19 August 2010 | lor_
Pretentious porn, for Chris Nolan fans only
Sacrilege of sacrilege, I reference Hollywood's hottest director in evaluating this forgotten porn film, but 'tis method in my madness. The anonymous creators of this XXX opus display Nolan's penchant for making things complicated rather than complex.
As its tile baldly suggests, this film revived by Something Weird on Vol. 42 of its Dragon Art Theatre series purports to involve the viewer in a "just between us" secret admonition offered by the lead player/narrator Gary, played by the ubiquitous porn actor Adam Ward. Perhaps the fact that this thesp took his stage name from the composite of the great '60s BATMAN team of Adam West and Burt Ward planted the Nolan connection in my subconscious, but after all that sort of planting is what has earned Chris his summer home in the Bahamas.
A very perfunctory string of hardcore sex scenes, crudely strung together, plants BETWEEN YOU AND ME firmly in the mediocre section of its genre. But the ridiculous amount of self-importance applied to this non-story elevates it to the "failed ambition" category that defines pretentiousness in the arts.
For an hour the audience is treated to a merciless harangue by not merely the narrator but other cast members addressing the camera directly (or each other) on the subject of malicious gossip. The target of the gossip is Ward's character Gary, but the nature of the gossip is rigorously withheld. It's basically a long, drawn-out shaggy dog story, of the type the Coen Brothers currently insist upon, that will either turn off or, in my case, infuriate the viewer.
This conundrum is the result of a basic defect endemic to the hardcore porn genre as a whole. Porn films are not "about" anything -sure, in the Golden Era of the '70s there were many titles that had stories attaining various levels of interest, but now as in the pre-feature film days of stags & loops, narrative/story has nothing to do with it. Porn is essentially a vignette medium -its prime directive being to arouse the audience. This is not to be confused with political cinema (or Michael Moore's own cottage industry genre), where the prime directive is to provoke the audience.
So the semblance or chimera of a storyline has been appended to the otherwise pointless footage of this film, in a vain attempt to hide the void that is pure porn. This might fool the type of latter-day "historian"/hack writing liner notes for a video company like SWV or AHC, but I'm confident the horny viewer back in the day was not taken in.
Along the way, we see Ward make love to Jenny (Dalana Bissonnette), randomly inter-cut with scenes of his so-called friends talking about Gary & Jenny behind their backs, while indulging in straight, lesbian, anal and/or group sex. What the film is about is sex, not "gossip".
How this all ends is for the interested viewer to discover, but it is a truly lame, hurried resolution to the forced hullabaloo (no spoiler from me). Suffice it to say that the windbag of a narrator waxing poetic, indulging in free association, constantly complaining, and commenting on the action (he criticizes lesbianism in the most flagrant example here of attempted pandering to the target audience of lonely males) are all cues to hit the Mute button early on.
Film favors the extreme closeups approach of the gynecological school of porn -I guess that was analogous in terms of pernicious '70s trends in directing to what MTV has wrought in mainstream directing since the '80s. Music track insists on playing Serge Gainsbourg over & over & over -extremely boring.
The only point of interest for me was an unusual actress, Tina Smith. She wears glasses, has huge breasts and takes it in the rear, all of which (except for the glasses) elicit gee-whiz commentary from the narrator. The nonsensical voice-over cumulatively for me almost reached the depths of what now constitutes the inevitable "commentary" tracks included on almost every self-respecting DVD of the past decade as an "extra".