The Sheen Bros play the Mitchell Bros to astonishing results
metheb | Seattle, wa United States | 01/23/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Once you get past the allure of pornography, Rated X is the true story of two troubled brothers who strike it rich in every respect (money and women) in the earliest incarnation of the modern day porn world. Loosely based on the intense biography, X Rrated, Rated X is also the directorial debut of Emilio Estevez. Now before you laugh, Estevez has a strong command of his vision and crafts a startiling, dark world where a pair of brothers fall into drugs, sex, and money and slowly unravel into despair and mental illness.Charlie Sheen gives the performance of his career as Artie Mitchell, a drug addled, womanizing, porn producer who is eventually gunned down by his brother Jim (Estevez). 'Rated X' shows the earliest struggles of the porn industry against censorship and obsenity and its triumph into the mainstream with the production of 'Deep Throat' and the Mitchell Brothers' classic 'Behind the Green Door.' Eventually, amid the atmosphere of drugs and organized crime the industry falls from the lofty heights of those seminal porn films into a mockery of jokes and sex.This is an excellent companion piece to PT Anderson's 'Boogie Nights.' Where as 'Boogie' deals more with the personalities that existed in the hey day of porn, 'Rated X' gives us the struggle with authorities over obsenity, the triumph of the porn film with a story and the decline into kitch, cliche, and video.Sheen and Estevez's performances are strong and vivid, especially in the sceens together where it is obvious (based on Sheen's drug problems) that the brother's are pulling from emotions they have felt in their lives to add realism to the lives of Jim and Artie Mitchell."
William R. Nicholas | Mahwah, NJ USA | 08/04/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Jim Mitchell's whole life, he has rescured his baby brother, Artie. Artie misbehaves in school around age 12, and Jim runs to save him from a paddling. He tells the princable dad does not beleive in violence.
Artie needs a lot of help, because dad is a vengeful man. He gives Artie the belt. Days after, dad takes both boys on a collection run, with a shot gun.
Jim had the edge over Artie, and in the late 1960s, he is in UCLA film school, learning to make avant-gaurde films. Artie wonders the country, looking for industrial jobs.
Being tight, big brother invites little brother to join his film crew. Alligned with the times, Jim has big, artsy ambitions. Problem is, no money.
To solve this, the Mitchell brothers decide, over a joint, to make skin filcks to finanace the art films. The art films, of course, never materialize. The porn does, and the boys soon find themselves getting arrested.
This is all great fun. This is the era of Lenny Bruce, key parties. Playboy was showing the stuff downstairs. Bill Kunzler was defending Jim Morrison. Oh! Calcutta and Hair were big hits. Mainstreem hits. Hell, Midnight Cowboy just won best picutre with an X.
Artie has an idea: why not make a nudie art film--something that will make money and suit Jims avant gaurde ambitions. Behind The Green Door was born, and Artie was directing. But Artie does not know his lence from his wine bottle, so Jim has to start from scratch.
Dispite another arrest in trial, Green Door his a smash, and soon, that's millionaire Mitchel to you. Both Mitchels marry their sweathearts and start work on an even bigger project: a porn bible epic.
Trouble is, the 60s joints have become 70s cocaine. Every day. With morning eggs bacon OJ and coffee. With the white powder magic, any idea you have is brillant: opening a pepsi, eating mounds of food, or spending millions on a Cecil B. Damille skinfest.
Sodom and Gamhora bombs. But the brothers still have their mansions, theatre, prodcution company, and drugs. By now, the 70s is turning to the 80s, both guys are too strung out to make films. The 60s art venue becomes the 80s strip joint.
Jim can handle coke, and eventually, quits, with no help. Artie can't, and he gets incresingly viloent. He takes up his father's love for guns, and beats his wife when she shakes hands with her tennis teacher. He also has the bright idea to drag his kids deep into the ocean on a platic raft, and almost kills them. Guess who saves the three.
Artie tries to stop with Jims loving help, but can't. He is GONE! He walks , a beast in a death fog: rants and raves, points his guns at family, frineds, anyone who impeedes his own destruction. Soon, he gets the idea that Jim his a worse addict than he is--Jim still smokes Morlboros. He calls his ex, his mom, and Jim, ranting that Jim must die.
Jim walks into Arties house, shooting and killing Artie.
The Sheen brothers are perfect at capturing the dynamics at work. Artie resents Jim's help and compadence, and Jim can't help but making a life of saving Artie. They are so emeshed, it is any wonder one killed the other?
The period set design is spectacular: 60s and 70s interiors are exactly what I remember houses looking like when I was tiny. There is hot orange in 1968 and cool blue in 1974. There are no larva lamps or stereotypical devices to hammer you that this is the time period. Everything is organic: you are THERE.
Emelio Evestazes directed this. He uses artsey tricks, but keeps them to a minimum, and only uses them when they fit: a shaking camera at the end to convey Artie's coke-induced mental break. They work well. He has a feel for time, people and place, and nails it.
I wonder why Martin did not play dad. Too busy being president?"
Entertaining DVD nicely sums up an era
Joseph P. Menta, Jr. | Philadelphia, PA USA | 07/05/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is another example of a product delivering a pretty good movie but a very good DVD. "Rated X" is watchable and engaging, but ultimately doesn't add anything new to the often-seen story of would-be movie moguls finally making it big but then being brought down by the excesses of the high life (in this case, cocaine). Of course, if that's what really happened to the Mitchell Brothers, I guess viewers can't complain much about seeing it all before. In any event, what puts this DVD over the top are the bonus materials: we get several generous interview segments with the Mitchell Brothers' famous discovery, Marilyn Chambers, who elaborates on the action in the movie (no pun intended), and equally generous interview segments with an assistant district attorney integrally involved with all the legal troubles the Mitchell Brothers had in their 1970's heyday. Between the movie and extras, one gets a comprehensive and satisfyingly entertaining snapshot of the characters in question and the overall mood of the era."
Tall Paul | San Diego, CA United States | 07/09/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Great film by Emilio. For the budget he had it turned out nicely. One of Charlie's greatest performances. It was a tragic overlook for him not to be nominated for an award because of the subject matter. The DVD has a great audio commentary by Emilio and Charlie."