Recently, the subject of “celebrity sex tapes” came up (here)…
And it’s come up before (here)…
And it has come up many times even before that.
Oh, “celebrity sex tapes”!! Oh, sex tape “celebrities”!! What a fine and complex comment on our contemporary culture you are!!
Like every film genre, adult or otherwise, celebrity sex tapes seem to have some key thematic and stylistic elements. Generally and generically, celebrity sex tapes…
1. Feature celebrities (…or “celebrities”) – otherwise, why would we care?
2. Feature folks who are not professional adult performers – just because someone has sex and films it and/or is considered a passably good actor and/or TV personality and/or is related to a passably good actor and/or TV personality does NOT mean they are a professional sex performer… this “amateur”/”crossover” element also seems to add to the compelling nature of these things.
3. Contain footage that, when originally shot, was not meant for public consumption – the fact that celebrity sex tapes consist of (supposedly) intimate and private “homemade” footage makes us think we are seeing something secret. It also contributes to the scandal of it all, which we seem to love.
Now certainly there are exceptions to each of these patterns. In fact, it seems like there are more exceptions than rules lately.
Consider the Vivid Entertainment’s catalogue of celebrity sex tapes – VividCeleb. VividCeleb films generally contain sex footage shot “before they were ‘famous’”… or do they? Because on the face value of genre elements 1 – 3, Jennifer “Toastee” Toof is a celebrity and Montana Fishburne totally didn’t want people to see her “sex tape” (and neither did Brian Pumper) – riiiight.
(pictured: Montana Fishburne)
Back in the days of Pam and Tommy Lee, celebrity sex tapes were a bit more literal – two actual (“actual”?) celebrities had their home movies stolen. Things began to spin off into some other less-than-generic celebrity-slippage direction with the likes of Paris and Kim. And now? Well, aside from maybe Kendra(ish), things are totally out of control (!!), and what’s currently commonly cast as a “celebrity sex tape” defies generic description left and right.
The genre seems to have morphed into some interesting catch-all for the afore mentioned content and every other obliquely “celebrity”- and sex-related thing imaginable. In other words, Genre Element Number 3 seems to be a real sticking point these days.
Consider The 11th Hole (2010), which stars Joslyn James… as herself. Here is the box copy:
Finally, only from VividCeleb, the full complete, uncensored text from The Golf Great’s eleventh named mistress Joslyn James, re-enacted in full, hardcore detail for all golf fans to see! You’ll be treated to all the fine points of this elicit affair, in a level of detail never before revealed, and in Tiger and Joslyn’s own words! See the torrid love scenes played out as only Joslyn herself can, from her first hand experience having sex with the voracious legend ‘four or five times a day…even during tournaments!’ You’ve seen the texts… now see the sex. The 11th Hole…as historical as winning the Grand Slam of Golf…and much more sexy. (sic)
So Joslyn James, who is an actual professional adult performer, stars in a reenactment of her affair with golfer/fallen angel Tiger Woods. Tiger Woods is not in this movie, but a bunch of other porn performers are.
So then, how exactly is this a celebrity sex tape? Because it addresses a celebrity-related scandal? Hmmm…
(pictured: The 11th Hole)
Even more confounding (to me) is Tila Tequila Uncorked (2010). Here is the box copy:
A shot of hardcore from the star of MTV’s ‘Shot At Love.’ Love her or hate her, she’s the girl you have to watch. Tila Tequila was the toast of MTV with her smash hit ‘Shot at Love’ and has appeared in Playboy, Penthouse, Maxim, and virtually every fashion magazine in existence. She’s also one very nasty girl… and we have the tape to prove it.
Vivid Celeb brings you Tila Tequila Uncorked, in which this crazy-hot spinner gets it on with two hotties in a 3-way lesbian tryst you will never forget! It was one wild night of toys, panties, hotel rooms, and a camera…and non-stop sex until all three were shaken, stirred, and spent. They say a fine Tequila goes down smooth. Are they ever right… (sic)
Uuuuuuuggghh… worse even than mischaracterizing The 11th Hole as a celebrity sex tape proper is Uncorked.
Yes, Tila Tequila has some measure of celebrity; but hiring two professional porn performers to be in an all-girl three way with Tila does not a celebrity sex tape make. Because Kristina Rose and Charlie Lane are professionals – why not mention them on the box? Why not call Uncorked what it is?: a mainstream “celebrity” of sorts doing porn, just like Amy “Long Island Lolita” Fisher (who seems to work primarily with the DreamZone/Vantage camp these days) and just like former Miss USA and “Passions” star Kelli McCarty.
(pictured: Tila Tequila Uncorked)
Now, I (loosely) began this little tirade with reference to VividCeleb, so it’s worth mentioning another celebrity sex tape spin off that has been perfected by the Vivid camp – the celebrity sex tape solicitation.
In addition to the “before they were ‘famous’”-type project, Vivid also purveys “after their 15 minutes are up”-type solicitations. Now, I’m not sure how successful any of these solicitations have been; and Steve Hirsch, the CEO of Vivid and one of the most mainstream-visible members of the adult industry, has been known to push pretty hard in some of these cases. Put bluntly – sometimes he just doesn’t know when to quit. Case in point: his well-documented and downright uncomfortable pursuit/harassment of Nadya “Octomom” Suleman. Whatsmore, Steve’s solicitation of Casey “acquitted of child murdering” Anthony just hours after a jury verdict cleared her of some pret-ty serious crimes outraged members of the mainstream and the adult industry alike (stories here and here).
[…and it is only fair that I point out – civil rights and first amendment activist Larry Flynt has decided to revitalize the whole Casey Anthony sex tape thing. He, via Hustler, recently offered Casey half-a-million dollars to do… something. Here are both CNN‘s coverage and AVN‘s take.
I must confess that I’m completely taken aback by Larry’s gesture here. I’m not understanding the rationale behind drawing further attention to someone who seems to be almost universally loathed by the public. This seems like a bad idea for everyone involved. I honestly don’t know what to make of it beyond that, but the silence radiating from the industry about this issue at the moment feels more like shock than it does outrage a la Hirsch… or even apathy or dismissiveness… or maybe it’s just the weekend?]
But how exactly do these examples – Nadya and Casey and others who have been made some ridiculously high-dollar, excessively high-profile offer to do porn – fit into the celebrity sex tape genre?
(pictured: Casey Anthony)
The point being to all of this talk of Joslyn and Montana, Tila and Nadya, Casey and Kim, and everyone else in between is that the “celebrity sex tape” genre, if it ever even was one, is evolving… I’m half-excited and half-terrified to see where it goes.
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