You Know It When You See It: Six Quality Efforts

By: Val Williams
Porn has a reputation for fly-by-night production, shoddy workmanship and cheap shortcuts, and while all that and more can be found in the wide world of smutt, there are gems to be had, as well. From the golden days of the classics to the high-end smashes from today's big studios, there are always people who are trying to make a better movie. They put time and effort into plot, lighting, acting, sets, and everything else. As is the case in mainstream movies, sometimes they fall far short, but sometimes they succeed - and that's where you find classics. Here are some of our favorite porn movies that approach greatness
  • The Fashionistas

    1. The Fashionistas

    Studio: Evil Angel

    If ever in porn there was a Citizen Kane, it's Fashionistas. Well, except that Fashionistas is, in fact, Cyrano de Bergerac. Whatever you want to call it, there has never been and probably will never be a porn movie like it, with a cast consisting of both established porn stars and brand new up and comers. It took the King of Gonzo to make porn's biggest drama, nearly five hours long and shining with expensive costumes, amazing sets, and an elaborate plot - John Stagliano's magnum opus will probably never be surpassed.

    Buy: The Fashionistas

  • Pirates

    2. Pirates

    Studio: Digital Playground

    If Fashionistas is porn's Citizen Kane, then Pirates is porn's Pirates of the Caribbean. The love child of two of porn's biggest and most lavish major studios - Adam and Eve and Digital Playground - Pirates is crammed with special effects, major stars, amazing sets, great costumes and just plain fun. So successful that it was subsequently released in R, PG-13, and even PG versions, Pirates is probably the most successful major porn movie ever made.

    Buy: Pirates

  • Black Worm

    3. Black Worm

    Studio: Pulpo Inc.

    A tidy little gem by a studio that really never released anything else, Black Worm is a serious, gritty, hardcore crime drama with tight plotting, great casting, hot fucking, and a twist ending. Its budget wasn't huge, nor was its pedigree aristocratic, but it was satisfying and solid.

    Buy: Black Worm

  • Marriage 2.0

    4. Marriage 2.0

    Studio: Adam and Eve

    Marriage 2.0 is by turns comical, dreamy, joyful, and serious, with a gorgeous aesthetic. Shot in authentic San Francisco pieds-a-terre, dungeons, and sex haunts, this thoughtful examination of the joys and pitfalls of an experimental relationship takes a deep look at the options available to a modern couple. Aside from gorgeous scenery and sizzling sex, it features real sex-positive San Francisco kinksters in their natural habitats, and it's a different kind of movie.

    Buy: Marriage 2.0

  • Tailgunners

    5. Tailgunners

    Studio: Adam and Eve

    Stylish and atmospheric, this World War II period piece had many charms, among them the presences of Carmen Luvana, Kylie Ireland, Austyn Moore, and Katja Kassin. It's got fucking, spies, airplanes, more fucking, special effects, aviators, and even more fucking. If you like historical comedy-drama and don't really mind that it doesn't bother too much with accuracy, Tailgunners is your jam.

    Buy: Tailgunners

  • The Devil In Miss Jones

    6. The Devil In Miss Jones

    Studio: VCX

    Moody, sensuous, and sultry, The Devil in Miss Jones has been called one of the smartest adult movies ever, but the smart isn't really what sells it. A lot of porn movies will try to convince you that the female lead is frumpy, prudish or innocent in the ways of the flesh, but not one of them (and they all followed in the giant footsteps of this one) succeeds - porn stars are porn stars, and easily identifiable as such, but Georgina Spelvin played the role to a T, like no-one else before or since. A gorgeously shot fever dream of a movie, The Devil in Miss Jones' vision of the afterlife was a revelation.

    Buy: The Devil In Miss Jones

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