Friday, August 16, 2013

Phil sees LOVELACE at the Camera 12 Downtown San Jose-August 11, 2013

On June 12, 1972, the adult film DEEP THROAT premiered at the World Theatre in Times Square in New York City. And the world hasn't been the same since. It helped coin the phrase "Porno Chic" and ushered in what has been called "The Golden Age of Pornography," which lasted between 1972-1984. This little film that was made for a mere $25,000 went on to gross allegedly between $100,000 and $600,000 and gave Hollywood a run for it's money. It also transformed a young unknown girl named Linda Boreman into the international porn star Linda Lovelace. However, she was the first to pay the price for all this fame and notoriety. All her struggles, pain, and humiliation she suffered with in her life during this time period are chronicled in the new film LOVELACE.

Actress Amanda Seyfried, (MEAN GIRLS, MAMMA MIA!, LES MISERABLES) portrays Linda in three different phases of her life: the shy, naïve girl who meets her future husband, the infamous Chuck Traynor (Peter Sarsgaard), her rise to stardom after the success of DEEP THROAT, and her crusade against the porn industry. Then the film back tracks to these events and examines more closely the violent and horrifying relationship with Traynor. The regular beatings, pimping her out to men, being forced to do porn by gunpoint, and the controlling her overall career so he can milk her for all her worth.

The film actually opens on a ravaged Linda Lovelace taking a polygraph test to prove that her story is authentically correct. At the end, her book Ordeal is released and she's on the old Phil Donahue Show telling her sad story and survival. The movie ends with a happy like ending, but in reality, it wasn't even like that. After she divorced Chuck, in 1974 she married Larry Marchiano and had two children: Dominic and Lindsay. After she divorced him in 1996, she claimed that Larry was an alcoholic who was verbally abusive to their children and was violent towards her. According to those who knew her personally, Linda always played the victim, never really taking any kind of responsibility on her part.

The film was made by directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, who are more famous for their award winning documentaries such as THE TIMES OF HARVEY MILK, THE CELLULOID CLOSET and PARAGRAPH 175, along with the Allen Ginsberg biopic HOWL. While the film was entertaining, I felt that it was two-dimensional, filled with caricatures of those involved with DEEP THROAT, and Linda was somewhat under-developed. Now Amanda's performance of Linda was excellent, bring the iconic porn star to life is no small feat giving the complexity of the character, but it felt as if there was more to her that was left out. Granted, the film is told from Linda's perspective, but it left out a lot of details of her life.

The main focus of the film was her relationship with the abusive Traynor, which was played with such intensity by Sarsgaard. His performance was unbelievable. It's a well known fact that Chuck Traynor was the biggest schmuck and asshole to have ever lived, but seeing him in the movie only establishes it even more.

Linda Lovelace (1949-2002)
Also turning in memorable performances are Robert Patrick and Sharon Stone as Linda's parents John and Dorothy Boreman. However, the caricatures I mentioned earlier were by Hank Azaria's performance of Gerry Damiano and Adam Brody's Harry Reems, the other star of DEEP THROAT. I was appalled by their portrayals of both Gerry and Harry. They made them look like idiots and lacked any real personality! In real life, Harry was a smart, sweet and funny guy who almost went to jail for acting in the film. Gerry was very intelligent who after DEEP THROAT went on to make the other classic adult film THE DEVIL IN MISS JONES, which was owed more to European art house films. And like most filmmakers of that era, Gerry never made any money from his films, thanks in large part of the industry being controlled by the mob. These two men also paid a high price of fame as well, and I felt they should've been portrayed my realistically and honestly.

The film drew quite a bit of controversy before it was even released. On January 22nd of this year, the AVN (Adult Video News) website ran a story about how Harry Reems was unhappy that, "the filmmakers didn't see fit to consult him while writing the script." Then on August 8th, AVN ran another story about "the lawsuit that Arrow Productions owner Raymond Pistol has filed against The Weinstein Company and several other corporate and individual defendants for their alleged infringement of Arrow's copyrights and trademarks to the classic 1972 adult movie DEEP THROAT and its star, Linda Lovelace."

On April 22, 2002, Linda died from injuries sustained in a car accident. Then on October 28, 2008, Gerard Damiano died from complications from a stroke he suffered a month before. Finally, Harry Reems passed away on March 19, 2013 from pancreatic cancer. Whether they like it or not, these three individuals will forever be remembered for making DEEP THROAT and for creating the multi-billion dollar porn industry we know today.

Overall LOVELACE is an interesting film, but it's far from being historically accurate and with its grotesque depiction of real people, it falls flat in my eyes. I love movies, and I love researching about movies, even those films in the porn genre. I know the stories about the making of DEEP THROAT and about Linda Lovelace, and there's much more to the story that is being shown here. 3 out of 5 stars! Mediocre at best and more of a rental!

LOVELACE is currently playing in theaters nationwide, including the Camera Cinemas here in the Bay Area. To view showtimes, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

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