FilmDrunk

Porn Review: ‘Aftermath’ Made Our Sociologist Cry


THE ADULT FILM MINUTE
: Once per month, except for occasionally when it’s twice, Dr. Chauntelle Tibbals will be telling us a little bit about what’s going on in adult entertainment and why it should matter to you.

Brad Armstrong is many things: Canadian, a former Magic Mike-style dancer, a porn star dude (you may recognize certain parts of him more quickly than others), and one of the most well respected directors working in adult entertainment today. He’s also a jerk who made me cry last week when I was watching sex movies (for science!) and preparing a Hot Holiday Gift Guide for all of you – because I finally got around to watching his most recent directorial effort, Wicked Pictures’ Aftermath.

I know a lot of people think you only need tissue when watching porn for one thing (*wink, wink*), but I disagree. Like all other texts, film-type and otherwise, porn is a sort of two-way social mirror, both reflecting what’s going on in wider culture and shaping that very same culture right back. As such, Aftermath is one piece in a much wider cultural conversation. And sometimes, that conversation can make you cry.

Sociologist disclaimer: complete. Spoiler alert: activate.

Released this past fall, at first glance, Aftermath might seem kinda schmaltzy. Consider: It’s young Danny’s 18th birthday, and his mom gifts him with the keys to his dad’s classic Mustang. You learn pretty quickly that Danny’s father, Steven, passed away a long time ago. Danny, eager to feel some connection with the man he never really knew, is super excited to poke around the car, where he discovers a trunk full of his dad’s personal items – some clothes, a guitar, and a collection of letters and photos featuring Steven and a gorgeous mystery woman (!!). Danny decides to figure out who the hell’s this lady-who’s-not-his-mom and perhaps learn some more about his father along the way. Cue the coming-of-age cheese. [I don’t even want to know what that means when we’re talking porn. -Vince]

Things get way complicated way quick. After a bit of hunting, Danny finds Nina, the aforementioned mystery woman. She’s very New York and fancy and is understandably taken aback by Danny’s arrival on her doorstep. Then, after considerable conversation about love and loss and her and Steven’s extramarital affair, it happens – hot, earnest, and strapping Danny (played charmingly by Tyler Nixon) puts the moves on Nina (played perfectly by jessica drake, who writes her name in all lowercase). She knows it’s wrong, he knows it’s wrong, and so did I… but I’d be lying if I told you it wasn’t hot as hell.

There are at least three things about Aftermath that make it both noteworthy and heartfelt.

The acknowledgement of another sort of 9/11 aftermath – because that’s how Steven died. Many people who were kids when 9/11 happened are now adults. What does the world look like to these young people, especially to those who were touched directly by the tragedy at a very early age? Danny is an example of one such possibility. [Vince’s note: It took every ounce of restraint for me not to headline this “This 9/11 Porno Made Our Sociologist Cry.”]

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