Andrew Garfield, Mahershala Ali, Ruth Negga, and five others received their first-ever acting nominations for 2017. While these actors are new to the Academy Awards, you may recognize them from their earlier work.
A Revealing (in more than one sense) Look inside the Adult Entertainment Industry
One gets the feeling that this documentary was probably envisioned as a "puff piece" for Vivid Entertainment -- at least that's how it was probably sold to Steve Hirsch, Vivid's CEO, who's given an "and starring" credit in the opening sequence. But it doesn't seem to have turned out that way. While many of the sequences are relatively simple, "hah-hah, we're watching them being filmed having sex, isn't this fun?", there are many that quietly and without editorial comment present the unpleasant side of working in the adult industry, much as with earlier documentaries like "The Girl Next Door" or "Give Me Your Soul".
For example, one episode focuses on the attempt of Dani Woodward to become one of Vivid's contract girls, and clearly portrays her as a drug addict -- an attractive drug addict, but someone clearly not in control of her life, no matter how cheerful and upbeat she might seem. (I was amazed that she gave permission to the documentarians to use the footage of her, since she comes off very badly in it.) Another one deals with writer/director David Stanley's apparent meltdown after his relationship with an unnamed adult film actress and the rejection of his original idea for the film that became "Last Girl Standing". In both cases, we're ostensibly shown that they're back on their feet and still slugging, but Woodward still seems high in her final interview, and Stanley appears to have just gotten involved with another actress who'll let him down.
In between, there's a lot of catty, rhymes-with-witchy behavior on the part of Vivid's contract girls and other porn stars, notably the feud between Tawny Roberts and Gina Lynn, that frankly makes them all look bad. It's an amazing look inside a world that fascinates even as it repels.
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