Docurama // 2002 // 102 Minutes // Unrated
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // March 31st, 2003
The hardest working man in show business!
Pre-pubescent teen boys, unite! In the annals of documentary history, there has never been a story quite as strange as the world of renowned porn star Ron Jeremy. Quite possibly one of the most recognizable faces in the sex industry, Ron Jeremy has starred in over 1,600 films and has slept with thousands -- yes, I actually said thousands -- of various women. In 2002, Scott J. Gill interviewed and followed Mr. Jeremy around, giving fans, viewers, and moral critics a glimpse inside of the man best known as "The Hedgehog." Porn Star: The Legend of Ron Jeremy is now available on DVD care of Docurama/New Video.
For those who've always wanted to know what it's like to be a porn star, here's your chance. Porn Star: The Legend of Ron Jeremy gives us the life and times of Ron Jeremy, genital warts and all. From his childhood memories through his career in more adult movies than even Charlie Sheen can watch, Ron Jeremy has lived a whirlwind life of sex, celebrity, and wild abandon. Ron's hobnobbed with comedian Rodney Dangerfield, director Paul Thomas Anderson, and actor Corey Feldman. He's been featured in major motion pictures like Killing Zoe and Orgazmo. He's a hero to college men who've got no luck "getting some." But most of all Ron's a poor schlep who just wants to be known as a serious ackh-tor. Along the way we'll meet some of the people closest to Ron, including his physicist (!) father, various porn starlets that he's worked with, and personal friends including Screw magazine publisher Al Goldstein, "Grandpa Munster" Al Lewis, Hustler founder Larry Flynt, and many other people you wouldn't want to spend ten minutes with inside a darkened room. Venture inside the twisted, weird world of Ron Jeremy and you may never be the same again!
Porn Star: The Legend of Ron Jeremy is a movie that entices and sickens, engrosses and grosses out, all in the same mighty breath. There is something strangely alluring about the porn industry -- like undertaking, it's a profession that is both fascinating and repulsive. As a Christian, I personally I am not an advocate of porn, nor do I think it does any good in our society (I just thought I'd lay that out on the table). However, I find the people that work in it to be an interesting study. Jenna Jameson, one of the industry's most recognizable female actresses, has been featured on various primetime interview segments, discussing why she got into the business and what her life was like before and after porn. I think that, sadly, most folk who get into the nookie biz have traumatic events from their childhood that have wrecked havoc on many psychological levels (and this was certainly the case with Jameson, as she admitted to past abuse).
Oddly enough, Ron Jeremy doesn't seem to have this vices or baggage attached to his career -- through interviews with his father, sister, and Jeremy himself, we learn that the worst childhood memory is of his mother passing on from Parkinson's disease when Ron was only a toddler. Even his sister and father seem like normal, respectable folks. Jeremy also doesn't drink, smoke, or do drugs, a rarity in the porn business (his only true addiction, we find out, is food). So what the heck got Ron into the business of sleaze? Well, aside of being able to have sex with lots of women...how do I put this delicately?...the guy has an enormous schlong. During the film, we're given the opportunity to see (and I don't mean that in a good way) Ron's huge...err, talent. He's got fans all over the globe and actresses praise his sexual skills. Yet when it's all said and done you get the feeling that all is not always well in Jeremy's unique world. Although he rebukes it on the commentary track, Jeremy seems like a lonely guy. In one interview segment conducted late at night, Jeremy muses about going home to an empty apartment and hoping that one day he'll find true love (and even conceive offspring, which is quite possibly a sign of the impending apocalypse). One wonders what goes through Jeremy's thoughts when, at the end of the day, he realizes that his lasting legacy is the fact that he had sex with six gazillion women. For some men this is a true accomplishment (many of these men are Jeremy's fans who, aside of being complete freaks, are interviewed throughout this film). Yet for others this would seem a tad bit empty.
While most documentaries of this nature are cautionary tales of the dangers of porn (disease, drugs, loneliness), Porn Star doesn't (usually) attempt to preach such messages. While Ron may at first seem like a tragic figure, in the end he's actually a quite articulate guy who seems genial and funny. While I think many of his friends are mean and vile people (Screw magazine's Ron Goldstein rips Jeremy apart as if he's got some personal vendetta), most folks really enjoy Ron's company, and not always in a sexual way. Still, Porn Star doesn't paint the sex industry as a glamorous, clean place -- many of the people interviewed know that there are limitations to their happiness inside its walls. Ron seems to know this as well and often talks about his desire to save up enough money for the future to live comfortably and, one suspects, without the shackles of porn's stigma. If Jeremy can ever shake his past remains to be seen...
Porn Star: The Legend of Ron Jeremy is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1 full frame. Since this is a documentary shot on video, the transfer sports many of the inconsistencies inherent with that medium. The lighting is often off center and dark, while the images are sometimes out of focus. Various archival footage clips from Ron's early films are included in the film, many of them grainy and well worn. Although this transfer is roughly raw, it seems a bit fitting for the subject matter.
The soundtrack is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo in English. There's not a whole lot to report on this sound mix -- some distortion and hiss are present due to the shaky video/archival footage featured in the film. The bulk of this track is focused only through the front and center speakers, making for an almost mono-ish feel. Then again, what were you expecting from a movie about a chubby, mustachioed pornography star? DTS? That'd be about as likely as me scoring a date with Drew Barrymore. No alternate subtitles or soundtracks are available on this disc.
Docurama is not known as a "supplements heavy" studio, but for Porn Star: The Legend of Ron Jeremy they've pulled out a few stops and come up with some meaty (pun intended) extra features. Here's a rundown of what's on this disc:
Commentary Track by Director Scott J. Gill and Star Ron Jeremy: There's something strange about watching a movie featuring commentary by the actual documentary subject. Either way, this is actually a pretty entertaining listen with both Gill and Jeremy chatting away like there's no tomorrow. A little more insight on Ron can be found in this track (he's not that lonely! Really!) and there's a nice balance between funny asides and information about the film's production. Since the movie is short (well under 80 minutes), this track won't take you long to get through.
Deleted Scenes: Eleven cut scenes are included on this disc, each presented in a 1.33:1 full frame transfer. Most of these consist of either Ron telling stories about himself (like the time he was propositioned at a hotel by five girls ages 14-17) and more footage of Ron at various points in his life (at an opening for the film Orgazmo with Matt Stone, Ron as a child, etcetera). If you enjoyed the film, chances are you'll get a kick out of these deleted scenes.
Finally, there are some filmographies/biographies/pornographies on the cast, crew and Ron Jeremy, and a few trailers for various Docurama DVD titles.
Conservatives may want to stay clear of Porn Star: The Legend of Ron Jeremy. While I certainly don't endorse the pr0n industry, I do think this film is an engaging look at a surprisingly likable man who is doing something many American males dream of, yet finds that happiness still eludes him. Docurama's presentation of this DVD is as good as it needs to be.
Porn Star: The Legend of Ron Jeremy is icky, but free to go. Case dismissed!
Review content copyright © 2003 Patrick Naugle; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 102 Minutes
Release Year: 2002
MPAA Rating: Unrated
* Commentary Track by Director Scott J. Gill and Star Ron Jeremy
* Deleted Scenes
* Ron Jeremy Filmography and Pornography
* Filmmaker and Crew Bios