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Movie Summary In 1995 everyone had a VCR music was sold in record stores and the world wide web was a newfound discovery. Businessman Jack Harris (Luke Wilson) had the perfect life a beautiful family and a successful career fixing problem companies. Then he met Wayne Beering (Giovanni Ribisi) and Buck Dolby (Gabriel Macht) two genius but troubled men who had invented the way adult entertainment is sold over the internet. When Jack agrees to help steer their business he soon finds himself caught between a 23 year old porn star and the FBI all the while becoming one of the wealthiest entrepreneurs of his time. Witness a story so outrageous you won t believe it s true. DVD Details * Actor(s): Luke Wilson :search Luke Wilson Giovanni Ribisi :search Giovanni Ribisi * Format: Color Widescreen * Soundtrack: English * Subtitles: English Spanish French * Additional: Additional Footage Sensor Matic * Rating: R * MSRP: $29.98 * Run Time: 112 Minutes * Release Date: 2 8 2011 * Number of Discs: 1
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Middle Men relates the story of Jack Harris, a family man, with the perfect wife, perfect family, and a successful businessman.
It's 1995, and the internet is taking off. Two foolish geniuses hit upon a multi million dollar idea to market porn over the internet. Unfortunately, they have partnered with the wrong people, and are in over their head. One of them has written a very valuable computer program, which I agree is very smart and revolutionises the way business is done over the internet.
When Jack is asked to bail these guys out, he sees a huge opportunity, and gets into business with them, and is extremely successful. However, complications ensue, and Jack's values, and his family life come under threat, and he ends up in some potentially compromising positions, some of his own making, and some through the wildcard players he has become involved with.
You may wonder who Audrey Dawn is. She is a porn star, convincingly played by Laura Ramsay, the hottest sexiest blonde I have seen in a while, and who gives a very convincing performance here. She conveys a tremendous darkness in capturing a female porn star. Definitely one to watch for in the future.
I came to the movie knowing vaguely that it was about the porn business, so I did not know what to expect, or even have high expectations. It turned out to be much better than I imagined. The fact that it is based on a true story added to my enjoyment, as otherwise it would have been quite unbelievable.Read more ›
There is nudity and sex, but nothing that is over the top erotic. Was that Jesse Jane as one of those girls in the background?
The film is front loaded with comedy. The movie starts to drag near the end, in fact whenever James Caan was on the screen, the movie went south. Don't get me wrong, Caan played a good part, it was just boring when he was on screen as compared to the action/comedy/drama going on during the rest of the film.
Middle Men is an exception, and Luke Wilson's story-telling narrative makes you almost believe this film was based on real events --- which it was NOT :-). Entertaining, sometimes humorous, definitely sexy. Luke Wilson, James Caan, Giovanni Ribisi and the very watchable Laura Ramsey carry off their understandable, even sympathetic, but never clean-handed characters.
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As to how much of this film is true, as to what facts have been embellished or altered or altogether made up, I obviously have no way of knowing. That, of course, only makes it that much more irresistible. In the film, Mallick is reinterpreted as Jack Harris (Luke Wilson), who begins as a respectable and competent businessman, having a knack for talking and negotiating with people of every flavor, including mobsters that enjoy busting people's kneecaps with baseball bats. Sometime between the mid to late 1990s, he becomes involved with Wayne Beering (Giovanni Ribisi) and Buck Dolby (Gabriel Macht), two Los Angeles cokeheads who realized they could build an empire by scanning dirty pictures onto their computer, posting them on the internet, and selling them for $9.99. They have absolutely no business sense and are basically idiots, and never mind that Dolby was formerly a rocket scientist and has an IQ of 183.
What begins as a straight-and-narrow handling of affairs quickly escalates into something grander, Harris, Beering, and Dobly becoming wealthy entrepreneurs over the space of five years. It also becomes far more dangerous, Beering and Dolby having gotten involved with a Russian mobster (Rade erbedzija); he owns a strip club, you see, and they generate new content for their site by posting videos and photos of his girls. You know how it is with mobsters. They want their cut of the profits pronto. But you also know how it is with guys like Beering and Dolby. They blow off all their money on drugs. They don't know any better, not even when their faces are smashed in or their heads are shoved into toilets.
Harris, meanwhile, will have to use his business smarts to contend with a shady Las Vegas lawyer (James Caan), a spiteful young adult actress he has fallen in love with (Laura Ramsey), and a team of federal agents, led by Kevin Pollack, who want to use the adult actress as a weapon against international terrorism (and of all the movies I've ever seen, this is definitely a new one for me). He must also come to terms with the fact that he still has a family back home in Texas, and that, despite his wealth affording them the good life, he hasn't been there for him. Matters are complicated even further when Beering and Dolby, never able to think before they act, learn that they have unknowingly been exploiting underage models.
I grant you that this is a lot to take in. The director and co-writer George Gallo is reported to have written an expletive followed by the words, "keep up," on the front page of the screenplay as a reminder that, should the audience leave the theater for even a minute, they will miss something important. I don't particularly agree with the first part of his mantra (which I can't repeat), but the second part is spot on. You have to keep up. The thing is, that shouldn't be a problem; this movie is so well structured, so finely acted, and so cleverly written that you're libel to get hooked within the first ten minutes. It plays like a cross between "Boogie Nights" and a Guy Ritchie film, seamlessly interweaving comedy, crime, and mystery into a character-driven plot, the Harris character serving not only as the film's narrator and main player, but also as the emotional center.
Indeed, there is something oddly compelling about Jack Harris, the way an all-around respectable guy can allow himself to be so corrupted by the pursuit of the American Dream. His continuous narration is filled with regret, but there's also a certain dry, sardonic twist to his words, as if to suggest that the whole thing is utterly ridiculous. Well, it IS utterly ridiculous. And yet, a lot of it is true - if you're willing to take Christopher Mallick's word for it, that is. That blurring of fact and fiction, that inability to distinguish reality from fantasy, is part of why "Middle Men" was so enjoyable for me. That, and the fact that it's simply a fine movie. I liked the humor. I liked the intrigue. I liked the performances. And I really liked the screenplay; not only is it founded on an engaging premise, it's also refreshingly honest about what the internet really is for.
Would I watch again? - Yes, I definately would
Well, first, I will talk a little about the movie and quite possibly that will bring the truth out.
This movie is pretty damn good for a first time producer. Actually, it is pretty good and highly entertaining no matter how much experience the producer had. It is filled with well known actors who fully expected this movie to reach a high grossing status. The story is very loosely based on a true story. Yes, two guys got together and started a company that became a huge success in online billing for the pornographic industry.
Yes, the lead character did come in and help the company restructure itself and go on to grow even bigger. No, the Russian mob wasn't involved. No, the creators of the company weren't coke addicts. No, child pornography never was a part of the true story. If you ever met the two original creators you would say, "Ho, hum... You guys run a porn business? You two are the most vanilla, boring, uneventful people on the planet!"
Chris Mallick was the spice in the company and that spice helped bring more traditional, crazy, fast-paced, stereotypical people on board as customers. Back then porn "people" didn't trust you when there are no lines, strippers and booze flowing during a transaction meeting. So basically the role of the characters in that regard are reversed.
In order to make the movie Chris Mallick used the funds in his online debit card program. This meant that his customers were his un-whiting backers. This would have been alright had the film debuted to a full theater release of over 2,000 screens. Instead it debut to 250 screens. Each theater averaged $400+- showing it had enough power to hit over a million dollar gross per week.
So the movie didn't technically flop. It hit REAL numbers. It just did it in less theaters.
Now things get a little juicier. As I stated before, Chris Mallick used money he didn't technically have to make this movie. He fully expected the movie to hit $4,000,000+ per week and have the money restored before anybody knew it was missing. This didn't happen. So in the movie he is the good guy... In real life he is the bad guy... How ironic?
Tens of thousands of his debit card holders lost their money. For some people it was a few hundred dollars. For others it was hundreds of thousands of dollars. You can find a list of people by country that are owed money by ePassporte by searching for "Epassporte lawsuit" and it will probably be the first site you see. In Russia and the Ukraine alone over $6,000,000 was stolen. Again... How ironic? In the movie he saved the co-creators from the Russian mob and in real life he is himself the target of the Russian mob!
The sad thing is that in most cases the people affected lived paycheck to paycheck in third world countries. This debit card had a VISA logo and, therefore, was accepted worldwide making it possible for these people to get paid via this card for their online work. Many were web designers, programmers and other grunt work jobs and didn't make millions in porn. In fact, they often made well under the US minimum wage for their work.
So... Go now and see the movie that is based on the semi-true story of Paycom.net (now EPOCH.com) that sparked the true story of the downfall of ePassporte.com!
Middlemen is highly entertaining. The acting is superb. The editing and dialogue is polished. I will even say that the production is amazing. After you are done watching it though... Search for ePassporte and get the real story. It will blow your mind!