GENRE: Straight Feature
DIRECTORS: Veronica Hart
STARS: Randy Spears, Chloe, Sunset Thomas, Julie Meadows, Evan Stone, Asia Carrera, Barrett Blades, Tyce Bunι, Mike Horner, J.T. Cannon Kelly Steele, Hamilton, Steele, Dick Nasty, A.J., Malitia, Michelle Lay
DATES OF PRODUCTION: 2004
LENGTH: 200 mins with bonus material
With the mainstreaming of porn a practical given in this day and age, it's no surprise to find fuck filmmakers looking to tap into a more conventional market mentality. Sure, when it comes down to it, they are still selling sex: steamy scenes of fucking and sucking that leave nothing, not even the juices, to the imagination of the viewer. So some would argue that dressing up this degradation in the pretty petticoats of the conventional is that old silk purse - sow's ear paradox. No matter how you smarten, stylize or sensationalize them up, adult movies will always be considered smut. There are those who try to turn the genre into something a little more meaningful, but for every Robby D. or Michael Ninn, you've got gonzo goofballs showing sex at its most debauched and debased. If there is any hope for a complete emergence from the underground and acceptance as a legitimate art form, filmmakers have to step up and deliver the gratifying goods. Thankfully, someone has. Veronica Hart's fabulous, inventive remake of the mid-70s sex classic The Opening of Misty Beethoven could actually be the crossover the industry is looking for. Entitled simply Misty Beethoven: The Musical and featuring a fabulous cast of porn performers, this is the closest to a legitimate mainstream movie musical yes, that's right MUSICAL that the industry will ever see. Reminiscent of such cult classics as The Phantom of the Paradise, Hedwig and the Angry Inch and other examples of off-kilter songfests, this bold, brash and, yes, brilliant movie combines comedy, crooning and hardcore copulation into a heady brew that will intoxicate you from first frame to last. It will change your mind on the level of non-XXX talent most of these actors posses and illustrate that a fuck film doesn't have to be wall-to-wall banging to deliver a sexy, erotic experience.
Darren Daly is a filthy rich asshole who thinks his shit doesn't stink. Too bad the rest of his attitude is as ripe as a heaping helping of the Hershey Highway. Sick and tired of the constant head he receives from staff and acquaintances, Darren gets a daring idea: inspired by an old porno movie, The Opening of Misty Beethoven, he will pick up a piece of trash hooker off the street and become the Professor Henry Higgins of humping. He will pay the wanton wench a million dollars for her efforts and, hopefully, with a steady diet of dick and intense lessons in log lunching, his protιgιe will become the sex queen superstar of the world. Traveling to a dive bar with his long-suffering assistant Allison, they run across Misty Beethoven, a duller than dung hooker who has a hard time giving a successful hand-job. Intrigued by her potential - and her ability to sing - Darren invites her into his penis pilot program. Misty accepts. As she learns the ways of the wang, Darren plots his take-over trajectory. He will have Misty seduce and screw...over a famous music producer named Ewan T. Others (for reasons that are totally his own). But when Misty makes it with the depressed dreamer (Ewan has been pining away for another singer who ignores him completely) she makes a fatal fantasy fuck mistake she falls in love. Unable to finish off the romantic fool, Misty defies Darren and decides to pursue success on her own.
Let's start with this upfront warning. There will be no scene breakdown in this review, no act-by-act description, straightforward or clever, to satiate your sex position sensibilities. The reason is as obvious as it is unusual. Misty Beethoven: The Musical is a remarkable porn film and such a sensational spectacle deserves an equally peculiar appraisal. So let's ditch the dirt shall we and discuss why the story of a slag from the skids and her George Bernard Shaw switch into the queen cunt of the universe is such an unforgettable fiesta of fun, flesh and fucking. Veronica Hart has created perhaps the most masterful melding of adult and mainstream cinema ever, a terrific title with many more elements to its credit than just good ass antics. This is a real movie with actual acting, well-scripted storytelling, expert direction and that extra added item that conventional cinema has failed to incorporate into their blockbuster mentality (at least for now, that is) - down and dirty hardcore. And it's a musical! And a damn fine one at that! Mutating the rock and roll raunch of guitar and bass grandstanding with a touch of campy creativity and topped off with a lot of power chord crunch, this XXX hump-a-thon could easily pass for a softcore songfest had the crooners not stopped mid-chorus to suck cock and eat ass. From the opening growl of Darren's "A Little Class" to Misty's magnificent anthem "Fuck the World (or Fuck the One You Love", this is a truly exceptional experiment in adult entertainment.
It can't be stressed enough what a creative triumph this film is. Hart understands how to make hot, high-end hardcore, but who would have thought she had a music video mentality in her book of booty tricks as well. Several times during the run of Misty Beethoven: The Musical you will marvel at how moved you are by the numbers, how they fit perfectly into the narrative, and the overwhelming power the songs add to the porn. When Evan Stone sings (yes, it is his voice...more on this later) a longing lament about a lost love, his perfect cock-rock posing and anguished vocals speak performance volumes. Indeed, all the singing actors here (Randy Spears, Sunset Thomas and Julie Meadows) show a real range, as songsters, that's absolutely amazing. Even a trio of butlers (played by porn mainstays Tyce Bunι, Mike Horner and J.T. Cannon) performs a crazy carnal call and response about getting a blowjob (called, cleverly enough, "Three Rods") and these usually pop shooting stars deliver the goods with real bravado. About the only downside to the use of musical numbers in Misty Beethoven: The Musical is that you'll immediately want to hear more and more. Maxwell Hart's music and lyrics, combined with Romeo Lovell's stellar arrangements makes Ms. Beethoven's story a rude rock and roll classic.
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As much as Sunset Thomas is the turn-on focus of this film, the movie is really a tour-de-force for longtime favorite Randy Spears. Given scads of dialogue and an actual character to play, Spears turns Darren into a wisecracking, completely pathetic asshole. You can see him relish every revolting line while spitting venom when his macho bullshit feelings are hurt. This sharp, sure performance shows that Spears could easily have a future in B movie action films, playing the particularly nasty villain or miscreant mischief maker. Chloe also adds another notch to her performance belt by making her Girl Friday Allison a truly tested and talented woman. Brash, ballsy and more than capable of holding her own with her ill-mannered boss, their incredibly clever banter never rings of porn writing. Indeed, Maxwell Hart delivers a solid script that matches the marvelous music he's made. Scenes make sense and are always coherent to the plot. The sex is integrated perfectly and never sticks out obtrusively. Even minor moments (Asia Carrera and Barrett Blade's fuckfest) are easily incorporated into the narrative. For all of its hardcore elements, Misty Beethoven: The Musical actually feels like a straight film that's including XXX action as a novelty, not the other way around.
As for our leading lady, Sunset Thomas presents a couple of very minor problems. She is far from the best performer here, thespian wise. When she gets into a sex scene, she is brazen banner headlines (her mid-flight lesbian love-in with Darren's private pilot, played by Michelle Lay, will gird your groin appropriately). But trying to convince us of her conviction over her talent, or falling in love with Evan Stone, she's a little shaky. Also, for a supposed glam gal in the making, Sunset is never really given a chance to totally style and show off her beauty. The DVD cover has a shot that shows what can be done with this woman's facial features. But the film never moves beyond a basic, bland look. Even at the end, when she's triumphant and taking the stage, the make-up artists hamper her appearance with a strange 70s throwback (obviously another in a series of homages to the original film) complete with a Farrah Fawcett hairdo and a slathering of ice blue eye shadow. In reality, it must be part of director Hart's desire to keep the symbols in this story simple. Though there is a tendency to go for over the top theatrics, Hart also knows how to corral those concepts in, making small moments as important as the production numbers. Combined with the very fine acting, the pitch perfect script and more than memorable music (thank GOD the DVD package comes with a soundtrack CD the Dirge has worn this sucker out over the writing of this review) Misty Beethoven: The Musical is a real rarity in the realm of the raunchy.
And, yes smut lovers, there is steamy fuck footage scads and scads of it - to fill your fantasies and jerk your Johnson. Hart's effortless amalgamation means that scenes never come completely out of the blue, announcing themselves or overstaying their welcome. The movie begins with Spears getting head from Chloe and the carnal concepts continue from there. "The Penis Tango" number, featuring Spears pecker pounding out a tune (yes, his cock actually sings in a brilliant special effect) has lots of hardcore action in the backdrop. A trip to the dive bar has a three-way act onstage (featuring fiery redhead Kelly Steele, husband Hamilton and guest "cock" Dick Nasty) and a couple of fucking employees (A.J. and Malitia) guarding the door. Allison Meadows interrupts her show stopping stage number "Two Holes" to take on Chris Cannon and Trevor Zen and let's not forget Sunset's mile high Sappho experience, one of the most intense same sex scenes ever filmed. Between Evan and Sunset's incredibly steamy studio sequence (Hart using video monitors to offer differing angles of the action in the background) Asia and Barrett's balling, and Spears' and Chloe's final frolic (which, oddly, is very touching), Misty Beethoven: The Musical doesn't forget the dick and dumper. Indeed, what Hart wants to show is that even the filthiest action can fit into a very conventional setting.
And this is why Misty Beethoven: The Musical is one of the best adult films of the modern video era. It utilizes invention and imagination to take a standard stock story (many call this a porn Pygmalion or the My Lewd Lady of musical comedy) and turn it into something imminently watchable, flawlessly executed, hysterically funny and full of both cinematic and sin-skin satisfaction. Pushing the boundaries of pornography while simultaneously stretching the limits of its cast and crew, this movie is a new classic; a fresh, fantastic experience in sophistication and song styling...with a little sizzling, sensual sex on the side. It will reshape your opinion of adult stars as single-specialty stiffs (I think some independent label looking to make a name for itself should sign up these exceptional musicians pronto) and answer, once and for all, the protest that pornography has completely sold out. Misty Beethoven: The Musical may not be on the cruel cutting edge of gonzo or in the micromanaged fashion of fetish, but it is, without a doubt, one of the greatest, most gloriously entertaining sex films of all time.
Veronica Hart is known for her attention to video detail and the image for Misty Beethoven: The Musical is just beautiful. There is atmosphere and color, moodiness and magic in a pristine 1.33:1 direct to digital video transfer. Even with all the flashing lights and intense shifts in lighting, this movie looks magnificent.
Equally unbelievable is the aural presentation. From true depth of field and spacial ambiance to the fantastic stereo soundtrack, the Dolby Digital Stereo 2.0 shines, making sure all elements are easily understood. From crystal clear dialogue to rousing rock numbers, this is an amazing sonic ride.
Sit back and relax because this is gonna take some time. Like Randy Spears inside Miss Kitty's ass, VCA stuffs this 3 disc DVD presentation full to bursting with enough extra content to match a single manufactures entire bonus bonanza for a year. Easily outshining any other added content concept out there, Misty Beethoven: The Musical has it all with one minor exception that we'll discuss in a moment. First, the facts:
DISC 1 True Multiple Angles every sex scene in the movie...EVERY sex scene, allows you the option of controlling the viewpoint to the action. While it can be a little awkward at times, it's a fun option. Wall-To-Wall Mode Watch all the hardcore action from an easily accessible menu, breaking the balling down on an act-by-act basis. Sex On Demand cut right to your favorite XXX action with this option. Interactive Star Bios in this unique offering, we learn about performers Sunset Thomas, Chloe, Julie Meadows and Asia Carrera. Each biography is narrated and features footage of sex scenes from the film. Director's Commentary along with star Sunset Thomas and writer/composer Maxwell Hart, Veronica lets us in on the lively behind the scenes stories during the making of Misty Beethoven: The Musical. Max adds his two cents about creating a modern musical and Sunset just loves every minute of the movie (it's the first time she's seen the whole thing). While there is a tendency to be a little too self-congratulatory, you can still hear the genuine pride they have in this exceptional motion picture.
DISC 2 Behind the Scenes a fascinating look at all aspects of the making of this movie, from the creation of the script and songs to actual onset sequences of Hart directing the actors in their singing, and sinning, ways. Photo Gallery dozens of sizzling shots from the shoot. Movie Previews a chance to see eight previews for other VCA titles like Truck Stop Trixie, Catsnatch, The Sopornos 5, Latex, Taken, Being with Juli Ashton, Barbara Broadcast 2, and Still Insatiable. Director's Notebook Veronica takes a moment to discuss the personal pitfalls and creative crunch she placed herself under when remaking this classic porn movie. Interviews several of the cast members are caught onset and discuss their feelings. This, in combination with an option called "Deep Inside Misty" (which is a 10 minute interview with writer/composer Maxwell Hart) gives us great insight into the fun that was had during the production. Bloopers Yes, sex stars mess up too. Witness the whimsy as performers blow lines, stumble over props and basically make asses of themselves. "Misty Beethoven Then and Now" Featurette kind of a compare and contrast between the original movie and this musical update. Differences are highlighted with similarities acknowledged. We even get to see some footage from the heralded classic. Extended Misty Beethoven Vignette Veronica Hart treats us to a look at her film, Misty Beethoven and focuses on a few of the items that make the movie different from her other work. Bonus Music Video the "Penis Tango" is converted into a music video/trailer for the film, as the song and dance is meshed with snippets of sex from the film. Original Misty Beethoven Box Cover Art just what it says: a collection of VHS covers for the various Misty releases. Bonus Scenes as if all this information was not enough, we are treated to four additional fuck sequences:
Bonus Scene 1 from: Being with Juli Ashton in a two men vs. one woman scene, a hot tub is the setting for some steamy action. We get oral, vaginal doggy, vaginal scissors with showerhead action and double penetration. And when the money shot comes, it's a full-blown facial. A nice, nuanced scene. Score: 8/10
Bonus Scene 2 from: Torn in a strange military/dominatrix atmosphere, one gal (Ginger Lynn for all you fans) takes on three guys in and around a rope wall. There is oral with jousting, female oral, rough anal and vaginal finger play, vaginal doggy, double penetration and multiple money shots that cover her entire body. Since Ginger Lynn is an expert at what she does, this means the scene is very hot and the hardcore very satisfying. Score 8/10
Bonus Scene 3 from: Edge Play fantasizing while sitting in a parking garage, porn legend Marilyn Chambers takes on two young studs in an aggressive scene. There is tit sucking, oral, finger play, vaginal doggy, straight vaginal and money shot on the chest. Not as exciting as one would hope, considering Chamber's status as a star. Score: 5/10
Bonus Scene 4 from: Sinfullrella a costumed piece, our three actors (two gals and a guy) get it on fairytale style in this raunchy, if slightly ridiculous, sequence. We witness oral, vaginal pile driver, reverse cowgirl, vaginal doggy, and anal pile driver with the money shot ending up on the two ladies lips. A nice scene made kind of silly by all the powdered wig weirdness. Score: 7/10
CD Music Soundtrack
OK, so what's missing here, you may ask. Well, the answer is simple...the recording of the music. Someone should have had the foresight to get a camcorder over to the studio to capture Spears, Thomas and Stone in song stylist mode. It would have been mesmerizing to watch these people who we usually associate with huge cock, tight pussy and sagging nuts standing behind a microphone crooning their heart out. Had this element been added to the DVD bonuses, it would warrant an instant 5 out of 5. As it stands, the quintuple score will still stand on sheer volume alone, but the lack of insight into the creation of the soundtrack makes this well-packed presentation a little lacking.
It's hard to imagine, but Misty Beethoven: The Musical may be the first porn film you want to watch over and over again for more than its booty bumping embellishments. With a sensational soundtrack that you'll be humming the minute the movie ends to a clear comic tone coming completely from well-crafted characters, this is the closest that adult material can come to being a full out cinematic masterpiece. On the Disco Dirge Peter Meter, the film is perfect, rating a 10 out of 10 and easily winning a Cohabitation Certification for couples. Partners watching this magnificent movie together will have a pleasing mental, as well as physical, experience. From the soundtrack CD to the wealth of behind the scenes material, Misty Beethoven: The Musical is also one of the best DVD packages of all time, a true hardcore connoisseur's collector's item. In the opening number of the film, Randy Spears as Darren Daly sings, "sex is good/sex is what I crave/ but why do we all have to be so motherfucking depraved" and this sums up the sentiments of Misty Beethoven: The Musical perfectly. Sex can be down and dirty fun, but that shouldn't be the only thing it's about. Veronica Hart's wonderful film shows that you don't have to have your mindset mired in the miscreant to make an erotic epic. Porn can expand its limits successfully and sexily. This title deserves to be called one of the DVD Talk Collector Series in the arena of creative carnality. Fans of fantastic fuck films, and excellent edgy musical, should definitely check it out.