When we first received Shine Louise Houston’s Champion in the mail, we debated on whether or not it was actually porn because there is not one single finger going into anyone’s vagina anywhere on the cover. We hadn’t seen any of Houston’s films yet and joked in our ignorance, “Perhaps she’s trying to make a real movie and it will be the most painful display of acting ever seen.” Such movies are watched only with whiskey.
Naturally, we put it off for the right time and meanwhile we watched Houston’s older film, Superfreak, which made it crystal clear to us that Houston is someone to take seriously. Serious in the respectable sense, not in the sit in the dark alone and listen to Sarah McLachlan sense. There is an excellent balance of playfulness and hardcore eroticism in Houston’s work. It’s refreshing, really.
Champion is full of talented, sexy, charming performers such as Syd Blakovich (she has a great website), Jiz Lee, Javier, Dallas, Madison Young and Dylan Ryan. Syd Blakovich plays Jessie Eaton, a cold son of a bitch making her way into women’s professional Mixed Martial Arts, as well into the pants of various individuals. It backfires when her old nemesis, Bobby Malone (Javier), punishes Jessie for having sex with Bobby’s girl through blackmail. While Jessie is trying to decide what to do about it, she is also dealing with her sexual attraction to Violet Vahn (Dallas), her opponent in and out of the ring. Of course, this being porn, they end up fucking. One can’t let hairy pussy go to waste.
There was not one single scene in Champion that I didn’t like, and any complaint I could muster up would be really minor. Not even worth mentioning. Houston has a great deal of talent to begin with, but it’s obvious comparing Champion to her older work that a lot of the awkwardness has been refined. In between loving Jiz Lee’s beautiful face in ecstasy and watching Dylan Ryan squirt, I spent a fair amount of time during the film admiring the camera angles or the naturalness of the lighting.
It’s true that this film is more like a “real” movie than your standard fair porno, but it didn’t ever leave me feeling bored or miserably hoping that the acting scene would end soon so the sex can commence. While Jessie is at the gym or watching a recorded fight in preparation for her match, there’s another sex scene going on simultaneously. A working visual balance is created that carries through a sophisticated level of eroticism.
Champion is sophisticated because it acknowledges complexity within gender and sex, yet maintains a sense of humor and humanity. It’s not glamorized bullshit, it’s just fucking hot. Period.
Mimi already covered almost everything that I had in mind to say about this film. It was well made, the stars were hot and the chemistry was real. As if that wasn’t enough, there was enough of a plot to give you some investment with the characters that you are watching have hardcore sex.
For me personally, the connection is what made every scene (except for Madison Young’s) go from hot to stellar. Even though the connection with the characters is somewhat cursory, it is very real and I think Houston understands that giving that sort of depth will make us hot in our minds as well as our dirty bits.
The superb camera work and lighting choices even prevented Young from ruining the scene that she was in. While all of the other actors seemed to have real chemistry with one another and looked like they were genuinely enjoying themselves, Young is not convincing. It is almost like she watched some mainstream porn and then decided to take those traits into the queer porn world. Fake noises and all. I apologize, I know my problem with Young must be getting old by now. Maybe if I hadn’t watched Bride of Sin first, I wouldn’t loathe seeing her so much. She is hot, I’ll give her that.
I’m glad that Houston makes cameos in her films. I liked seeing her as the ghost of Rick James in Superfreak and she appears in Champion as the world’s most meek reporter. It is always nice to put a face with a piece of work and her perpetual small roles almost strike me as a signature. I look forward to watching The Crash Pad and seeing how she will put herself in that series.
I am really happy with the gender role blurring, power dynamic swapping, queer porn we have been watching. Because of the expert way that Houston handles these films, I would be very interested to see what Houston would do with a hetero-oriented film. She does such masterful work playing with and setting up masculine dynamics within her queer films, I would love to see how she handles directing biological males. Perhaps one day…
She said “chocolate?” -I said “No.”- She said POW!