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Destricted: ‘Impaled’ by Larry Clark

tn_destrictedWhen I was working on my DEMOLITION MAN review recently I noticed that one of Marco Brambilla’s few directing credits was on DESTRICTED, an anthology of experimental shorts that got some attention in 2006 when it played Cannes Critics Week and was an official selection at Sundance. The official websight describes it as “the first short film collection of its kind, bringing together sex and art in a series of films created by some of the world’s most visual and provocative artists and directors. They reveal the diverse attitudes by which we represent ourselves sexually.” The cover says “WARNING: Contains strong real sex and strobing effects.” (That last part is ’cause Gaspar Noe did one of the shorts.)

Anyway I always heard the Larry Clark part was good, and now that I knew Brambilla did one I could review it and say “from the creators of KEN PARK and DEMOLITION MAN.”

The DVD doesn’t play as a feature, it gives you a menu with the names of the directors, so you have to watch the shorts individually. The problem is Brambilla’s name was not on the list. It turns out this is an ongoing project with different shorts, and the U.S. DVD doesn’t include Brambilla’s short “Sync,” which apparently is 2-minutes worth of individual frames from porn movies. A porn blast that could’ve been used as a super-weapon against the robe-wearing pussies of San Angeles.

So I figured oh well, I’ll just watch the shorts in order, so I clicked on the first one, which was Matthew Barney. The opening text of the DVD says something about how they asked directors to create shorts about their views of sex and pornography. Barney’s answer to that call was to paint a dude’s dick like a caterpillar and open with a 4-minute static closeup of the guy slowly getting a boner.

mp_destrictedMan, I tried, but I had to start fast-forwarding before that first shot was over, then I saw a bunch of camcorder footage of a construction site, then a more professional shot of a naked dude strapped into some type of drill machine. When I got to the closeup of ejaculation (I think the head of the penis was supposed to look like a mushroom) it gave me this really good idea of skipping to Larry Clark’s segment, “Impaled,” and only watching that.

I’ve had a history of enjoying Clark’s movies while also being creeped out by them. He’s so obsessed with the sexuality of his young characters that it seems sketchy. This works out best in BULLY, his teen true crime tale that’s darkly hilarious in its nightmarish portrait of sexually aggressive, drugged out asshole kids. But even in the outlaw drug addict road movie ANOTHER DAY IN PARADISE and the skateboard comedy WASSUP ROCKERS (both movies I liked) he has uncomfortable closeups of young men’s body hair and shit. He’s a weirdo.

“Impaled” is a documentary but it’s sort of the Larry Clark masterwork. As the offscreen interviewer he simultaneously comes off as a sleazeball pornographer and a voice of reason exposing insanity by pointing his camera at it. It’s a 38 minute short that contains hardcore pornography but very effectively deconstructs and deglamourizes porn.

The premise: he interviews a series of young men about sex and pornography. It’s like one of those porn audition things except some of the questions are pointedly about the difference in their generation growing up with easy access to porn through the internet.

Then he has them take their clothes off. Not my favorite part. I think there’s sort of a “taste of your own medicine” aspect of objectifying them. And he discovers that most of them shave their pubes because they saw it in porn.

Then he chooses one of them to interview a series of working porn actresses and pick one to film a scene with.

This is classic Clarkian discomfort. Some of these are ugly looking troll dudes and they get excited talking about their sexual histories and porn habits. One dude brags that his car has six TV screens in it and he likes to put porn on all of them and drive around with the windows down. Some of them are more shy than that. One was a machine gunner in Iraq, and now is in a small room taking his pants off for the director of KIDS. Making matters worse, this entire film takes place on a couch in front of a cartoon picture of animals on a submarine that looks like it belongs in a preschool. I really wonder if that was just in the room they had access to or if they intentionally put it there to make us squirm.

Almost all of the dudes really want to try anal sex. With a girl. They talk about it as the forbidden fruit or they want to be dominant or whatever. It’s their main sexual goal.

Clark chooses kind of a sensitive pretty boy with hair that I believe would be called “emo.” He talks like Casey Affleck and looks like he must be in some stupid band that young people like that I don’t get. He stays on the couch while a series of women come in and sit next to him to be interviewed. He tries to act casual even though they all take their clothes off for him.

This is the, uh, meat of the film because these actresses talk about their jobs and their lives and try to laugh off or deny the tragedy of it all. And you watch this kid’s face as he tries to stay excited for fucking one of them. One of them looks pretty young but mentions that she started because she needed the money for her two kids, then later mentions that she doesn’t have the kids anymore. Another doesn’t think it’s relevant that she lost her virginity at 12. One laughs uncomfortably when she admits she’s reached “the big 4-oh,” but luckily he’s into older women. At first it’s kind of cute how much she seems excited for the gig, but it quickly gets creepy.

I like when Clark zooms in for a long close-up of the razor blade one girl wears on her necklace. A silent way of saying, “Hmmmmm…”

And there is this whole anal sex thing to deal with. He has to ask each one of them if they do it, because it’ll be important in his decision. One of them says she doesn’t do it in movies because she has to keep something sacred for the husband. The older lady hesitates and says she has to see how big his dick is first because “I have an injury.” Apparently she was doing an anal scene on a bar  stool and fell off. She laughs and describes this as “a funny story.”

Well – MAJOR PORN SPOILERS FOR REST OF REVIEW – she decides that with enough lube it’s worth a try, and he picks her. There’s a shot of him before the scene longingly looking at her photo paper-clipped to her application.

Obviously Clark doesn’t shy away from showing the hardcore sex, and it’s not that different from a low budget porn video except that he leaves in moments of personal awkwardness between the actors and professional tricks that interfere with the fantasy. The kid’s all worked up to stick it in her butt but has to wait for her to inject lube in there with a syringe. The horrifying highlight is when they’re doing the anal scene and she stops him, makes an exaggerated “whoopsie daisy” embarrassed face, and has to be handed a towel to clean up. Thank the Lord they don’t show anything graphic, but apparently she accidentally shat on him. It could’ve been worse though, I thought it was gonna be related to her injury.

At the end the kid claims to be happy. He says he enjoyed it, but admits he almost threw up because of the shit on his dick.

This is a truly thought-provoking short. I like that it’s coming from one of cinema’s biggest perverts, so you know it’s not just some anti-sex prude trying to punish you for his hangups. I kinda doubt he’s anti-porn, and I gotta confess that watching this didn’t get me off the stuff for too long. But it definitely shows how young people’s attitudes toward sex can be totally warped when they have easy access to porn and not to, you know, brains.

Okay, I’m not expecting any of you to run out and see this, but it’s a worthy achievement that adds some credibility to Clark’s style of arthouse perviness.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

This entry was posted on Sunday, June 3rd, 2012 at 10:14 pm and is filed under Documentary, I don't know, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

48 Responses to “Destricted: ‘Impaled’ by Larry Clark”

  1. Not sure The Beatles would approve of the use of that screengrab picture.

  2. Vern, your description of fast forwarding through the boner short made me laugh. A four minute real time boner sounds daring in concept but yeah that would be boring as fuck to watch.

    What was Gaspar Noe’s?

  3. Noe’s short was about a weird-looking dude having sex with a blow-up doll. It’s the second-most interesting short after Clark’s, which should tell you something about the rest of them.

  4. Yes. Clark’s was the most riveting of the bunch. There was something incredibly disturbing by all of it. The climax, so to speak, was the oopsie-daisy moment. If there’s anything that completely deglamorizes porn, this is it.

    The rest I had to fastforward through because of the stereotypical navel-gazing “art” that they seem to be aiming for. Maya Deren, they are not.

  5. you know what really creeps me out is to think of really young people watching hardcore pornography, no 13 year old has any business watching hardcore porn and yet I’m sure it goes on often

    and what the fuck is the appeal of anal sex anyway? why would you want to stick it up a woman’s ass when her vagina is right there next to it?

  6. Jose Hernandez

    June 4th, 2012 at 3:34 am

    I had anal sex once Griff, its tighter.

  7. one guy from andromeda

    June 4th, 2012 at 4:23 am

    anal sex can be a beautiful thing between a mommy and a daddy griff, now keep an open mind and eat your vegetables.

    when i read the review i remembered that i had actually seen this, and yes the one from larry clark is the only one that stayed in my mind. i remember it being kind of sweet towards its subjects, which were, lets face it, complete idiots.
    there was another one i vaguely remember – disjointed shots of hardcore sex with lots of static? maybe i just dreamt it. pretty forgettable exercise that whole thing…

  8. I’d not rather not risk my dick getting covered in shit, thank you

  9. holy shit, i’ve actually seen this. couldn’t remember the name for the life of me.
    genuinely unsettling.

  10. “and what the fuck is the appeal of anal sex anyway? why would you want to stick it up a woman’s ass when her vagina is right there next to it?”

    This damn near made me choke on my coffee. I love how you phrase this as a question of convenience, Griff. I don’t want to condemn anyone’s predilections, but this always struck me as odd. I remember first hearing about heterosexual anal sex in high school and being really confused. But, to each his or her own. I’ve never seen any of Clark’s movies, even though I remember Kids having a bit of a cult following among my peers in middle school and high school.

  11. Griff – The human body is pretty disgusting even if you’re not having anal sex with it. Might as well be down.

    Vern, I 100% support your decision to narrow your Destricted focus to the Clark segment. I went in also fully intending to watch all them shits and Impaled was the only one I could make it through.

    There were a few cute things in the one about Balkan (i think?) sexual mythology though. They note that in order to make men fertile (or something), peasant women would put a vagina in their fish (i mean, the other way around! I kinda don’t want to edit that because I genuinely just typed that accidentally) overnight, and the fish would become imbued with vagina power, and then they put it in their husband’s coffee the next day. And he gets super-vagina-fish-dick as a result.

  12. “Hast du Scheisse am Docht, hast du falsch gelocht.” as we say in Germany. Feel free to translate it by yourself.

  13. renfield, I would like to see the man who drinks a cup of coffee that tastes of fish and vaginal juices!

  14. I bet this review would make a good double feature with the Zoo review.

  15. The problem with Clark’s short is it is also creating and engaging in its’ own fantasy. Clark chose the location and certainly chose the painting in the background. He pre-interviewed everyone in the cast, both porn actresses and volunteer boys and chose his subjects according to the perspective he was trying to display.

    So while it might seem shocking to see that all these boys shaved their pubes, or whatever, you have to consider that either A: Clark asked this during the pre-interview, or B: the boys shaved because they knew they were going to be *in* a porno. I’m betting it’s the latter. And that doesn’t seem to be entirely bizarre. I bet they also did some pushups and situps too, but no one here would cast a sideways look at that.

    Also, you’re getting a cross-section of guys who would be willing to do this film. That’s just not representative of the general populace in any way.

    And as for the women, he picked girls with sad stories. The one with the razor blade necklace might have worn that to the pre-interview and been told to come back wearing it. Yes, it’s a disturbing and very effective visual storytelling, but that doesn’t mean that it’s an accurate portrait of the adult film industry, or even of that particular actress.

    And then there’s the whole anal sex thing. It’s clearly placed. Not just on the level of preoccupation amongst the volunteers, but also in its’ depiction in the film. In adult films they use enemas. You’re having pretty vigorous sex for extended periods of time, you wanna clean out your system. And any actress preparing for that type of scene would watch what she was eating, frankly. If you’ll forgive the pun, something smells about the whole scenario.

    That said, the short is really interesting and the meat it is about the volunteer being forced to come face to face with the realities of his fantasies. And that part works very well, in spite of the obvious manipulation.

    We don’t do anyone any good by scandalizing sex work. I feel that ultimately, works like this are apiece to the larger social issues that attract women who should not be in porn to the industry. There are many women, even women doing incredibly hardcore scenes, who are sex positive role models and adept businesswomen. For example, Tristan Toramino’s series of advice columns, books and hardcore adult films offer a very different view of kink sex, one runs diametrically opposed to the world seen in this film.

    Yeah, there are a lot of fucked up women working in porn who were sexually abused as children, but there are also a lot of fucked up women working in dentistry who were sexually abused as children. But we don’t put special focus on dentists even though they have a higher suicide rate than almost any other profession in America.

  16. Jose Hernandez

    June 4th, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    Griff you have to wear a condom for anal.

  17. Griff, you should wear a condom for STD/Pregnancy reasons.

  18. A few weeks ago I was bored, so I put a condom over my foot.

  19. CJ- So if I infuriate you, it would be safe if you put your foot up my ass?

  20. Mattman Begins

    June 4th, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    (applauds timing of comments)

  21. This was pretty good but there was absolutely no chance Larry Clark was going to choose any of those other guys. He definitely has a type.

  22. Griff: behold

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwJ1FZ1ETUE

    (relax, nothing graphic, just dialog and facial expressions)

  23. It’s a shame Brambilla didn’t work on Clark’s segment, they could’ve called it ASS DEMOLITION MAN.

  24. Do you mean the one with John Spartass and Simon Phenis?

  25. Starring Sandra Bullcock?

  26. Yeah, real mature, guys. We’re trying to have a serious conversation about hardcore asspounding over here.

    In other news, I have decided that my porn star name should be Aaron Cockabitch.

  27. My birthname is shared by a male porn actor. But I show up first on google, cuz I got it like that.

  28. My government name is shared by a French scientist whose work is dominated by an assertion that global warming is a myth.

    He’s got me beat on Google…for now.

  29. The porn name generator tells me my name is Chuck Quickie. What the f…?!

  30. Using the standard Pet Name/Street you grew up on method my porn name would be Lazy Martin Luther King Jr…

    A girl I dated in high school did a Bang Bus and a couple videos. She’s an attorney now and didn’t really do it for the money so much as she’s kind of freaky and thought it would be a good idea. The first couple were fun apparently but as shocking as it is it turns out the Bang Brothers are actually kind of sleazy people. She still calls me in tears every six months or so to talk about it because I’m apparently one of the few people that knows and didn’t judge her for it.

    I still watch porn. Things are complicated sometimes.

  31. Using old school rules, my porn name is Mick Washington. It sounds like a blaxploitation name, so I used it when I briefly became the associate editor of an African-American-themed nudie mag called “Hot Chocolate.”

    For another book, I went by Todd Gargle. I’m not proud of that one.

  32. Tiger Castroper would be mine. Sounds lame.

  33. My porn alias happens to be Lexx Spankalicious according to the name porn star name generator.

  34. “and what the fuck is the appeal of anal sex anyway? why would you want to stick it up a woman’s ass when her vagina is right there next to it?”

    This sent me in a fit of laughing that segued into coughing (smoker) that ended with more laughing. I mean, anal sex isn’t the end-all be-all that some people imagine it is, but to have no concept of why somebody would be into that? Hilarious. Like being back in middle school and talking about how girls are ‘yucky’.

    This was an interesting review. I’ve never heard Vern talk about boners and shaved pubes so much. Or at all. Worth every slightly uncomfortable second to get to these brilliant comments though.

  35. Tawdry Hepburn

    June 5th, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    My porn name would probably be … Um, Tawdry Hepburn.

  36. Tommy Reamer. In honor of ECW’s Tommy Dreamer, who used to get mad pussy. Or that’s how the storyline went, anyway.

    I miss Beulah.

  37. anthony – he reams them both because he’s hardcore.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLb7v8A1lVQ

    my porno name, w/o generator help, is…..Todd Polt.

    That’s so generic, so inoffensive, yet so filthy when it rolls off your tongue.

  38. “the Bang Brothers are actually kind of sleazy people”. Shocker!

  39. Jose Hernandez

    June 7th, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    Mine is Buck Naked

  40. Mine is Dusty Matthews.

  41. Knox Harrington

    June 10th, 2012 at 4:20 am

    Mine is Knox Harrington.

  42. Not even Cox Harrington or Knoxxx Harrington?

  43. Knox Harrington

    June 10th, 2012 at 6:44 am

    Nah, I like to keep it classy.

  44. Now that i think about it, Mr. Majesdick has a nice ring to it…

  45. I might go with BJ Hoden then. (Hoden = Testicle in German)

  46. That little tidbit information has forced my brain to spit out the following porn parody title:

    “Hoden Cockfeel in CATCH ‘ER IN THE EYE, based on the book by B.J. Ballingher”

    I apologize.

  47. onlynonpervertleftonearth

    January 4th, 2014 at 6:34 pm

    Im glad the writer called it what it is, (Arthouse perviness).

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