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Linda Lovelace For President
(1975)

Director: Claudio Guzman
Cast:
Linda Lovelace, Fuddle Bagley, Val Bisoglio


While it is normally my policy to try and review all kinds of movies, since that is the way one can reach a wide audience, there are a few kinds of movies I have little to no interest in reviewing for this web site. One such kind of film I am reluctant to look at is pornography. Yes, a long time ago I reviewed Let My Puppets Come, but that was because all the sex in the movie was done by puppets and not humans. And I let a guest reviewer cover Once Upon A Girl, because all the sex in that movie was in animated form. And that's it for my web site when it comes to what might be considered pornographic. The reason for that is that the limited amount of pornographic films I have seen during my life have left me cold. They were mechanical, joyless, and cold in tone. If anything, they were antierotic. Every so often I hear about a new pornographic film that supposedly raises itself out of the pack enough to be supposedly good. One such porno film I have heard about is Star Wars XXX: A Porn Parody. I have heard some really good things about this porno, from its production values to reportedly having humor that is actually funny. But I've heard some other things about it that make me a little queasy and reluctant to watch it. For example, I have heard that early on in the movie, when Darth Vader captures Princess Leia, Vader uses The Force on Leia to try and find out where the Death Star plans are... and to also make her give oral pleasure to his "lightsaber", if you know what I mean. If that isn't bad enough, I also learned that late in the movie, when the Death Star has been destroyed, Princess Leia decides to reward Han Solo and Luke Skywalker by giving them a threesome with her. She reportedly tells a nervous Luke something like, "We're both orphans, so it's not like we're related or anything."

Another reason why I have little to no interest in pornography for this web site or in my private life is that I have heard plenty of sad stories about various adult film actors and actresses. Even those who are survivors and had happy lives after leaving the industry still seem to have some scars. For example, there is the case of Marilyn Chambers, star of famous porno films like Behind The Green Door. I once saw a segment on a tabloid TV show covering her, where she revealed that though she did not regret making pornographic films, if she could do it all over again she would not do so. Then there is Harry Reems, who appeared in adult films like Devil In Miss Jones. Though he eventually became a successful real estate broker after leaving the adult film industry, for a time he was homeless and a severe alcoholic, which almost killed him. But the adult film star I really want to discuss is Linda Lovelace. Even if you haven't seen it (like myself), you probably know the title of the pornographic film that made her famous - Deep Throat. It wasn't the first (or reportedly best) of its kind, but it became an overnight success, no doubt in part because of the publicity generated with attempts by the government to ban it. And it made Lovelace, at least for a little while, a major celebrity. She did interviews with major media where she implied she loved what she did. But years later, Lovelace would claim that it was all a lie, that she was actually forced by her abusive husband to participate in the film. She even wrote a book about her life (Ordeal), which I read as a teenager and proved to be a big eye opener.

After her death in 2002, a number of people connected with the adult film industry were interviewed and stated that they never saw any evidence that Lovelace was abused or forced to participate in pornography. Which side to believe? Well, I kind of think that both sides may be right. Lovelace probably got some kind of abuse from her husband, but there's evidence that Lovelace Linda Lovelace For Presidentliked the fame and publicity she got with being connected with pornography, such as the case of Linda Lovelace For President. It was made after she divorced her abusive first husband, when he no longer had control over her. It was also apparently an attempt to reboot her fame and career. After Deep Throat, Lovelace's fame and career slowly dwindled, and Deep Throat Part 2 (which was rated "R") was a big flop. While Linda Lovelace For President was profitable, its gross did not meet the expectations of its producers or Lovelace herself, possibly in part because while it was rated "X", there was no hard core sex in the movie. It turned out to be Lovelace's final movie, and was essentially forgotten about almost as soon as it left theaters, and even a DVD release in 2008 did little to increase public knowledge of the movie. But that meant it was an unknown movie, and I decided to give it a look. In the movie, it is getting close to election time in the United States, and the American public is unhappy with what candidates are being offered to them. Memories of Watergate are still high, but even the Democratic candidates aren't looking good. A group of dissatisfied voters gather together to try and come up with a third choice for voters to choose from for President. As you have probably guessed, the person they choose is adult film star Linda Lovelace. When Lovelace is offered the nomination, she accepts, and a new political party ("The Upright Party") is formed to support her. Lovelace travels all over the country to campaign for President, and in short notice starts to win over the public - a fact that upsets both Republicans and Democrats. Eventually, the top political brass decides Lovelace needs to be stopped permanently, and they hire an assassin to rub her out.

Even though I did not go into too much detail about the plot of Linda Lovelace For President, I have a feeling that you have probably concluded that the movie is a comedy. And you would be right. This comic route the filmmakers took was probably the best one that they could have taken, despite the fact that there have certainly been cases in American politics of grossly unqualified people running for public office, especially in recent years. Naturally, given Linda Lovelace's background, a lot of the humor is sex-based. When she is at a public gathering, she states, "Thank you for coming... oh boy, I'm really blowing it!" During her campaign, her party uses the slogan, "A vote for Linda is a blow for democracy." When Linda hits the trail and travels across the country, a map shows her route going the shape of a penis. To win over the public, Linda has sex with various citizens. An unattractive woman working on the campaign who gets raped is told by her rapist, "I'm doing you a favor!" But there are other kinds of humor in the movie as well. Some Polish-Americans, who want a Polish president for all "46" states have "Polund" written on their shirts. A preacher baptizing a woman in a lake loses her in the water after dunking her below the surface. During Halloween, when a man dressed as Hitler knocks on a door, the man who opens the door calls to his wife, "Your mother's here!" At one point, the footage is speeded up so the actors are running around wildly in a Keystone Kops style. A hillbilly says that a pig is his wife. When Linda is filming a commercial in the countryside, she is interrupted during a take when a man walks in the frame and starts to urinate. There are one-liners such as, "I hate Harry Belafonte - he's too Italian." And there are cameo appearances by various famous faces, including Scatman Crothers (The Shining), Mickey Dolenz (The Monkees), Joe E. Ross (Car 54, Where Are You?), and Chuck McCann (The Rosebud Beach Hotel).

As you could see from the above paragraph, Linda Lovelace For President certainly has a variety of gags. The gags also come at a really rapid pace - it seems there is a new attempt at humor every few seconds or so. But there is the question as to whether the humor in this movie is actually funny. Well, with that sample of gags I produced, you probably got that answer already. But if not, I will simply say: No, the humor in the movie isn't all that funny. Oh, there were a few gags (mostly quick one-liners) that did make me smile a little, but the vast majority of the time the gags are pretty feeble, often very familiar to humor you've seen in many other (lame) comedies. Matters are made worse by the fact that director Claudio Guzman often doesn't seem able to stage gags in ways that might milk a few remaining drops of humor that might be left in the withered gags. He certainly does put a lot of energy into the movie - as I said, the movie is fast-paced, and the actors often put in great efforts in their performances. But none of this great energy is actually humorous. But Guzman doesn't just - ahem - blow it with the humor part of the movie. He also stumbles with the other selling point of the movie, sex and nudity. The first nude scene (which is in the first few seconds of the movie) was so hideous it had me exclaim out loud, "ICK!" While it's not downhill from that point on, the rest of the sexy stuff the movie has to offer really isn't all that much sexier. Some of this stuff is filmed in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it fashion, or photographed at awkward angles. The naked bodies of the participants in these scenes also aren't terribly attractive for the most part. Guzman seems to think that he's being erotic with some of these scenes, but I was never moved. In fact, I thought the sex and nudity scenes were mostly antierotic instead.

As you have probably guessed, it's the film's star, Linda Lovelace, who gets much of the movie's so-called erotic moments. As I was watching her, I kept wondering one thing: Why did she (at least briefly) become a big star? While she may have shown a certain "talent" in Deep Throat, you would think she would have more than just that to captivate the public. From this film, I didn't think she was particularly attractive, clothed or unclothed. And her acting left a lot to be desired. While her performance was not one of the worst I have seen in a movie, it's clear by her attitude that she would rather not be in this movie. Her smiles seemed forced, in other scenes she seems bewildered and distracted, and when her character is supposed to show great enthusiasm, her excitement at best seems mild. As the movie progressed, I eventually came up with a theory as to why Lovelace wasn't very motivated. Believe it or not, while the movie revolves around her, she is in less of the movie that you might think. The movie seems to be more interested in the supporting characters and generating throwaway gags rather than her, for some reason. And when she does make an appearance, she isn't given all that much to do. Believe it or not, not once does Lovelace in the movie declare what she will do for the country and the American people should she be elected President. How can we be interested in a Presidential candidate when we don't know not only what they want to do, but anything about their personality as well? She is extremely one-note. As it turns out, Lovelace in her autobiography didn't think much of the finished product as well. I forget her exact words, but I believe she said something to the effect that the movie was silly and forgettable. If you ask me, she gave the movie far too much credit.

(Posted March 15, 2016)

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See also: Beer, Let My Puppets Come, Once Upon A Girl

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