Monday, January 16, 2017

'Seed Money: The Legend of Falcon Studios' DVD: A Portrait of the Young Man as a Pornographer



The October 4, 2016 DVD release of the film fest fave doc "Seed Money: The Legend of Falcon Studios" offers further proof of breaking glass pictures expanding its scope to include queer indie cinema. This film joins the good company of the (Unreal TV reviewed) theatrical film "Lazy Eye" and the (also reviewed) DVD release of the drama "People You May Know." "Money" also elicits strong thoughts of the (additionally Unreal TV reviewed) documentary "I'm a Porn Star," which entertainingly and informatively tells the tales of attractive young men who are either gay for pay or obtain a financial benefit from doing what they otherwise would do anyway.

The following YouTube clip of the "Money" trailer terrifically introduces every aspect of the film and provides a little (completely respectable) eye candy for the Falcon fans; not that there is anything wrong with that.


Although the stated center of "Money" is Falcon co-founder Chuck Holmes. the focus of the film is the history of the studio itself and the stable of colts from its early days. These include participators Jeff Stryker and Tom Chase. Famed Falcon director Chi Chi LaRue and godfather of alternative cinema John Waters also offer their two cents.

We do learn how Midwestern boy Holmes comes to head arguably the leading gay porn studio of the '70s and '80s. We also learn how Falcon produictions reflect the predilections of this erotic movie pioneer. The most amusing story relates to Holmes insisting that the "actors" not have dirty feet.

"Money" additionally discusses how Holmes introduces the clean-cut collegiate boy with manicured (or no) body hair to viewers of homosexual erotica. The clips of these boys and the interviews with their modern selves make viewers want to join them on the couch (or in the locker room sauna or shower) for a chat even if it does not lead to anything else.

This aspect of the film screams for a brief diversion into Blogland. Making eye contact with Stryker standing outside a theater promoting his one-man show a few years ago prompted him to call me over to offer a naked photo for $50. Asking him which of us would be naked prompted a seemingly genuine laugh.

More substantial industry-related topics in "Money" include the performers running the risk of prosecution under prostitution laws and other statutes related to engaging in sexually oriented activity for money, and Holmes and the other "suits" running afoul of obscenity laws.

The impact of the early days of AIDS on the studio is a sadder element of the film. This discussion includes the evolution of the Falcon policy regarding condom use; this leads to a distressing montage of obituaries of many of the fresh-faced lads who are seen smiling and having fun a few minutes earlier.

Much of the focus on Holmes himself relates to his long-term relationship with his partner, who is a major contributor to the film, and to the active involvement of Holmes in the gay community. This includes his leadership donation to the building of an LGBT Center. The most newsworthy element of this is the backlash resulting from naming the center after a man involved in a not-so-reputable profession and who arguably is an inadvertent contributor to the spread of AIDS.

The strong appeal of "Money" stems from the aforementioned elements and from the truly fair-and-balanced portrayal of the subject even by those who are most near and dear to him. He neither is a monster preying on desperate underage homeless boys nor is he is proverbial paragon of virtue. He simply is an ordinary man in the enviable position of getting to make millions of dollars in an industry that reflects his personal desires.

The extras include a deleted scene that is an extended interview with one of the out-and-proud Falcon boys. There also are extended interviews with Stryker and his fellow porn stars.

Anyone with any questions or comments regarding "Money" is encouraged to email me; you can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.