Regardless, Rob Rotten, after nearly a year away from the porn fold after suffering injuries in a racing accident ("I lost my right front brake going 140," he said), has returned with Swallow My Children, a very funny movie that happens to have blowjobs in it.
"Blowjobs are less expensive," Rotten pointed out. "That's why blowjob movies have a million girls in them."
Rotten makes and appears in three kinds of porn movies. Funny ones, scary ones, and porn movies utilizing his tattoos. Swallow My Children is of the first category, and as such it really is fun to watch, as everyone in it plays his or her white trash character expertly.
There are a few people making funny porn movies. Cram and Grip Johnson of Chatsworth Pictures and Jim Powers of JM and Sin City don't put their characters on pedestals but do allow for gallows wit. When the performers are smart, the viewer is left with a winning combination of sexy women with senses of humor. Naughty America's new line, Naughty Flipside, crafts scenarios that are more whimsical, but not so whimsical that the scene becomes something other than the sex people are having.
I forgot to ask where Rotten grew up and how much money he had while doing so, but if you can judge his overall aesthetic from Swallow My Children, I'd bet the lifestyle and characters depicted in the movie and Rotten's weekend world aren't far apart.
There's surf punk/metal playing in the background, purple-haired Daisy Tanks playing shuffleboard barefoot, amiable dudes with nothing to do but lift weights, and Tony Tedeschi pissing on the roof. California affords many a lifestyle that allows them to continue the best part of their high school existences until at least age 42.
There's a genial vagrant serving as narrator.
"I didn't want to narrate the movie myself," Rotten said. "I said 'I wish I had a homeless guy or something' and one of the guys in the crew said, 'Are you serious? There's this gay homeless guy outside the liquor store down the street' and I said 'Go get him."
Angus McGillicuddy wanders in and out of the movie, a stunned Hungarian model sitting behind him ("At first I think she thought she was going to have to blow him," Rotten said) and lends the project its California-inclusive, Nothing But A Houseparty vibe.
I asked how much McGillicuddy got paid. "Four beers? Five beers?" Rotten replied.
I like to think that Rotten had a few women in mind for this large-cast, low budget movie, and he filled out the rest of the roster with blondes. Some of the most inspired and goofy scenes involved non-blondes, including newcomer Daisy Tanks, Jocelyn Jaden, and Sasha Grey.
People talk about exploitation and empowerment in porn, and I've never found an example of either. While there are those who weren't clever in making a decision to appear in a porn movie, they have agreed to a wage and they are not being exploited. In fact, those who would argue that porn exploits the not-too-clever draw a line between the higher-paid mistakes of these performers' mainstream counterparts. Is appearing in an MTV teen drama or Fox reality show not exploitive because an AFTRA contract is involved?
Whereas accusations of exploitation come from the outside, the empowerment defense is employed by pornographers who say that their material actually helps women. This, too, is bullshit.
Anyway, I think that people like Rotten have the right idea; he made a movie full of natural light and women who, given the right circumstances, might actually have fucked these dudes without being paid for it. It almost seems democratic.
"Isn't Sasha Grey hot?" Rotten asked. She plays the bemused girlfriend of a loser who rolls himself down a hill in a barrel. You don't normally hear people in porn saying things like this, because most people who have the confidence to fuck on film at the very least are attractive because of that confidence.
"Yes," I said. "It's nice seeing her in the sunshine."
"I ask them to not show up with all that porn shit on," he said. "It doesn't make them look good."
Read the review here.
See also: Punx Productions