Screwed

on May 12, 2000 by Alex Albanese
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   "Screwed," by underground documentarian Alexander Crawford ("Hated: GG Allin and the Murder Junkies"), is an unflinching look at the life of Screw Magazine publisher Al Goldstein. Launched in 1968, Screw and its weekly mix of graphic sex, editorial rant and callgirl/massage adds (in tandem with Goldstein's other magnum opus, the raunchy cable show "Midnight Blue") have landed Goldstein in jail 19 times, made him a wealthy man, and given him the pleasure of beating a federal obscenity rap.
   Following Goldstein through his working day--at editorial meetings, photo shoots, the TV studio, and the set of his latest porn film, this documentary--subtitled "Al Goldstein's Kingdom of Porn"--intercuts interviews of Goldstein, employees, readers, actors and, for a dissenting view, Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa.
   Goldstein is a fascinating character, and given the subject and milieu any resulting film would likely be challenging and interesting. Unfortunately, a good deal more could have been done with the crafting of this one (which marks the first release of New York exhibitor-turned-distributor Cinema Village). Several stretches of "Screwed's" 85 minutes bog down into a tediousness that a more aggressive editorial approach could have cured. This time out, Crawford has taken the elements of a great film and made only a good one. Directed by Alexander Crawford. Produced by Todd Phillips and Andrew Gurland. A Cinema Village Features release. Documentary. Unrated. Running time: 85 min.
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