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This documentary about a gay porn star's quest to embark on a singing career has surprisingly more depth than I was expecting. Actually, I'm not sure what I was expecting other than a few gratuitous shots of star Colton Ford's body (check) and some insights into the "private" life of a male porn star (check). I was not expecting to have much sympathy for a forty-ish gay man, who has enjoyed fame on what has to be one of the lowest rungs of the celebrity ladder, believing he has any chance of success in the youth-obsessed, very heterosexual world of pop music. Yet Ford's naiveté, at first sad, ultimately comes across as somewhat charming as he chooses dance music as his genre. Never mind that the only "stars" in that field are black female divas, and even they only enjoy a level of fame just a notch above that of a gay male porn star. Ford would have been much better off choosing to be a rock or cabaret singer. But he soldiers on, supported by an apparently devoted partner (fellow porn star Blake Harper) and amazingly understanding parents, and despite the pale efforts of his pathetic "manager". As a documentary, "Naked Fame" won't make Errol Morris shake in his boots, but it's certainly an interesting glimpse of ordinary people trying to cope in a surreal profession.
The story of a rise, a fall and the struggle to rise again.
Once upon a time, or maybe twice, there was a man who took the name Blake Harper. Now Blake was considered 'tops' in his field, one of the best there was at what he did. In the course of his work and the fame he garnered, he met an equally well-known, adept guy named Jason Branch. The two met while working, and sparks flew.
But alas, it seemed too good to last, and as it turned out, it was. As in any coupling where each person has their own career, especially when it's in the same field and one person might be enjoying a little more success than his mate, the risk of a relationship implosion is great...sometimes it can be overcome, other times, it can't be. Unfortunately, in the case of Blake and Jason, the latter was true, and with heavy hearts, they went their separate ways.
Then, a few years later, lightning struck again for Blake, this time in the form of a remarkable guy called Colton Ford. The sparks that Blake had in his last relationship? Now with Colton, it was an entire fireworks display, and Blake knew he was dead serious about keeping this relationship going. How serious? When Colton presented the idea of getting out of the business they were in and entering the world of music, not only did Blake agree, but he decided to make an exit as well, opting to pursue his own dream of becoming an actor.
If the career that these three men shared was in the world of business, culinary arts, medicine or something similar that most people would consider commonplace, that might very well be the cue for the *de rigeur* closing line--"And they lived happily ever after." But like Jason, Blake Harper and Colton Ford were stars in the world of gay porn. Under any other circumstances, two forty something men with great bodies, stunning good looks and personality to burn would have no problem easing into a new career. But go back and look at who they were again: gay porn stars. And that sums up the gist of Chris Long's documentary/cautionary tale, NAKED FAME.
Nearly warts and all, the doc presents the trials, tears and tribulations of two guys simply trying to become better men and leave behind a past that just can't be shaken, no matter how hard they try. In the progression of their journey, we meet family and friends, and discover as the film presents in a non-judgmental way, how some of those relationships help them, hinder them, or in some cases do both at the same time.
Everything you heard about the world of gay porn and the people who inhabit it is both true AND false, and NAKED FAME presents at least part of the reasons why. Which is also why it has managed to polarize so many audiences who either love it or despise it. We like our fantasies tall, dark, sexy and hung, and the less we know about their lives as mortals, the better.
Though the technical aspects are far from perfect, it does definitely achieve the demystification of the "porn star gods," and warns those who would tread the same path, that just because you're one of the "beautiful people," it doesn't mean you can't have problems every bit as daunting as Joe Blow down the street. (And if you wanna be a porn star, they can be much worse than that.) For good or ill, you will never forget the cast of characters who play the supporting roles in the 'ballad of Colton and Blake"; the ubiquitous Chi Chi La Rue, the unctuous David Forest, who brings to mind no less than Danny De Vito's sleazy character in L.A. CONFIDENTIAL, dipped in even MORE grease; and Kyle Nevins, who could be in his own separate documentary about who and what to avoid in one's quest for fame and glory.
Then of course, on the plus side there is Colton's surprisingly supportive parents, and celebrated dance divas Lonnie Gordon and Pepper Mashay, who can definitely appreciate Colton's uphill battle to release his first single, (which ultimately did happen, with better-than expected results.) The bottom line? NAKED FAME may not be the most enjoyable film you've ever seen, but for anybody who ever harbored a dream of becoming a star, porn or otherwise, and felt cheated and unfulfilled for never having reached that goal, you can now watch Colton and Blake in this film, and as clichéd as it sounds, realize at last that "There but for the grace of G*d..."
Give Colton (Glen) and Blake (Peter) a break....at least they had the
guts to put themselves out there and give this documentary project a
try. This little story, if you choose to view it this way, may be a bit
of a morality tale...although for a limited (mainly gay?) audience. The
lesson might be....don't let your babies grow up to be porn-stars???
I found the documentary interesting, maybe because I know nothing of the music business and how a club song is created and marketed, so that was new to me; now that I've seen it, it looked awful, and boring. Also, I admit to romanticising some porn actors (Blake / Peter was one for me) and the gay porn industry despite all the stories about what an awful business it is. So the chance to have the awfulness confirmed and to see the other side of the gay porn rainbow after the sex celebrity merry-go-round slows down was intriguing. It was revealing and more than a little sad.
This documentary catches Glen and Peter at the point in their lives where they're trying to turn away from the youth and looks they've depended on for the first 35 years of their lives to pay the rent. It must be terrifying to be hitting 40 and dealing with the fact life just ain't happening like it was when you were the hottest thing in gay porn. What are you going to do for the rest of your life when the foundation of your first 20 years has gone the way of all flesh?
Of the 3 primary characters, Glen, Peter and Kyle, Glen/Colton comes across as self-possessed and narcissistic most of the time. Not a particularly likable character personality-wise....and, sadly, I don't really care that he doesn't appear to have much of a chance at making it in the club music scene. Colton's story is not yet done; the story after the story is what does he do when he finally accepts he has no career as a singer?
Peter, oddly enough,comes across as the most likable character in the documentary. He is sympathetic, sweet, and his devotion to partner to Glen/Colton is obvious. I wonder how many people would be so self-sacrificing (in this case by taking up a 'day job' - horrors!) to support Glen's long shot at an uncertain music career? As the documentary closes, I was pondering the unevenness of the relationship between Glen and Peter and it's chances for longevity....or survival. I wonder if they are still together even one year after Naked Fame was released?
The truly frightening - even disturbing - character in all of this is songwriter (?) manager Kyle....his appearance alone was upsetting; (as one previous review said - he does look like the freakish Joyce Wildenstein plastic surgery monster featured in all the tabloids.) And the lip hair sticking out from his chin through most of the film was just plain bizarre. Kyle stands out not only for his truly bizarre appearance, but his truly despicable personality and behavior....it is clear that this is the real person behind that baked on mask in the film. And it is impossible to like or care about any aspect of him. Perhaps Kyles adds interest to the documentary because he is so extreme, so unlikable, and because it is obvious that the monster inside and out is who he really is.
So, all in all, this little documentary is an interesting take on a couple of gay porn celebrities faced with what to do with their lives after youth is done,the music stops, and responsibility for the rest of their lives is fast approaching. The sad fact may be that these guys most likely have the best years of their lives behind them....the future is looking kinda bleak. I wonder if they'll stay public enough for us to know 5 or 10 years from now....
Forget any angst-ridden documentary! This film is really an out and out comedy about a 40-yer-old porn star whose goal in life is to sing junky circuit party songs. The only problem? Colton Ford can't sing! And the film cuts away whenever he appears to be ready to burst into song. Yet Ford and equally vapid boyfriend Blake Harper whine and primp and run around in their tank tops, determined to make dreams come true. Even funnier is "manager" Kyle who appears to have the I.Q. of a turnip and whose collagen-injected lips look like a bee stung him. How can grown men be so self-delusional? Bwa ha ha! As for the documentary, the filmmakers don't appear to have any POV and the film is poorly structured and wildly uneven. Very little background information is provided about the three leads. Such an inclusion might have made the three seem like something other than aging West Hollywood stereotypes.
If you take this movie to seriously, of course you're going to hate it. Colton Ford has no talent and the documentary is a parade of delusion, with a few moments of clarity. But that is what makes it so funny. A group of about 10 gay guys got together last night to watch it, and first of all, none of us recognized any of the so-called "porn stars" in the movie. In this day, all porn stars look like clones. Secondly, this movie is the equivalent of watching the worst auditions for "American Idol." Actually make that "The Gong Show." Except he takes his pants off in the beginning. My stomach still hurts from laughing at this movie. Worth it for that alone.
So what is one to do if you are a porno star with fading looks? I know,
become a pop star! This documentary - and I use the term loosely -
follows the trials and tribulations of Colton as he tries to transform
himself from a gay porn star into a singer of electronic (read: dance)
music. I only wish Mr Ford's voice was as muscular as his arms...sorry
to say his vocals are painfully thin. There isn't much interesting
going on here but Mr Ford and friends are eye candy.
See him record a song that sounds exactly like every other mindless dance tune. See him travel to New York to make "connections." See him go back to L.A. with little success. See yourself look in the mirror and ask, " Why am I wasting time watching this mess?"
I have not seen this movie but after reading the reviews I have got to see it. I always hated gay porn stars because they (90% of the time) treat other gay men outside of "The inner circle" like crap. I've seen Colton (Glen) around Fort Lauderdale and he has his nose so high in the air a bird would have to climb it to lay an egg. The years of meth use, sex with every guy he can't remember and with an ego to match Glen Beck's he is not a likable person. These porn stars come and go like trash blowing down the street and they always pull the pity party when they are dried up and wrung out like a used mop. I don't have any pity for them...Now I can enjoy seeing them make total fools of themselves. Perhaps Colton can get a job at the new "G" resort opening in Wilton Manors, I'm sure they need all service maids.
For the first fifteen minutes the story of NAKED FAME is interesting:
two late thirties male porn stars in a seemingly healthy relationship
decide to leave the Porn industry and try for the world of singing and
acting. The two very buff and preening men are Colton Ford and Blake
Harper. With the aid of Kevin Aviance and Marc Berkely, Colton makes a
dance track that is then marketed in New York with the hopes that
Colton Ford will become an instant star - a unique disco singer touting
his background as a Porn Star for PR.
The remainder of the film is grumbling and in-fighting and commentary by Porn Producer ChiChi LaRue and the film slowly sinks into repetition and doldrums. Not a bad idea for a film if there were a bit more depth revealed in each character's drive to move away form a successful career (though one greatly influenced by the youth both characters have lost) into an alternative one. It is just that a one-note song wears thin quickly. Grady Harp, November 05
Colton Ford is a drop-dead gorgeous hunk of a man who I've always
thought should be a major movie star. Instead, our 40-year-old hero
chose to show all of himself in triple-X rated movies and is now a
mega-famous gay porno star. This alone justifies high interest in this
documentary by Chris Long as Ford attempts to shed his adult movie
career and become instead a pop singer. I know, when you hear that this
middle-aged man wants to become a male Madonna or Britney Spears, the
tendency is to roll your eyes and think, Is He Mad? But, this is
America, folks, where anything can happen. I mean, did you read about
this homeless bum who is now a major celebrity because of his "golden
voice." But anyway, we follow Ford and his boyfriend, equally gorgeous
Blake Harper--another porno god--as they jump into the shark-infested
waters of the music world and try to get exposure--of a different kind.
Interspersed are some of the most suicidal and grim observations by
porn filmmakers ever included on film. Chi Chi LaRue sets the tone with
this cheery observation: "Sometimes I wake up in the morning and wonder
if I should cut my throat before filming another sex scene." We're
treated to a scalding hot appearance of Colt in a music video where he
dances shirtless while singing. His physicality alone deserves the
spotlight in some venue. I can see him doing a strip show in Las Vegas
and bringing the house down.
One major weakness of this documentary is that director Chris Long gives us absolutely no back story about who Colton Ford is. We have no idea of what kind of kid he was growing up, how he got started in the porno business, why he chose to do sex roles. And there's absolutely no juicy footage of Ford in action. All we have is a split second of him fully clothed from some film.
But there is one curiously erotic moment included in this film that was probably unintentional. When the father of Colton Ford is interviewed, he comes across as one hot silver-haired bear of a man with a naughty twinkle in his eyes, especially when he grins and says, "Oh, yeah, I've considered doing a porno film. Haven't we all?" Well, no, but you can instantly see where Colton Ford got his hotness from. It would be ironic indeed if Pappy Ford decided to do a porno film just as his son exits the business.
One of the worse gay-related movies I have ever seen. Since these are
not characters in this story it's hard to comment on the actual film.
Therefore, since Colton Ford (aka Glen) laid his life open for all to
see, I guess he's fair game to criticize. And that's not hard to do.
Here goes. 50 something Glen is a big time porn star who wants fame and
fortune as a big time singer. (I guess 11 films makes him a "star")
Being gay and forty, I have seen porno and I did not recognize him or
his lover. Personally they all look the same to me with different hair
styles. Face it, guys, he's no Jeff Stryker, Jim Bently or Casey
Donovon. That's OK, though. The purpose of these films takes place in
about 6.5 minutes, so they all pretty much have the same requirements,
if you know what I mean.
So Glen wants to be a serious (legit) singer after he dumps the porno industry but he can't get anyone to take him seriously. I wonder why? Was he so stupid to think that he could whitewash taking his clothes off and having sex on film. And according to the film it's not just porn flicks he indulges in, it's living in a house with other "stars" where people can hook into their bedroom, the bathroom and where ever via webcams . It's 500 dollars an hour to entertain at a private party. Strip gigs at clothing optional "hotels". Doing something called meth which I presume is a drug. And then you have the balls to get angry when someone at a club gig tries to touch you ---- because he's "legit" now. Oy!
The only interesting, non-cardboard character is the Academy Award winning gay screen writer who wouldn't give his name. And considering this is a documentary, well, porn is as porn does. You can tell he's most amused by the dumb-bunny porn star.
Glen has one hyper-nellie manager (Kyle) who wants to "sell' him as a porno-participant in hopes of getting him gay-club gigs. He tries to do the Svengalli-routine. "Wear this" "Don't smile" "say this" in what amounts to controlling issues. But our anti-hero will not be controlled or told what to do. That's the first mistake. I'm not saying Kyle was right but if any budding singer starts questioning the manager, they're not going to get far. Kind of like: He who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client.
All of this wouldn't have been bad if it weren't for one small tiny bit of information. Drum roll, please. He's bad. He sucks. His singing talent ranks up there with Ashlee Simpson. It's hard to root for someone who -- while trying make his dream come true --- at 50! --- doesn't work like normal people. No job. Can you say lazy-ass? And the whining, and the "Why don't they accept me." song and dance. And after a few months of scraping the surface of the music industry, he spouts off, "Why don't I have a record deal by now." What? Actors are waiters. Writers work in low-level newspapers or mags -- whatever. This guy is above that. It's true. He wants his success now merely because he decided he wanted it. Whine. Whine Whine. His lover leaves him to return to nursing but I tell ya I wouldn't want that moron dispensing medical care to me. Both of them were useless. Airheads. The movie is useless. Unless you really like Whine and Cheeesy people stay away. Do not waste your money on the crappy lives of useless people, there are far more interesting things stuck to the bottom of your shoe.
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