Porn Star: The Legend of Ron Jeremy provided a number of insights into the porn industry from those who know it best. Among the multitude of participants in this "Docu-rama" were adult stars such as Jenna Jameson and Tabitha Stevens, directors like Jim Holliday and Seymore Butts, and mainstream stars such as Gene Simmons, Rodney Dangerfield, Jay Leno, Conan O'Brien, Al Lewis, and a host of others. The credits read like a list from a Hollywood awards party guest list (and a big one at that). The focus of the show was obviously Ron himself but even then it was only a small part of the man's life story. Director Scott Gill narrowed the premise of the movie to Ron's quest for mainstream acceptance, perhaps even overstating it at times, by showing how far Ron had gone in the past to get even small roles in non-adult movies. Ron has been in around 1900 movies, mostly adult, directed 250+ of them, been on more television and cable programs than anyone, even Ron himself, could keep track of, and it's evident that the movie relied on but a handful of sources to give us the glimpse into Ron's life.
Picture: The was presented in it's original full frame format. Even with the limitations of some of the source material, the picture was very sharp and clear for such a documentary style movie. I didn't see any artifacts or other problems with the picture.
Sound: The sound was presented in Dolby Digital stereo with most of the sound coming from the center channel. It was clear and even some of the weaker material seemed enhanced beyond the usual limitations of porn.
Extras: The best extra for me was the audio commentary. In it, Ron and Director Scott, bounced back and forth on a variety of subjects as well as how each of them wanted different things from the movie. At times, I found myself siding with one or the other based mainly on my outsider's perspective. In all, the commentary put the entire movie into a new light and I'd recommend anyone listen to it, even if you watched the movie itself in the theatre. The next best extra was the 11 deleted scenes. What impressed me most about them were that they weren't centered around a couple of aspects of Ron's life. There were scenes that dealt with his parents, his work with the annual Nudes A Poppin' festival at the Ponderosa Sun Club in Indiana, his many dealings with Hollywood studios that cut his performances, and even his supposed narcolepsy (among others). Also included was some crew biographies, a short filmography for Ron's works, and trailers.
Final Thoughts: If you have watched any porn movies in the last 25 years or even been slightly interested in pop culture, you'll want to check this documentary out. It's not a glowing whitewash on the porn industry, nor is it an expose on the horrors of porn. It's the partial story of a talented man, who chased a dream and hasn't looked back since. It's a story of hope for all those regular guys who aren't the best looking, aren't the fittest, and aren't the type that women traditionally look for in a mate.
My biggest disappointment in the movie was listening to the commentary and hearing that the original rough cut had over 3 hours of footage. Most of it was cut due to financial considerations (some companies were charging $9000 for 7 second long clips) or because "test audiences" didn't seem to want more than 75 minutes (and Director Gill was trying to get awards, rather than tell the story as it should be told). The word is that the Australian version has some of the extra footage restored but if a documentary ever screamed for a director's cut, double disc set, this would be it. I'd love to see the interview with Sam Kinison's brother (the famed comedian was a friend of Ron's), the now deleted comments by Slash (of Guns 'N Roses fame), Ron's appearance on Jerry Springer's show and others. Like most Monday Morning Quarterbacks, I wanted a bigger, better movie with all the bells and whistles but in retrospect, perhaps it's better leaving the audience wanting more. Perhaps that way, we'll see some of the missing material in the future. It just would've been nice to see it added in as more deleted scenes if not as part of the feature itself.
Overall, I have to give credit where it's due and give this a recommendation for what it was, not what it wasn't. Documentaries have a tendency to look at their subject matter too seriously and this does not fall into that trap. Nor does it fall into the sensationalistic approach that mainstream media have taken with the porn world over the years. The uncensored version did have a fair amount of nudity but also didn't take the easy way out and rely on lots of sex either. In all, a fun look at a fun guy who's still at it after 25 years of showing the world that he has what it takes.