It's incredibly common for people to compile lists of the best-ever things in a category, and many movie genres are analyzed and listed in this way.  Showtime gets in on this action with their documentary about X-Rated: The Greatest Adult Movies of All Time.  This takes a look at... someone's idea of the best pornos, with commentary from folks in the industry.

The format for X-Rated: The Greatest... is pretty simple.  The 32 movies that made this list are presented in chronological order, from the 1970s (Deep Throat being the earliest movie) to 2015, the year this documentary was made.  Every movie gets almost-always positive remarks from folks who are or were in porn, either stars or working behind the scenes; usually these people were involved in the movie being discussed.  There are clips from each featured movie.  Host and current porn star Scott Gianelli Chanel Preston also gives a quick overview of the changes to the adult film industry each decade.

X-Rated: The Greatest... is mixed in terms of quality.  Having over 30 movies gives the viewer a very good idea of the often substantial difference in adult films from decade to decade: Movies from the 1970s often had very edgy, non-erotic elements (rape, incest, suicide, perms), while contemporary movies often had much higher budgets and production time, allowing for some movies that, with sex removed, could be released as mainstream movies (which actually happened with Pirates).  And the folks commenting on the movies show a great enthusiasm for the movies, whether theirs or not.
There is a lot that could be improved in this documentary, though.  First, we never learn what makes these movies "the greatest" -- Box-office earnings?  Erotic content?  Story?  Awards?  Video sales?  Influence?  -- or who selected these particular movies.  The commentators are sometimes too positive, skipping the controversies surrounding some of these movies and the actors in them.  While lists of the greatest are always subjective, there are plenty of movies that should have been here as well.  And some of the biggest actresses in the adult film world are not included here: Vanessa del Rio, Ginger Lynn, Stephanie Swift, Serenity, Asia Carrera (except for a brief appearance in a clip from Flashpoint), Sasha Grey, Stormy Daniels.  (Somewhat ironically, this genre features female actors over male ones, but almost all the, ahem, biggest male stars are here.)
X-Rated: The Greatest Adult Movies of All Time is mixed when it comes to quality.  This was an interesting list through the history of pornos, and it was nice to hear the folks in this industry discussing the "greatest" films.  But the movie is vague as to how these movies made the list, and it can be a bit too uncritical at times.  It's worth watching -- but hardly a must-see documentary.
Overall grade: B-
Reviewed by James Lynch

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