From Straight A's to XXX (2017 TV Movie)
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Don't bother watching this whether you are a huge fan of hers or never heard of her before, because either way you'll just be getting lied to throughout and come out believing she is someone she most definitely is not.
I'm 15 minutes into the movie and I want to smack her. She was offered a full ride to college, but went to a different school she couldn't afford? While I understand not wanting a bunch of loans I am not sure choosing to do porn is a better choice.
I am going to finish watching it, but so far I am just annoyed at what a spoiled brat she seems to be.
The movie was not your typical Lifetime TV movie as we get to see an uncommon story of Miriam/Belle and comes to focus on both her journey from being a straight A student to becoming a successful porn star who surprisingly became famous to the media for standing up for her life choices in porn by using the high expenses that Americans have to afford to get their college degrees.Aside from that,it also provides us her character transformation(good or bad?) from being a High School senior of the debating team up to the conclusion when she became a political activist learning to stand up for her rights.
Some of my fellow IMDb reviewers stated that the TV movie brought up a lot of fiction on this TV movie to somehow be on the side of Miriam/Belle during the course of the film and avoided some part of her character such as that being a psychologically unfit to come up with her unexpected choices in life which others find immoral,ludicrous or unjustified. But nevertheless,the screenplay did well in bringing up two parts - both positive and negative - her becoming a porn star no matter how the audience may look at it.It was obvious that it brought up the both the good and ugly parts on how other people in her life perceived her differently from her parents,friends,fellow students,the media and her co-workers at pornography as well as the disasters to her emotions despite the TV movie screenplay being on her side on doing porn to finish college.Credit also must be given to the performance of Haley Pullos for she did well as Miriam/Belle.She definitely would make the audience feel for her throughout the film either positively or negatively and leave a good or bad impression on her after viewing the TV movie.
The problem here lies in the message that the movie sends, which is that is doesn't matter what you work in as all jobs are 'good' jobs. Porn is definitely not a great thing. I also disagree with the argument that people show double standards when they watch porn themselves, but don't like a person doing porn. This is because even those who watch it know that it is wrong. In the movie, the protagonist knew that everyone around thought such as well, and she kept crying throughout the movie. She also knew that her family won't accept it.. yet she went on to do it. This is the very thinking that is plaguing this generation and supporting it will only burn society.
If the point of the movie was to give a message (which I believe such movies should do), it should have been that a living can be earned by doing much more respectable jobs.
On the other hand I would be even more uncomfortable if my daughter earned her income working the grave shift at a gas bar where she could get robbed and/or raped by gunpoint with no one around to stop the crime. I would also not want my daughter operating a crane 50 stories up in the air, or excavating coal 200 feet under the earth surface all considered to be dangerous but acceptable employment from the mass perspective.
The message I absorbed from this made for TV film loosely based on the true story of the life of Miriam Week's using the stage name Belle Knox while performing in adult films and attending Duke University where her annual tuition fees were $60K a year Miriam relieved herself from the financial stress of her choice of school's expensive tuition and unfortunately replaced that with even a greater stress by attempting to maintain a secretive life in the adult porn industry from her family and school friends. One would ask why didn't she just apply for government loans? Miriam did apply to the government for financial assistance but she was turned down by the government.
Yes, there is a seedy side to working in the adult film industry where women appear to be the subject of pay for play but ask yourself this question. How many men in adult films make as much money as their female co-stars do? Although I did not agree with Miriam Week's choice of employment she appears to have come out of the experience all in one piece and she has a message for the rest of the world. University tuition is very expensive and maybe Bernie Sanders should run again for the U.S. presidency in 2020 to have his platform succeed, free tuition for all students and free health care. Even the adult film actors would be in favor of that platform. It appears that Miriam Weeks may take up the stand in her future political career if Bernie would only agree to support her.
I give this made for TV film a decent 6 out of 10 rating.
Out of the 5 reviews before posting mine, at least 2 are garbage and don't discuss the actual film made.
So my take on this: well done for amateur actors/directing for a made-for-TV movie.
I am a fan of 'based on a true story' films, and sure, 'maybe' this was a little off based on the full true story but it made me at least research the actual character and even look at her interviews. It was very interesting and compelling. I even recognized one of her speeches verbatim in the film on one of the interviews.
All in all, I think this film was on point on her real life story and anyone who has interest in this girl or this topic should see it.
This character's flaw of bad decision-making was evident when you hear that she did receive offers from several colleges but she was "set on going to Duke". While that is admirable, I think no matter what, compromise and planning could have landed her in a better life decision circumstance. It was a question I am sure that was running through the mind of the viewer.
One big flag in this film for me is that I could not ignore that this woman was offered a full ride to another excellent college, but she was "set on going to Duke". This is a choice that young people need to put pen and paper to and analyze it with their parents. Apply to scholarships, etc. One should not get hung up on "one school". But she did, and the resulting personal decisions to stay in that school is what this is about.
Her parents thought they could afford it, but circumstances dictated they could not. So what does she do...? Figure out she needs a lot of money fast. A part-time job won't cover it either. Didn't seem like a real life choice, but for this person -- it was. As she dives into that world, you discover that she has had major self-esteem problems before that - that were not properly resolved.
Then there is the "women's empowerment" message for the audience. Is it a crutch, a cover for trying to rationalize this with paying for higher education's skyrocketing and out of reach costs, or does she truly think that doing porn is empowerment for the women doing it? She wants the audience to believe women can do whatever they wish with their body, not be bullied about the choices, not know about negative consequences and covering it up under "women empowerment" rather than "a really bad choice when other options were available to ... HER."
If one is to feel sorry for her as her double life is exposed, I couldn't. If I were to get a 'women's empowerment' message out of this, I couldn't accept one. It may have empowered her, but not everyone agrees on that type of choice as an empowerment.
This film is on par with most Lifetime made Weekly Movies - "female watch bait". It a story told from the woman who did it perspective. It wasn't laid out as a cautionary tale, a tale of how college costs are skyrocketing, nor a tale where one should feel sorry for the character 'having to resort to this to pay for school'. It's just a tale of how one woman ignored other avenues of assistance, other schools to attend (or transfer to Duke later, why not?)and how she was shamed by students, etc., students but stood up for the way she acquired the money. Not a good lesson here as many Lifetime Movie Bio-pics try to do, but an interesting film to watch in how it was done.
The story itself was good; however, I felt that the movie could have been much better developed. ***SPOILER ALERT*** We see her in the beginning as this studious quote 'good girl' and my thinking was that she was going to get involved with the wrong crown in college and that was how she gets into porn. But upon realizing financial troubles she jokes to her roommate that she could become a porn star and watching it you think that it was just that; a joke. But when you see her checking out Internet searches on how to become a porn star it really hits you off guard as there was no buildup to that. She breaks up with her boyfriend before leaving for school and you aren't even sure if she has had sex or not. In her first scene shot she admits that she likes rough sex and you are wondering "who is this character?" I also did not understand the apparent cuts on her legs. All she says was that she went through a 'Girl Interrupted' stage in high school. Things are just kind of thrown at you in bits and pieces and you have to kind of coalesce it all together into a story line. Had I realized beforehand that this was inspired by a true story then I would have given it an even lower score.
All said I did like this movie, I just didn't love it. Remember, I was watching it through the prism of it being a fictional Lifetime movie. This is not to cut it down nor prop it up; Lifetime as a network has broadcast some great movies over the years but has also had its share of duds. I wasn't exactly sure which way this one was going to go while taking it in. You more or less 'get the gist' while watching this; the foundation of the story itself is very weak at times.
I think it should have started with a better background as to how she was raised. We should have known earlier on that in spite of being brought up Catholic she was socially liberal and viewed pornography at a young age. I also would have liked to have known more about her so-called 'Girl Interrupted' stage in high school. Did she cut herself and if so, why? Was this a stepping stone towards her later interest in B&D and S&M that she admits during her CNN interview? We also should have known that she was not a virgin upon entering college. She mentions that her parents believed she was a virgin and before she scopes out websites on how to enter the industry you would have thought this as well. When she goes to shoot her first scene she is manhandled roughly and admits that she likes rough sex. Huh? You never would have thought this watching this movie. There was no buildup to any sort of sexual interest let alone her consideration towards doing porn. She does speak frankly with her friend early on about sex but there is no clear indication that she has ever had it. You seem to go from Point-A to Point-F in this movie at times. Details as such do come out I just felt that a lot of the setups were all wrong.
Perhaps these awkward surprises were intentional and trying to keep you off stride. But that is being very generous. Again, though, it is worth watching. I don't think I'll be adding it to my DVD collection but it was a good story that just needed better stitching. MUCH better stitching.
The new TV movie stars Halley Pullos and Judd Nelson as Miriam and the porn manager respectively.The story takes us from the time Miriam started her first year of studies at Duke,her family's incapacity to pay for her expensive $43,000 a year tuition fee during the middle of the school year,her joining the porn industry,her initial experiences as a sex worker until achieving success, and the disclosure made by a fellow Duke student that made her stand up for feminism particularly her rights as a sex worker,defense of the porn industry by calling it legal, and her becoming a Libertarian student activist in the end.
The movie was definitely not your typical Lifetime TV movie that one is usually used to watching considering the elements such as a common storyline,determined villains who are not taking "no" for answer are going to harass the main characters violently no end, and predictability are not present from it.In fact,the audience is presented with something better than those elements mentioned.
Instead,politics was a big theme from it such as feminism and empowerment as well as issues affecting many young Americans today such as expensive college tuition fees are brought up.In addition to that,the audience is provided something that would allow them to give a thought to various themes such as politics,society,pornography,feminism,morality and the ideals of today's young women.Also included are college experiences of cyberbullying,the rape culture and harassment that are common in today's college and universities.Finally,it also would divide the audience in terms on how they view Miriam/Belle in terms of the choices and decisions she has made.
Interestingly,this new TV movie focused more on Belle's beliefs and her choices in life.Aside from that,it brought up issues that are affecting millions of Americans today such as rising expenses of getting a college education.Added to that,it brought up fact that the real Belle Knox,who evidently became a media celebrity,to defend her choice to becoming a porn actress to afford college.In her interviews in TV shows such as Young Turks or Piers Morgan at CNN,she defended her involvement in pornography as college has become less affordable to the average American as well as a part of her feminist views considering that she has the right to choose on how to use her body and what industry she can get involved in as long as it is legal and she isn't committing any crime.Aside from that,this also brought her empowerment as it brought another side of her from being a nerdy student and to another character or to her alter-ego known as Belle.Surprisingly,she is not asking sympathy from people especially those who criticize her as a "slut",brought her sexual ridicule or harassed her no end but to respect her choice as a porn actress to be able to afford college tuition and to defend pornography as a legal business.
No question that we got more into a political drama.Didn't she become an activist at the conclusion?The screenplay did a good job on providing a balanced views on Belle's choices.It provides defense on the logic of her choice and it also presents those who do not agree with her decision through the characters that she is in conversation with as they bring up the issue of lack of fulfillment and happiness,morality of the job that she is engaged with,and her character's naivety and lack of wisdom being only 18 years old.The viewer may agree or disagree with Belle particularly her views and her choice to resort to porn as a way to support college.Obviously,the viewer is allowed to think about it while watching the TV movie and given the opportunity to evaluate her beliefs and her character whether they are worthy of respect or not.
With that,it makes it good TV movie to watch since it isn't typical of a Lifetime movie that would normally present a clichéd and predictable movie that a viewer is usually served that is why I would rate it higher as compared to that others.
What I have appreciated is that they have recreated a real famous interview that she made, in which she claimed the porn for women is empowering. It is clear that she said that just to justify her actions, telling herself a lie. Nobody in fact ever took seriously this declaration, even other porn actresses.
The acting is awful: the interpretation by Haley Pullos is flat most of the time and sometimes is too forced. The cast in general is not convincing and I did not feel any kind of emotion, I could not feel any bound with characters.
I gave 4 stars because the way the movie address the issue regarding college taxes is good. But for the rest, this production seems more a very cheap teen drama, than a bio picture.
The film does two things: First it attempts to normalize or legitimize the porn industry as main stream adult. Miriam reached out to the industry. In many ways this is good as it eliminates the need to have fake model auditions and coerce young ladies into the industry with fake promises. The second thing it shows is that once you do porn, you are branded a porn star forever. (There are exceptions.) That is what people will always see and it makes former and new relationships difficult. Bikini shots and scenes pushing the TV-14 rating.
Filmed in Canada.
Lastly, the acting could have been better. The acting kind of seems mechanical. A life is missing in them. The dilemma of the protagonist is too unreal. On one hand, she knows what to expect from the porn industry and bravely joins it, on the other hand, she acts like a Disney princess oblivious to reality.
A lot has gone into making the movie set but it surely lacks the content it wants to project.
So what's a poor young college girl to do? She discusses this with her college roommate Jolie (Sasha Clements) — who is really from Oklahoma but has spent enough time in New Orleans to acquire a (bad) Southern accent and a lassiez-faire attitude towards public displays of casual sex (of course Miriam asks her about Mardi Gras and Jolie fends off the question with a hauteur that indicates she's bored with the whole ritual and if you've seen one Mardi Gras you've pretty much seen them all) — and they joke about various options. Miriam doesn't want to take out student loans — "My dad didn't finish paying off his student loans until I was in middle school!" she whines — and she doesn't want a job as a waitress, not only because it's demeaning but because the low pay for a waitress in North Carolina (where the minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, the same as the federal one) is barely going to make a dent in the $65,000 per year Duke charges for its education. "Maybe we could rob a bank," Jolie jokes — and Miriam jokes back, "Or I could be a porn star." Eventually, using the nom de porn "Belle Knox," she shoots to the top of the porn world even though maintaining her double life — neatly dramatized by director Vanessa Parise (a cut above the general run of Lifetime directors) in a series of intercuts between Miriam's and Belle's Facebook pages — gets harder and harder, as she's shown frantically plowing her way through a thick and impenetrable women's studies text during breaks on her porn shoots. Meanwhile, an Asian-American student named Jeff discovers Belle's videos online and recognizes her as Miriam, and soon it's all over Duke that one of their nice young freshgirls is doing porn.
The credits say this film was "inspired by a true story," but it also travels down the same roads seemingly hundreds of previous Lifetime movies have gone before, though I give writer Hess credit for not having Miriam get hooked on drugs to sustain herself through her porn work — a plot twist usually de rigueur for these sorts of titillating stories about nice young girls who get involved in sex work and then lose control. (Maybe Hess and director Parisse figured they'd already done the innocent-girl-seduced-into-the-drug-scene number in their previous film "Perfect High" and didn't need to do it again.) As familiar as most of this story is, we never feel for Miriam so much as we do when it seems like she's lost all sources of community and been rejected by her family, her college friends and her porn friends. The story lurches to a close as Miriam closes out her freshman year and then, two years later, speaks at a rally of pro-sex feminists and says that feminism ought to be about a woman's right to make choices about her own life — including selling her body on screen for money, if that's what she wants and feels she has to do. It's an O.K. ending but an oddly inconclusive one for a film that, as familiar as the paths it trods are, does have some unique aspects and also makes me wish Vanessa Parise would be able to break out of the Lifetime ghetto, get some decent scripts and take a run at feature films.
Before reviewing this, I read through many of the other reviews, and for those that saw this movie as painting Weeks as a victim or that the movie overlooked the possible conflicts or problems with the industry, really missed some key points while viewing. I gave this movie 10 stars not because the acting was amazing or anything of that sort, but that it did do a great job of portraying the themes and conflicts realistically.
Some people apparently looked past the scenes that revealed the potential incongruities that her work may have had with the idea that it was empowering; for example, the scene in which she was supposed to film with an older man -- she asserted that she explicitly stated that she did not want to film with anyone over 35. However, her agent/manager basically told her that if she didn't do it, it would in a sense ruin her career as she would be considered "difficult". She begrudgingly walks back to the older man and sits in his lap. I felt that this scene very appropriately expressed the conflict between degrading vs. empowering.
On the other hand, the film also very well expressed the double standards of how women are treated and sexualized in society. That so many people regularly watch porn, while in the same breath, criticize the women that are part of the industry is absolutely nothing short of a double standard... as is, when girlfriends/wives/daughters are expected to "cover up" while boyfriends/husbands/fathers attend strip clubs. This is a very real double standard in society that the real Weeks and that the movie touches on and exposes.
Is the film attempting to convey that doing porn is a reasonable alternative to pay your student loans... that's not what I got out of it. I did get the point the film tried to make about the extraordinary cost of tuition, but I did NOT see that it was justifying porn as a reasonable means to paying for school. Weeks was able to stand firm as she was attacked by others for her decision, but throughout the film, she faced a great deal of anxiety about hiding it from her friends and her parents.
In real life, did Weeks have mental issues? I'm not sure that is anyone's place to say or make any judgment calls about her decisions based on that notion... It's incredibly easy for any of us to judge another individual as we are outside of the situation, bypassing our own current and past hypocrisies, conflicts, and flaws as we do so. But, the movie highlights Weeks' scars as NOT to hide the possibility of other conflicts from the audience. I do not think that the movie was untruthful in that regard at all.
It seems that some reviewers are, in some regard, offended that the movie should portray Weeks as such an ordinary woman, just trying to live life...but that is literally the case for anyone in ANY situation, no matter what decisions they are making and how society views such decisions. I very much liked, actually, that the film helped many people to relate to an individual that would be/was aggressively judged for her decisions. It reminds the viewer that just because we may not understand something or agree with something that someone/people choose to do, doesn't make said person(s) unequal to any one of us.
That was my experience of the film, and for that I gave it 10 stars and well worth my viewing time. :)
Like what the hell, im realy open minded guy and i like to hear different sides ,but this story did not make sense to me. It just isnt worth to watch unless you have time and you like "depatable" topics