Porn movies generally are ham-fistedly bad in every way except the sex scenes -- the acting, the staging, the lighting, etc. No artist with the real ability to make a legitimate movie would want to waste his talent on a porn movie where it'll just be ignored in favor how "how sexy are the thespians and how hot is the sex." So then ... why bother to make a good movie in "movie" terms at all? There really isn't any good reason. The "movie" is just parsley, a garnish on the plate surrounding what it is you want to eat.
That's more or less what I had gathered.
Point being to call a movie "------ porn" is to say the real pleasure you're deriving from watching the movie is to see the "-------" for its own sake, not the movie as a whole or "-------" in the context of the movie. For example, I once called THE LEOPARD and RUSSIAN ARK "museum porn," and while that's an oversimplification of the Visconti (less so the Sokurov; though really, who cares in that case), what I was getting at is that the films basically give you pleasure in the manner of a museum exhibit, seeing all these old artworks, ladies gowns, cravats, Louis Catorce chairs, chandeliers, old uniforms, sculptures, etc. The movie-as-a-movie is as secondary as the "plot" in a porno movie -- just show me the
sex paintings; that's what it's really all about.
Or to put it super-succinctly "------- porn" means the movie basically provides an excuse or occasion to watch "--------", which is the real point.
Sort of like musicals are often just occasions for music, and so could be called "music porn" if the term "musicals" didn't already exist. Though some serious critics have noted structural analogies between the porn film and the musical.
However, in my view such accommodations of the word "porn" diminish the force of the word unless one has a moral point to make.
Thus, to call Black Hawk Down
"war porn" is a reasonable critique of the film, if in fact one means to critique it. To say this is to say "This film treats war in a voyeuristic and exploitative way, in fact reducing war to its voyeuristic appeal and existing as a film for no other substantial purpose."
By contrast, to call Russian Ark
"museum porn," besides being cinematically inaccurate (it is the stunt, or rather the achievement, of the singe shot, not the museum itself, that is the fundamental raison d'etre
), diminishes the force of the term "porn" because there is no moral point to make. One cannot treat museums and the objects in them in a voyeuristic way, for the obvious reason that museums and the objects in them are there precisely for the sake of looking.
Well, the majority of these incoming reviews from Eastern viewers is disproving the thesis that I wanted to be true. It is turning out that the film's Bollywood elements aren't Bollywood enough for those steeped in that culture to excuse its visual excesses and narrative flaws.
The more I read comments like this, the more intrigued I am with the notion of the film as a subversion of Bollywood.
A subversion or flawed imitation? I ventured above that the reason I don't like the film is because I am not schooled enough in Bollywood to "get" the way its narrative is cobbled together, but it seems that the general response has been that the film is actually pretty flawed in its employment of Bollywood convention. Wouldn't a successful subversion of a Bollywood film would be one that draws a Bollywood audience in by sheer Bollywood excellence, and then turns the tables of convention at key points throughout the film?.
It's not yet clear to me that the majority of critical Bollywood fans object to the same things you do. If that turns out to be the case, then I agree that is a good argument against the film. But if critical Bollywood fans accept the visual flourishes and the narrative conceits while complaining about other things, then perhaps the subversion model deserves some thought.
D.F. Wallace talked about how pornography sexualizes real life by envisioning this narrative world in which sex is always one heartbeat away. "------" porn also has this effect. War porn, for example, makes "war" a totalizing perspective on how life works.
Oh, very, very good. In that case one can easily say that, for example, The Brave One
is urban violence porn. Claims have been made to present it as a subversion of movie violence, but here is a case where I definitely don't buy the subversion argument.