After Porn Ends, is a documentary that not only examines the lives and careers of some of the biggest names in the history of the adult entertainment industry; but what happens to them ... See full summary »
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After Porn Ends, is a documentary that not only examines the lives and careers of some of the biggest names in the history of the adult entertainment industry; but what happens to them after they leave the business and try and live the "normal" lives that millions of other Americans enjoy. They hailed from the rural South, steel towns, and the San Fernando Valley. As teenagers, and young adults, none of them thought that porn was in their future. They were artists, baseball players, child prodigies, and even Ivy Leaguers. Now, after their lives in porn; they're TV stars, bounty hunters, writers, and social activists. What happened in between? And now that they've moved on, can they really live a normal life after porn? Written by
Vocal - Korinna Knoll
Instruments and Percussion - Adam Peters
Acoustic Guitar - Johnny Marr
Backing Vocals - Nick Urata, Andy Cabic, Nick Laird Clowes, Adam Peters
Drums - Chris Lacinak See more »
Changing careers is never easy, but it's even harder when your previous job includes starring in movies with titles like "Sorority Sex Kittens 3" and "Backstage Sluts," and doing anal is listed as a special skill. Bryce Wagoner's documentary, "After Porn Ends," interviews a variety of ex-porn stars to find out how they transitioned from adult video stardom to more mainstream lives. Real estate seems to be the preferred profession for a lot of them, though none of the women who went into that fieldHouston, Raylene, Amber Lynnstayed in it. Asia Carrera became a stay-at-home mom, while Crissy Moran and Shelley Lubben became born-again-Christians, renouncing their porn pasts. Self-employment is the easier path to building a life outside of porn: Randy West became a semi-pro golfer; the late John Leslie was a musician and painter (a pretty good one, too); and, perhaps the most interesting career switch, Tyffany Million (a.k.a. Sandra Margot) became a P.I. and bounty hunter. Seka is self-employed, but earns money from her website, capitalizing on her porn fame. Mary Carey used her porn notoriety to get some D-list recognition on reality shows and a couple publicity-grabbing runs for governor of California.
Though "After Porn Ends" is fascinating, many of the stories start to sound alike. For the women, the narrative usually involves running away from an abusive family and battling drug and alcohol problems. For the men it's often a less complicated "Can you believe they PAY ME to have sex with all these women?" (Richard Pacheco recounts how he was contemplating studying to become a Rabbi when he was offered a part in a porn film. "It wasn't a tough decision," he says.) Though a good number of the former sex stars are fairly well-grounded notably Pacheco, Leslie, Seka, Million there is, predictably, a lot of sadness here. The pain is not always explicitly detailed and seldom explored, but it's usually visible. Just look at the eyes. Lubben, whose videography is so scant it barely justifies her inclusion in this documentary, and Moran seem to have psychological scars that go beyond their porn careersscars that a devotion to God hasn't fully healed. As porn legend Nina Hartley observes: "A lot of people who are in porn have no business being in it."
Besides the always enjoyable Hartley (I regret that her response to suggestions she enter politics can't be quoted here), former porn blogger Luke Ford and adult industry fixture William Margold offer insight to the pitfalls of life after porn. One of those pitfalls, it seems, is dealing with men like Ford and Margold, both of whom make it clear they don't have a high opinion of women in the industry (men in the X-biz are cool, though). Ford refers to women in porn as "prostitutes" and "hookers," and while starring in porn is similar, Ford's disdain is disingenuous. Margold at least acknowledges the hypocrisy of porn consumers looking down on adult video stars, but otherwise he's a Hawaiian shirt-wearing stereotype of a sleazy flesh peddler.
Director Wagoner himself offers little insight, letting his subjects speak for themselves. On the surface this hands-off approach is a positive thing, preventing any moralizing or self-conscious sniggering, but there are several instances where I wished he'd asked follow-up questions, like when Lubben talks about how she and the man she eventually married got high on meth and discussed the bible(!), or when Mary Carey, the most vapid of the ex-porn stars, mentions that if she returned to porn she would, eventually, do a scene with a black man, seemingly implying an interracial scene is only a notch above gonzo porn.
As other reviewers have mentioned, making a documentary about the lives of retired porn stars is so obvious it's amazing it hasn't been done before. Though Wagoner does a respectable job with "After Porn Ends," it's hardly definitive. There's room for this subject to be done again.
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