Back when William Higgins Cast Humans, Not Muscle Dolls
1986: Gay adult film director William Higgins was still working in the United States. He was still shooting on film, and he was still working with real people.
Anyone who is familiar with Mr. Higgins' more recent work will know what I'm talking about; These days Higgins' stomping ground is Eastern Europe. That's all well and good, but sadly he has also given into current trends, shooting on digital video for budget's sake, and casting only ridiculously perfect-looking muscle men in his gay porn.
Now, of course viewers of gay porn, just like viewers of straight porn, like good-looking people. The kind of men that Higgins (and again, many like him) now employs, however, are so built up, and so vacuous, that they come across as no more than living, breathing (heavily, when appropriate) cartoon characters.
Ah, but not so in 1986. At that point William Higgins was at the top of his game. He was still shooting on film (usually 16mm), and he had reached a point in his career at which he had the technical side (especially the lighting, which in his earliest work was reeeeallly bad) down pretty well. Most importantly, though, he was still casting men who, while including a share of athletic pretty boys, still tended to look very much Boy Next Door.
This brings us to THE PIZZA BOY: HE DELIVERS. It has a great cast. While there ARE a number of rock-solid Adonis types on hand, (most notably Tony Stefano, who could never shake the expressionless "just in it for the money" vibe) there are also genuine humans such as David Ashfield and Grant Fagan. They look like everyday guys you might work or go to school with, and that makes the sex scenes feel very real.
It is not coincidence that Ashfield and Fagan headline PIZZA BOY's two hottest scenes, which both take place in a "park" at night (read: picnic table in a dark soundstage). In the first scene Ashfield, playing the more experienced (but still boyishly innocent) role, introduces Fagan to the joys of oral gratification. Of course, Fagan responds enthusiastically (with both having nice slow-motion pop-offs shot from several angles, a Higgins trademark). In a second scene later in the film, Fagan stretches out on the picnic table as Ashfield takes it to the next level.
Ashfield and Fagan's chemistry (complete with semi-realistic dialogue, at least by Pornland standards, that they actually seem to have fun with) makes their pairing the high point of the film. The other actors' tableau are good, but they all (particularly the voyeurism scene at the end) pale in comparison.
The weak ending, though, has been a career-long weakness of director Higgins: He never seems to know which sex scenes are the hottest, so his films always end on a slight downswing. In this case, it is the only thing that keeps PIZZA BOY from scoring a perfect 10.
Still, 9 out of 10 is NOT bad. But then, that was how Higgins did things in the 80s, back when his performers were more than simply inflated stacks of meat.
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