by John F. Karr
It just isn't right to hold any master who has produced exceptional work early in his career to that standard for the rest of his life. Impetus can only rarely be sustained. And so it is with Joe Gage. Can he be blamed in the 40th year of his career for simply stating and not working out too fully the premise in each of his two recent movies?
One of them, TitanMen's Chain Reaction , is acceptable porn, while the second, DragonMedia's Joe Gage's Sex Files Vol. #16: Faculty Night —though it has markedly reduced production values and is less technically accomplished then the Titan title—is considerably better. I'll tell you about it soon.
We're told that in Chain Reaction, "Joe Gage examines authority and arousal." Gage really only nods at this theme; his standard issue porn set-ups transpire with more comic tones than with the sexual tension and intriguing byplay of Gage-of-yore. If you're in a benevolent mood, you won't mind much. After all, the ensuing sex is okay. But I miss the days when a more engaged Gage more carefully developed sexually explosive situations.
The first scene concerns beefy Hunter Marx as a cop checking out the studio of erotic artist Jessy Ares. Ares plays nonchalant as the cop questions the erotic nature of his work. Seeing a photo of ass cheeks, the cop asks if butt photos are legal. He's a cop with no knowledge of pornography standards?
For some reason, Ares defends himself, saying, "I'm an established fine artist." So, his success is what makes the photos legal? What a muddled issue this is. Wouldn't ya know, the cop is aroused. A little too quickly, methinks. Like, he's on duty, but shucks his uniform in a flash, doesn't protest having his butt fondled, and pops a boner before you can shout, "butt fuck!"
I dissect the scene at length because Gage's films were traditionally built on a carefully constructed verisimilitude. Yet this stale porn fantasy is about as real as the Enchanted Tiki Room at Disneyland.
Which doesn't mean that the sex the guys have is without heat. Ares delivers the deluxe version of rimming; there's good oral, and good fucking. And then, well, touch my banana, Ares produces a double-ended dildo and plugs both their butts. It makes Marx shoot, and Ares beats off onto Marx' genitals. The scene as a whole: once past the preliminaries, it's acceptable.
In a situation even less credible than the first, photographer George Ce is equipped with only a cell phone camera and in a space as empty and bland as a waiting room when he pays urban cowboy Josh West to pose for photos. They're having sex before West can say "Cheese!" Yet with neither plot nor atmosphere to drive the scene forward, my mind wandered to thoughts of whether I should buy the new Blu-ray of Ichabod and Mr. Toad.
I can go gaga for George Ce; he sure is an attractive fellow, with a sunny personality and a fat, uncut cock. West passively accepts having his cock sucked, and though Ce sucks the big thing well, it was only passively that I watched. The scene lacks pace, and the guys don't exhibit much involvement; I didn't get into it.
The final scene of the near two-hour movie presents a flip fuck of hot dude Adam Russo as the boss of shiny employee Casey Williams. Both are lookin' snappy, Russo in a suit, and Williams in crisp white shirt, with tie and suspenders. I've loved watching Williams grow up in porn, from a boy to thick-bodied, furry-chested man. His cock has remained the same as always —steely, rosy pink, so carefully sculpted and so delicious-looking.
Most appreciable about the scene is that the dialogue leads to sex in a terse four sentences. So much for examining authority and arousal. The boss says Suck, and his staff sucks. I love Williams' technique —he holds Russo's cock in his mouth, savors it. But I hated a dialogue intrusion.
"Is this what you think of when you're banging your wife?" Russo asks. Sorry, but all the suspension of disbelief in the world can't get me through this. If imputed heterosexuality, with closeted gay longings makes you hot, well, then, this scene's got it.
They swap BJs and they swap effective butt fucks. Russo's always a rouser, and Casey shoots far and plenty. Yet there's no real heat here. Only proficient performances. There's just too much porn out there for me to recommend this noncommittal effort.