Cinema: Wadd: The Life & Times of John C. Holmes

Directed by Cass Paley

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The recipe for show-biz success: have a unique talent. John Holmes, a lanky, couldn't-be-more-ordinary guy from Ohio, had a 13-in. penis. That was enough in the early '70s to make him the poster boy of the burgeoning porn-movie industry, and in 1997 the subject of the film Boogie Nights. But Holmes' life, as depicted in this chatty nonporn documentary, was weirder than that star-is-porn fiction. He snitched to the cops about his co-stars, pimped his underage mistress, was tried for complicity in a drug-world massacre and kept making sex films even after he knew he had AIDS. (He died at 43 in 1988.) Like Holmes, WADD is seedy, twisted, a bit on the long side--and creepily fascinating.

--By Richard Corliss