X-Rated: The Greatest Adult Movies of All Time is a pamphlet's look at some of the most profoundly important and affecting pornographic films ever made, devoting enough information to classics like Deep Throat, The Devil in Miss Jones, and The Opening of Misty Beethoven that would barely fill the films' "trivia" sections on a Wikipedia page. Hosted by porn star Chanel Preston, X-Rated chronicles a plethora of adult films from the 1970's to the 2010's, showing industry innovations, a barrage of elements shown in older pornographic films versus newer ones, an examination of the different actors and actresses involved, and stating their impact in the way of how many Adult Video Awards (AVNs) they garnered.
The film discusses the importance of the aforementioned classics, but doesn't hesitate to get more current with its analysis, looking at films like Jenna Jameson's Masseuse from the 1990's and even Pirates from the 2000's, one of the most expensive and famous pornographic films ever released. X-Rated doesn't confine itself to the significance of porn chic nor the respective Golden Age, but branches out and shows how the different decades changed. Contemporary porn stars like Riley Reid, Casey Calvert, and Capri Cavanni discuss their favorite porn films, stating elements from older films that stood out to them and made them personally significant rather than simply culturally significant.
Some of the most amusing stuff within the film comes from the actors of the classic films. Shannon Mitchell of Barbara Broadcast fame talks about how she was called on set one day from the film's director Radley Metzger who implored her to come down to the shoot immediately. All Shannon could hear in the background while on the phone was the sound of a flushing toilet. When she arrived, she saw that a sex scene that involved a female's head in the toilet resulted in her necklace getting caught in the toilet and the only way for her to be able to get any kind of air was to flush the toilet. When the toilet was flushed and momentary air was received, the woman looked at Mitchell and ask, "want to join?"
Preston occasionally interrupts the look at the films to talk about how the different decades effected porn, with the end of the 1970's bringing in more zoning laws for adult theaters and actors, actresses, and directors routinely being arrested on obscenity charges and arrests. This allowed for the home video circuit to emerge, where VHS tapes, albeit expensive ones, were sold boasting pornographic content at various adult video stores. Christy Canyon states that the films consisted of the same basic sex acts (fellatio, cunnilingus, and missionary), though it didn't matter because people were so excited to watch porn in their home that anything would satisfy them. The home video market allowed for directors like Ren Savant and Paul Thomas to rise from the ashes of adult theaters in order to churn out their own breed of pornography.
X-Rated: The Greatest Adult Movies of All Time is a momentarily entertaining, back-slapping affair for the adult industry, as many within the industry (no social critics or pornographic critiques/proponents) voice their opinions on their own work and what impact it had on audiences. It chronicles these films and their significance with the shallowness none of these films deserve, and limiting analysis of these films to those who worked on is a huge mistake, as few documentaries on porn have gotten away with not offering critical or social analysis from outside activists or social critics. The documentary is marginally entertaining, yet disappointing because all of these films prove to have some sort of significant statement, yet that significant statement cannot be echoed due to the limited number of people speaking on the specific film.
Directed by: Bryn Pryor.