Did the Hollywood blockbuster define movie-making in the first decade of the 21st century? We thinks not. Porn did. Seriously, will the ’00s be better remembered for “It’s Complicated” or “1 Night in Paris”? I think we all know the answer to that question, and it does not involve Meryl Streep. Surely, the ’00s were the decade in which, like Joe Francis’ female friends, America went wild, pop-culture became increasingly more extreme, and starring in an adult movie became the new American dream. The Other Hollywood churned out movies that revealed what the people really wanted: perverted revisions of “Star Trek,” secret peeks inside the bedrooms of celebrities who made the mistake of videotaping their most intimate moments, and mainstream features that dared crossover into the taboo realm of hardcore sex. For those involved, some went to jail and some scored their 15 minutes, but with the internet delivering adult content 24/7 into every home with an internet connection, it was porno that defined the ’00s.
1. 1 Night in Paris
“1 Night in Paris” – In 2004, a young blonde socialite named Paris Hilton crawled her way to infamy when an explicit tape starring herself and one Rick Salomon forever changed the cinematic landscape. Stars once thought untouchable were exposed like never before, and now the public could watch an heir of the Hilton dynasty get porked in night-vision. The tape spawned a revolution and was soon followed by similar home-video transgressions starring Kim Kardashian, Shauna Sand, Fred Durst, Tonya Harding, Chyna, Colin Farrell, and, gulp, Verne Troyer, among others.
2. Pirates and Pirates II
“Pirates” and “Pirates II” – Of course, not everyone went the lo-fi route. Instead, adult production company Digital Playground defied the trend towards low-budget “gonzo porn” and made a couple of the biggest-budget porn movies ever. With plots! And pirates! Those who watch porn for the acting, the story lines, and special effects were in luck. Supposedly, the budget for “Pirates” was over $1 million, and the budget for “Pirates II” was a reported $10 million. In an unprecedented move, the company released an R-rated version of “Pirates II.”
3. Forced Entry
“Forced Entry” – When George W. Bush took office, more than a few folks, many in Porn Valley, expected an all-out “war on porn.” While that may have been the plan, any efforts to crack down on potential purveyors of obscenity were totally derailed by 9/11. Eventually, the Department of Justice created the Obscenity Prosecution Task Force and the FBI formed the Adult Obscenity Squad, and a series of pornographers were indicted on various obscenity charges. Convictions, though, remained few and far between. Among the most notorious of prosecuted titles was “Forced Entry.” Produced by Robert Zicari, aka Rob Black, and Janet Romano, aka Lizzie Borden, it featured shockingly violent sex scenes inspired by the exploits of serial killer Richard Ramirez. This year, the couple pleaded guilty to obscenity charges and are now serving time in separate prisons.
4. 9 Songs
“9 Songs” – As porn went mainstream, so, too, did mainstream go porn. Michael Winterbottom’s “9 Songs” wasn’t the first mainstream movie to feature explicit sex, and it surely won’t be the last. This art film focused on the love story of a young couple, but, in a twist, showcased their sex life, as well, with scenes that included actual oral sex and a true-life money shot. In the ’00s, “9 Songs” peers included “Baise-Moi,” “The Brown Bunny,” and “Shortbus.” At this rate, by the time we reach the end of the 2010s, porn and mainstream may well be one and the same.
5. What Happens Between My Tits Stays Between My Tits
“What Happens Between My Tits Stays Between My Tits” – Adult movies are known for lots of things: bad lighting, ugly sets, poor acting, lame plots, and cheesy dialogue. Also? Some of the most hilarious movie titles ever. Of note: “Saving Ryan’s Privates,” “The Da Vinci Load,” and “Hannah Does Her Sisters.” For some reason, 2006’s “What Happens Between My Tits Stays Between My Tits” has been stuck in my head since the first time I heard it. Why? I haven’t a clue.
6. The McSteamy Tape
“The McSteamy Tape” – Ah, the McSteamy sex tape. So many players. So few revelations. This year, one of the most buzzed-about, so-called adult movies starred the unlikely couplings of Eric Dane of “Grey’s Anatomy,” Rebecca Gayheart of Noxzema fame, and Kari Ann Peniche of beauty pageants and “Sex Rehab.” Most markedly, the tape showed no actual sex, just three seemingly very, um, “out of it” naked people wallowing around in a bathtub and talking about a bunch of stuff that made no sense.
7. 9 to 5: Days in Porn
“9 to 5: Days in Porn” – In 2008, German filmmaker Jens Hoffmann released “9 to 5: Days in Porn,” succeeding in doing what no American filmmaker had succeeding in doing: taking an honest, sometimes-brutal, wide-eyed look at what it’s really like in the San Fernando Valley’s adult movie industry. Focusing on players like Belladonna and John Stagliano, this must-see doc painstakingly dared to show the true stories of those who live and work in one of America’s most hardcore industries. Ironically, it took an outsider to take the subject of porn seriously.
Original by: Susannah Breslin