2008 was a year in turmoil for the adult entertainment industry, the slowing economy wreaking havoc and many companies finding they needed to cut expenses by any means possible to stay afloat. The Blu-ray format won the high definition war and the country elected a Democrat to the highest office in the land, the premature rejoicing at what might be the temporary end of the war against porn heard loud & clear across the land. Long awaited features were released, some notable figures went to jail, and the stage was set for the predicted industry shakeout many had been whispering about for some time. While the number of compilations and repackaged scenes rose to all time highs, there were still plenty of titles stocked on shelves worthy of your attention, the Xcritic 2008 Top 10 Adult DVD list trying to sum up the impossible task of listing the best of the best for a wide audience. Without further ado, here is the list our extensive team has suggested for our readers.
1) Fallen: Fallen was something of a surprise when word circulated regarding the classic appeal of the flick. Starring hotty Jessica Drake and directed by Brad Armstrong, the movie presented a story about a Gregorian angel fallen from grace for failing in her assignment to protect a young lady from tragedy. Doomed to search the Earth endlessly for some meaning to her immortal life, Jessica engages in all sorts of depraved sexual encounters until she meets the man of her dreams, soon finding that the heavens have a twisted sense of humor. The story was simple yet elegant, the four disc set offered lots of quality fuck for the buck, and the entire production impressed our team as another case of creativity edging out the more expensive blockbusters they also enjoyed. Wicked Pictures put a lot of care into the movie and DVD package, showing once more why they are still an industry leader to be reckoned with when it comes to enjoyable entertainment not tied so heavily to circus act sex.
2) Not Bewitched XXX: In recent years, one team has dominated the burgeoning revival of comedy porn with their entertaining parodies, pushing aside pretenders and wannabe top dogs with their tributes to classic television shows. The dynamic duo of Will Ryder and Scott David at X-Play found that the economic recession may have impacted their peers but they moved forward with huge plans to expand in 2009 thanks in no small part to shows like Not Bewitched XXX. Rather than poke fun at the subject matter, the team made it clear that they were paying homage to the award winning television show, again surpassing a Hollywood remake costing tens of millions of dollars in favor of a sexy sitcom porno that was far and away the best comedy of the year. Starring Jenna Haze, Mike Horner, Eva Angelina, and cute Teagan Presley as Tabitha, the movie mixed elements of the original series in such a way that the cohesive whole turned heads all across the country in what has been described as a prime example of what some in the industry are doing right to regain the faith of fans.
3) Pirates 2 Stagnetti's Revenge: If ever there was an adult movie that swept the nation and sales charts based on the quality of a prequel, this was it. Hands down, there was no porno bigger, brasher, and bolder in terms of resources devoted towards giving the fans an action packed feature with the best extras package of the season. With over 600 Hollywood styled special effects, four discs of related material for the consumer to appreciate, and the best feature line up of contract stars & top names in the jizz biz, P2 was as much an event as a movie. Most of the cast reprised their original roles with Jesse Jane & mighty Evan Stone joined by the infamous Belladonna & Sasha Grey as they fought the scurge of the seven seas played by Tommy Gunn, the man championed by exotic Katsuni and her pirate forces. With Digital Playground director Joone at the helm of this massive project, is it any wonder that this was the most talked about release of the past two years?
4) Oil Overload Special Edition: Director Chris Streams is no stranger to making award winning porn and given the strength of his double disc sets since signing a distribution contract with Jules Jordan Video, his titles have impressed our team as having enough tease footage, heated pairings, and quality that he was a serious contender for the top director nod. The debate over which of his movies was best was finally decided by industry veteran Don Houston who pointed out that the nearly 5 hour movie had so many quality extras but a cast list featuring Top Performer of the Year Gianna, Jenna Haze, Alexis Texas, Gina Lynn, Teagan Presley, and a great many more top notch hotties getting all slicked up in oil to fuel your fantasies. Earning our coveted Xcritic Pick rating was only the beginning though as Chris proved he could out oil any of the competition now that he was free of corporate ownership, the astounding results such that he made the list twice, sharing that designation with only one other.
5) Lex the Impaler 3 Special Edition: There has long been a lot of industry love for director Jules Jordan at award time, his sales such that few can deny his appeal to the porn consumer. Another man wise enough to enhance his fuck flicks with large amounts of seductive tease in lingerie before the action begins, Jules is sometimes looked up to as the top of the food chain in the industry by many; unable to do wrong according to his loyal followers. This time, he brought back his most powerful interracial player in the form of Lexington Steele, in order to push the limits of ladies like Jenna Haze, Shyla Styles, Brianna Love, and Gina Lynn to the breaking point; the resulting chemistry generating a knockout title few will deny beat any other interracial release of the season. Lex was in rare form too, making an effort to surpass the sometimes generic performances of the movies he directs in favor of going all out with the best in the industry, the fourth volume also displaying a tremendous amount of sizzle thanks to Gianna.
6) E For Eva: While Eva Angelina took most of the year off to have a baby, the multi-award winning beauty did not leave without providing some serious showcase efforts at the hands of industry directors known for style. The best of the batch was this one by Jonni Darkko with the lady starring in all nine scenes using many of the scenarios the pair came up with over the month long series of shoots. The winning template of G For Gianna was wisely followed here too and Eva was provided enough time in the BTS feature to give a great sense of why she is so favored by the multitude of fans that worship her every move. Even better for the rest of the world is the fact that the movie was not just for Eva Angelina fans, but high scale enough to outshine all of the star flavored compilations on the market and provide serious strokability and replay value to anyone wise enough to check it out. If seeing Eva in various forms of sexy lingerie and trying all sorts of sexual tricks with men, women, and toys is what floats your boat, look no further than this excellent example of her work to date (not to mention Jonni's work in 2008).
7) The Surrender of O: This was another title that took some of the team by surprise, showing enough intelligent handling of the BDSM lifestyle that did not alternately make the general population wince or look away to make the genre look more appealing. Bree Olson in the lead role was an inspired selection too, the Adam & Eve contract starlet the best choice for the role as she took over from Carmen Luvana that many considered her best (in Power of Submission). Bree was right at home with the discipline elements of the movie and it was suggested that director Ernest Greene finally hit upon just the right balance of thematic elements to go along with the slightly kinky sex to inspire well beyond a quick look or two. Joining Bree was cute Kayden Kross, curvy Ava Rose, sexy Bobbi Starr, and an assortment of others that proved to be able to handle the acting portions of the script in a story of a young lady discovering what she wanted out of life. Bree had an excellent year (this was not her only award winning flick in 2008) and assumed the role of lead contract girl at Adam & Eve very nicely, the best being yet to come from what we've been told.
8) Not the Bradys XXX: Marcia Marcia Marcia: As suggested above, this sequel to last year's top comedy was as much the result of the creative team behind the camera as the incredible cast of sexual performers that shined in their scenes. Again paying homage to the original series with a story of misunderstandings, young love, and an enhanced cast of industry veterans in the role of the "bunch" so many are familiar with, the casting upgrade of Teagan Presley in the lead role secured inclusion on many lists this year given her better fot for the role. The movie also shows the industry that a little bit of preproduction and planning can pay off, albeit thanks to the folks at X-Play and their distributor Hustler Video. The strength of such shows to a general audience is unsurpassed and the curiousity factor that reels in consumers is thankfully rewarded by the quality of the production, eschewing the quickly tossed together parodies that consumers learn to distrust as junk. While it came out too late for the AVN Awards this year, it is still a strong contender for future awards according to our resident expert Don Houston.
9) The Interactive Gina Lynn: Every year we collectively see a number of the virtual sex titles that allow fans to select footage of their favorite performer in action and every year we wonder when someone is going to expand the boundaries of the genre to broaden the appeal to a wider audience. This year, award winning director Chris Streams pushed aside the competition by providing not one, not two, not even three scenarios with incredibly popular starlet Gina Lynn, but a whole SIX of them where she struts her stuff for hours on end in a double disc set the director promised us would be something special. Sparing no expense, Chris shot days of material with Gina to make this her most comprehensive release in years, arguably better than her Dark Side release four years ago even for those of you that are not fans of the virtual sex genre. Gina plays a nurse, a maid, a schoolgirl, and so much more as she allows her fans the ability to control her moves so very well. Rather than relying on upcoming technological breakthroughs, the director made this one with fans in mind, reliability more important than flashy tricks.
10) The Doll Underground: While others have proclaimed the "Alt" movement dead, our Xcritic reviewers have proven otherwise with indepth looks at some of the most creative movies made in years, not least of which was this outing by director Eon McKai. Dispensing with nonsensical plots about pool boys, pizza delivery girls, or generic fluff, Eon let loose this scathing attack on modern politics that will certainly prove years ahead of its time to any of you wielding the fast forward button on your remote control in an indiscriminant fashion. If you want some mental floss to go with your sexual antics, essentially something deeper than a midday puddle, you might want to see what exactly this movie is all about as it transcends the limits of gonzo into something open to interpretation, considered by leading critic The Mooninite to be Eon's best work to date even if it runs the risk of alienating the raincoater crowd as being too fancy or complex for their sensibilities.