reportedly quoted as saying, "new information for me".

Fred Halsted is dope

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His films Sex Garage and L.A. Plays Itself are the only gay pornographic movies in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art.

imagine: you're in MoMA but letterboxd is afraid of you

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Halsted was a sex radical. He believed that the erotic is transgressive and sacramental, that it is inherently violent and involves acts of violation. "Sex is not 'coming,' that is superficial sex," he once explained. "Mine is personal cinema. I don't fuck to get my rocks off. In the best scenes I've ever had, I haven't come. I am not interesting in coming. … I am interested in getting my head off, my emotions off."

Andy Milligan I could go on and on about too

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In spite of the fact that he directed a number of movies that have become cult favorites with horror movie buffs, he died in abject poverty in 1991 from AIDS and was buried in an unmarked pauper's grave in Los Angeles, California.

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Jean-Pierre Bouyxou described Milligan as "halfway between Warhol and Ed Wood,"


jenkins

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Reply #13 on: January 19, 2021, 12:09:53 PM
it’s been wildly fun getting into adult cinema. now i can tell you for sure that letterboxd pisses off lots of people when it comes to this topic. here’s the topic in their feedback forum, Jan 24 2015

there are many specific titles in mind, too, it’s not just a vague problem

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Hi There! Is something that can be done about this? I am writing a thesis on the significance of adult film in the 1970s, with a focus on the rise of animated pornography. I can understand that some of these titles would be available, but to disregard the historical significance of films such as Deep Throat, Cafe Flesh or the Sinful Dwarf is baffling. They have been studied by film academics for decades, books have been written about them, acclaimed critics have reviewed them, and they had an immense influence in Cult/exploitation cinema if not even the mainstream in some cases. At least the "porn chic" golden era of the 1970s of pornography should be included, since well, it is an unquestionable part of the history of cinema. Not to mention that many sexploitation films, pink films, and French extreme films on letterboxd blur the lines between soft-core and hard-core all the time. To just exclude them all together seems extreme. Surely should be a case by case situation.

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Add me to the list of people begging for adult content. Hide it behind a patreon membership, make a "see adult content" check box, do what you have to do but by ignoring all adult films, you're ignoring a massive part of film history.

This guy makes it sound not possible and explains why:

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I'm gonna reedit and repost my summary from 2018 as literally nothing has changed since then. Most of the new comments since 2018 all promote the "simplest" or "easiest" solution and, as a developer (entirely unaffiliated with Letterboxd), these solutions and suggestions are anything but.

Let's assume the following, as good faith:

1. Some Letterboxd users want to track adult films.
2. Adult films are divisive and many feel disgusted by them.
3. From a historical perspective, any film of any genre can be important.
4. Creating a singular list of "important films" of any genre is impossible.
5. The Letterboxd team is small and busy and has other priorities.

Then, to clarify my role in this:

* I'm a user of Letterboxd. I, too, want to track adult films.
* I'm a developer who has written software and books about software for 25+ yrs.
* I literally own every Vinegar Syndrome release.
* I am not a lawyer.

And, finally, to reiterate "how it works right now":

* Letterboxd DOES NOT decide what films are adult or not.
* Instead, Letterboxd (LB) uses the crowd-sourced data from TheMovieDB (TMDB).
* Anyone can set, and unset, an "is adult" flag on a film in TMDB.
* If an adult film is listed in LB, it's because the data is inaccurate in TMDB.
* If the TMDB data is corrected, the entry is removed from the public LB.
* If you logged or reviewed the film in LB, your data remains in your export.
* The last official response on this issue was back in 2018.

There have been two primary suggestions on how to "fix this":

1.
Remove the "adult film" filter entirely. From (my) developer's perspective, this seems the easiest programmatic solution because it's "just" a matter of removing the "is this film flagged as adult in TMDB?" check within the importer and updaters. It sounds soOoOO easy that, why, jeez, it must be SUPAH simple to accomplish for such a "small and busy" team like Letterboxd. However, it opens Letterboxd up to a huge can of worms when it comes to search engines and content filters (marking Letterboxd as an adult site because it has adult film covers or pornographic text across hundreds of pages), when it comes to parents and children (nudity in the movie posters, salacious text in the descriptions), and when it comes to the fervency of the "adult films are the devil's work" crowd (consider the obsessive details of IMDB's "parents guide" for a film, which is "acceptable" in its salacious details because we're "saving the children" dontchaknow). Add in differing definitions of adult content and child protection laws depending on where you live, and this "simple solution" would likely cost Letterboxd MORE time, MORE hassle, and MORE money (legal fees, a wider audience of angry users no longer subbing, etc.). It's just not tenable.

2.
The other solution seems the safest from a user experience perspective: adding an "I want to see adult content" flag to a user's profile. However, from (again, my) developer's perspective, this is also the most costly to implement. Nearly every single "view" (not "page") on the site would need to be modified to support this flag. It's not just a matter of "me" wanting to add adult content to my lists, but also of "you" viewing my profile and feeds. It'd require a rewrite of the caching engines of the site to support adult vs. non-adult preferences. It affects everything at the stupidest level of detail: should the "You've watched 17 of 34" films statistic on a list count adult content? Should it show "17 of 34" for one user and "17 of 26" to another? Or some horrible amalgamation of "17 of 26 (8 adult films hidden)"? What about all the other stats that are calculated and then cached to prevent recalculation on every page load? For a "simple" site with little traffic, sure, doing all this would be relatively easy. But when you've got hundreds of thousands of users and millions of page requests, you've got a very different set of problems to solve. For a "small and busy" team like Letterboxd, this suggestion would likely take months of careful and concerted work for, likely, the smallest percentage of their user base. And any rendering bug would open Letterboxd to the same can of worms as the first solution above.


jenkins

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Reply #14 on: January 19, 2021, 05:28:21 PM
I have disbanded my criticism of Letterboxd and just now this is an adult movies thread. I think a rather good example of the complexity of this topic arises from Wakefield Poole, whose "Moving! (1974) challenged what Poole in a 1978 interview called the 'middle-class values' of 'the vast majority of gays' with its lengthy and graphic fisting scenes, which Poole considered important as 'one interpretation of reality related man-to-man.'" it is fair to say that at-best I have a middle-class familiarity with adult movies. a vanilla experience compared to the possibilities

previously I mentioned Wakefield Poole in reference to Bijou, and, you know, it makes sense that these directors made more than one movie. I am pretty hype about this



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From acclaimed erotic filmmaker, Wakefield Poole, comes The Bible, like you've never seen it before!

The stories of Adam & Eve, Bath Sheba and Samson & Delilah are given sexual twists in this visually stunning and sensually charged masterpiece of the erotic avant-garde.

comes with

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Director's Audio Commentary + Director's Introduction