Saturday, August 12, 2017

197. Blue Money

197. Blue Money (1972)
Director: Alain Patrick
Writers: Nick Boretz from a story by Alain Patrick
From: Cult Cinema
Jim is an underground porno producer/director trying to make enough money to pay off his boat so he and his family can leave the industry. However challenges from crooked distributors to police busts keep pushing him deeper.
How does Wikipedia describe this movie? “Blue Money is a 1972 American soft core porn film written and directed by Alain Patrick as Alain-Patrick Chappuis and based upon a story by Nick Boretz.” Hoo boy. And let’s note that Patrick is also the star of the movie. So it’s a porno written, directed, and starring one guy. I’m sure it’s going to be a measured character study.

Oh wait, no, this is going to be on The Room spectrum. My patience for this flick is right near zero from jump street. First thing I notice, Patrick’s delivery is just a step above Tommy Wiseau’s. This bites.

The story, in brief. Jim is a porno director/producer. The cops are monitoring him because they’re trying to bust all the distributors and producers. Distributors are screwing Jim and his partner over, always shorting them by exactly $1,000, and Jim is starting to face marital problems from the stress of his job. He loves his wife and kid and is constantly working on finishing the houseboat they’ve been building so they can get away from it all, but, as his wife notes, he’s become more distant and depressed the longer he’s been working in the industry.

Jim becomes infatuated with a new actress which makes him resistant to casting her, but she begs and he relents. Then he has an affair with her. Which doesn’t come to much until the very end when his wife sees the two of them together, ironically right after he’s told the mistress he’s not going to cheat on his wife anymore, which leads to a big fight.

At the same time as the fight, the cops are cracking down on every level of the industry and Jim’s partner bails because he’s obtained funding for an independent film. Jim, desperate to make one last movie and finally pay off the boat, shoots in his own house (after his wife has left him, temporarily). The cops raid the house, arrest everyone, which leads to a discussion between Jim and the cop about how the courts will let him off because of free speech, but they arrested him just to inconvenience him and cost him money. The cop specifically says it’s to bring Jim down to everyone else’s level. Jim responds that all the “normal” people the cop wants him to be like are the ones buying the films and it’s not up to the cop how he lives.

The movie closes with Jim and his family relaxing on their boat.

God, this sucked. It’s slow, joyless, and self-important. It’s a nudie flick with a message. What that message is, though, I couldn’t tell you because it doesn’t seem to be particularly on the pornographer’s side. So how are we supposed to read his argument against the cop at the end? Is he right to be pushing back against this authoritarianism or is he just offering shallow self-justification? On the other hand, can you honestly draw an anti-porn message from a softcore porn flick?

One big thing holding the movie back is just how joyless it is. This is a porno film that’s slow, dim, and miserable. No one’s having any fun—are you turned on yet? You could tell an interesting story about porn as a business, how it’s work, and, in being work, how it can be dehumanizing, and that movie is Boogie Nights. This movie’s trying to have its cake and eat it too—being a softcore porno, existing exclusively to showcase female nudity and simulated sex acts, but offering up criticisms of pornography. It’s a movie that’s trying to sneer at the very thing it is.

So a big ol’ skip recommended here. It’s a nudie flick without any fun that thinks it’s being bold. Let it sit in the corner smelling its own farts while you do something more fun with your time.

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