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Docurama presents
Porn Star: The Legend of Ron Jeremy (2001)

"If there were sexual Olympics, he would have the gold medal."
- Al Goldstein

Review By: Rich Rosell  
Published: March 23, 2003

Stars: Ron Jeremy
Other Stars: Al Goldstein, Larry Flynt, Jenna Jameson, Tabitha Stevens, Al Lewis, Seymore Butts, Sharon Mitchell, William Margold, Alisha Klass, Sasha Gabor, Lexington Steele, Matt Zane, Jim Holliday, Shanna McCullough, Samantha Stylles, Anita Cannibal
Director: Scott J. Gill

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (full frontal nudity, language, sexuality)
Run Time: 01h:16m:21s
Release Date: March 25, 2003
UPC: 067685953731
Genre: documentary


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A- A-BB B+

DVD Review

"How big is my penis? It's 2 inches... from the floor!" -Ron Jeremy

The odds are that if you are willing to admit to having seen an X-rated adult film or two sometime over the past twenty-five years, it is very likely you've seen Ron Jeremy in action. In an industry where males are generally regarded as anonymous, piston-like props, Jeremy has achieved a unique degree of notoriety by becoming probably the best known, most recognizable male adult film star of all time. He is, as you may have already guessed, the subject of this funny, insightful 2001 documentary from director Scott J. Gill.

In Porn Star: The Legend of Ron Jeremy we get a somewhat comic inside look at how the former Ronnie Hyatt became the guy who was unceremoniously envied by legions of males; Jeremy was the guy in porn who certainly didn't look like a model, but who had on-screen sex with a bevy of beautiful women. Maybe it's volume (he's been in over 1,600 films) or his decidedly non-movie star looks (his nickname is "Hedgehog") or perhaps the simple fact that, as one fan eloquently states in the documentary, "it's because he's got a really big ****."

So who is Ron Jeremy? What's his secret? Those are the basic questions that Gill addresses here, and the answers are sometimes more than a little surprising. One of the things that makes Gill's film enjoyable is that Jeremy's life story is remarkably upbeat. There have been countless bios of porn stars who have met early deaths as result of drugs, abuse, or some hideous combination thereof. As Gill stresses in the accompanying commentary track, Porn Star: The Legend of Ron Jeremy is "not a cautionary tale"; instead, it's about a disciplined, seemingly well-liked guy with a big schlong who secretly yearns to be a mainstream actor. Above all else, Jeremy is revealed as a non-drinking, non-smoking, sarcastically comic actor with a surprisingly strong sense of family. Who knew?

Gill goes with the narration-free approach, and instead allows each segment of the documentary to be driven by interview segments from not only Jeremy, but by an assorted gaggle of adult film industry folks (Al Goldstein, Tabitha Stevens, Lexington Steele), family and friends (including, of all people, Al "Grandpa Munster" Lewis). The film is intercut during these talking head moments with thematically relevant footage from some of Jeremy's goofier vaudeville-ian film moments, so when he is talking about signing a contract, for example, we see a clip of him doing some hammy schtick from an early 1980s porn flick (back in the day when the films had actual plots). Gill treats us to an unusual cross-section of events, from meeting a 21-year-old starlet (and her husband) moments before her anal sex debut with Jeremy, to the monthly HIV tests that prove to be a constant source of understandable anxiety.

I will admit to having seen more than a few adult films that Ron Jeremy has appeared in, because in the 1980s it was all but unavoidable if an X-rated film were to come your way. I never read much about him, but his "normal guy" appearance (aside from decidedly non-normal appendage) was unmistakable. I liked his unabashed openness and candor in this documentary, and was tickled by the reverence in which other porn actors and actresses discuss Jeremy's unique skill sets. The whole thing paints a picture of Jeremy that, as he approaches 50, is both satisfying and somehow sadly ironic. Being a genuine icon in the adult film industry maybe isn't enough, and seems to pale against his real desire to be a legitimate actor. Gill does an admirable job capturing that, and presents his subject with a deliberate dose of honest humor and equally surreal real-life scenarios.

A word of warning to the prudish:
There is a lot of full-frontal nudity and strong sexual language in Porn Star: The Legend of Ron Jeremy, so if you're uptight about that sort of thing then I really wouldn't advise you watch this.

Everyone else: enjoy.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: A-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Rationo
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: Docurama has delivered Porn Star: The Legend of Ron Jeremy in a 1.33:1 full-frame transfer, and the image quality varies, dependent on the source material. As to be expected, some of the older Jeremy film clips don't look very good, and have quite a bit of grain and color bleed. However, the video footage shot specifically for this documentary by Scott J. Gill (interviews, etc.) looks pretty clean, with a palette of generally well-saturated colors. Some visible haloing was apparent, but overall the image transfer is fine.

Image Transfer Grade: B

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: Audio is provided via a solid Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo track, and all dialogue is easily understood and clear. The sound mix isn't flashy, but instead reliably serviceable, with the front channels carrying the predominant chunk of material.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 12 cues and remote access
Cast and Crew Biographies
Cast and Crew Filmographies
5 Other Trailer(s) featuring Fastpitch, Regret To Inform, Bob Dylan: Don't Look Back, Speaking In Strings, Paul Taylor Dancemaker
11 Deleted Scenes
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Ron Jeremy, Scott J. Gill
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Ron Jeremy teams up with director Scott J. Gill for a full-length, scene-specific commentary here, and it is a lightweight, casual affair with a lot of chatter where both guys do their best not talk over each other, though with very little luck in that department. Gill talks a little about how he came into the project and the difficulties in obtaining the appropriate clearances for various film clips, while Jeremy interjects and good-naturedly mock criticizes the end result along the way. Not a lot of depth in the scope of the content, but it's a fun and worthwhile listen.

There are 11 deleted scenes, and considering the relatively short length of the film I'm surprised Gill didn't include at least a couple of the juicier, funnier ones, like the footage of Jeremy at the Nudes A'Poppin show at the Ponderosa Sun Club. During the commentary, Gill mentions the documentary originally clocked in at three hours, and I imagine the scenes included here are just a tip of that edited iceberg. The scenes, and their corresponding lengths are:
Meet The Parents (:41s)
Tree Hugger (:59s)
Ron's Lolita Story (02m:48s)
Dad's Foreshadowing (:48s)
Renaissance Man (02m:18s)
The MC (:38s)
Nudes A' Poppin (03m:34s)
Venice Catches Ron (:42s)
A Bad Hollywood Story (01m:00s)
Charity Fuck (02m:08s)
Ron's Narcolepsy (04m:25s)

The disc is cut into 12 chapters, and also features a handful of Docurama trailers, crew bios, and Jeremy's (ahem) unnaturally long filmography.

Extras Grade: B+

 

Final Comments

He is the most famous male adult film star of all time, and to many he has lived a very envious lifestyle, at least in terms of sexual conquests. But the hairy, rather chubby Ron Jeremy is, according to Scott Gill's documentary, a hard-working, piano-playing comic actor who just happened to find his way into the world of X-rated films, and never left.

Unlike a lot of porn star bios, Gill's film doesn't end tragically, nor is it weighed down with an endless succession of depressing incidents. The tone is light, and Jeremy seems especially jubilant.

Highly recommended.

 


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