Anyway, so the package comes, and there's 3 tapes from the SEX FILES series, plus CLOSED SET: THE NEW CREW. The press releases in the package mentioned that the 3rd in the Sex Files takes place in North Carolina (GAGE: "When I kept hearing that the leafy, laid-back university town of Durham, North Carolina was a hotbed of behind-the-closed-doors sexual shenanigans, I just had to investigate."); and since I know a few bloggers down there, why not start with this one, and I popped it in the VCR. Now, I've just finished watching the first 45-minutes, forcing myself away from the tape, hoping to jot down some fresh notes, not to mention getting some chores done around here, with the "carrot" of knowing I have good porno to return to when I finish.
What sticks out most in distinguishing this from other modern porno - the use of sound; the use of porn expectations with some twists; and perhaps most important, in the "Gage tradition" - voyeurism - the clear understanding that this is a visual medium, and that men - gay, bi, straight, curious, whatever, get off on WATCHING.
Sound. There is very little dialogue. Just enough to move the "plot" ("I hear you have a big one, can i see?") But background noise is important to give it some feeling of authenticity, this sex is really happening, it's really spontaneous. So, in the first two scenes I watched, no disco music as the sex starts; but rather a football game in the background (if you're really paying attention, you'd notice that thankfully there are no commercials, just the seductive sounds of a game on the TV - which he's used before in HANDsome, if I remember correctly). While of course few people in porn can act, so it's smart to minimize the need for acting, trying to recite scripted dialogue, it actually works here, as the scenario is two guys who are unsure of the actual sexual interest of the other, so they move slowly, cautiously from the showing each other their dicks stage, to the touching each other's dicks stage, to the you can't stand it anymore will someone please suck that big wanger stage.
Expectations. The first scenario is two young college guys, and one remarks to the other "I hear you have a big one." Of course, this is porn, we know we're going to see it, we know there's gonna be sex. But he stretches it out to the point where you are screaming TOUCH IT, it IS big! and then SLURP IT, it IS big!; he manages to build the sexual tension, where you see the "curious" guy can't stand it anymore, and goes for the big cock. Eventually, he even asks the big-dicked guy if he can "do himself" - which he readily admits to, and demonstrates. While we all seem to dig the IDEA of self-sucking, in reality, it ain't really that sexy. No one can actually really go that far down on it, and their bodies get all distorted to the point of not looking that great, ya know. But here it's used well, which leads me to the next point.
Voyeurism. This, in my humble opinion, is THE great Joe Gage theme. Try to name a Joe Gage film that doesn't involve someone watching someone else having sex - yes, other directors use this, but Gage always does it, and always succeeds in making it hot. (Probably the most talked about Joe Gage scene is the El Paso Wrecking scene of Mike Morris and his "son" Jared Benson - most people remember this as an incest scen - but it's not! Morris (Dad) merely watches Benson (son) having sex with Fred Halsted, which of course turns Halsted on to no end, and of course us, watching Morris whack off watching his son give head to another man - but once again, I digress) The self-sucking is used well to get the "curious" guy really turned on; he's watching up close, and at points can't handle just watching, and has to get in there himself, as well. And of course, we the viewer, get a great view of two mouths on one hot cock. So it's not just us watching, but us watching the other guy watching the self-suck.
And the next scene also demonstrates the same three points well - sound is a minimum, almost all of the action has no dialogue, no actual words, just slurping and moaning (again, these guys are better at having sex than talking about it, so don't ruin it by trying to make them act). Here we start off with some older (40's or 50's) professor type stumbling upon a napping college student. We all know what this leads to - groping, jerking, and the inevitable blowjob while the kid is still sleeping. The professor has a great, expressive face - he's clearly enjoying what he's doing, while all the while looking around the room to make sure no one comes in (of course, it doesn't stop him when they do, he just gets more excited, which gets us more excited at his boldness). Now, the expectation is that at some point the kid just has to wake up, right? How long can you lie on a couch getting a blow job and stay asleep? So with this expectation in mind - what happens when he wakes? And it takes a while for this kid to wake up - his cock is pulled out; his shorts are removed, he's stroked; his pants are pulled down, he's getting blown; and two other young men enter the room, the whole while this kid is sleeping and you are giggling and the absurdity of him still sleeping - except - the payoff! Well, the moment he wakes is the moment he cums, and the look on his face as he wakes, sees the professor down in his lap and his spooge flying out simultaneously is amazing - I'm not exaggerating! And the voyeurism theme had already kicked in - just as the professor has started the blow job, one student, and a few minutes later, another comes into the room. They watch silently as the professor gets more into it. Of course they have to start stroking their own crotches, eventually pulling their cocks out, keeping their eyes on the professor, as well as each other and each inching closer to the professor, and each other, as the scene builds) - so we have these different levels of watching - the two "observers" watching the blowjob, and each other, the professor watching the guys watch him, and getting increasingly turned-on by having this chance to show off, and of course us, the guys who bought, rented, or got comped the videotape!