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Rated X

1 rating: 3.0
A movie directed by Emilio Estevez

Real-life brothers Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estevez star in this biopic about the Mitchell brothers, two of the pioneers in the porn industry. Brothers Artie (Sheen) and Jim (Estevez) produced some of the 1970s most popular porn features such as BEHIND … see full wiki

Director: Emilio Estevez
Release Date: 2000
MPAA Rating: R
1 review about Rated X

X Rated/Rated X - The Story of the Mitchell Brothers

  • Jun 19, 2002
Pros: tight acting, interesting information

Cons: lots of drug use, violence & sex (not necessarily a con)

The Bottom Line: Even if you don't condone it, well worth the watch

Tensely acted, the true life story of porn kings Artie & Jim Mitchell ( Charlie Sheen & Emilio Estevez ) takes you from their early childhood to the climatic ending of their partnership. The Mitchell’s were visionaries, realizing that the public wanted and demanded blatant hard core sex and they were the boys that were going to deliver it.

Dare to dream, take it to the extreme - Let your heart and soul lead the way [1]
Spurned in college by Jim’s professor ( Peter Bogdanovich ), the boys started their own production company, purchased and started a theatre, in 1969 – The O’Farrell Theatre – and began the legend that continues to this day. The O’Farrell Theatre is still operational, offering live sex shows daily, in San Francisco with Jim Mitchell still at the helm.

The big break came in 1971, when they produced a saucy little number known as Behind The Green Door starring Ivory Snow princess Marilyn Chambers and as they say, history was made. So was the financial fortune, as well as the police record, for these two out of control men.

I don't need one more war - What's so civil 'bout war anyway [2]
As they pushed for more and more, the moral majority screamed for less and less, but this didn’t daunt the Mitchells. Instead, they elected to expand the theatre to include live sex shows, incorporating private viewing rooms for your artistic pleasure. Of course, half the moral majority was streaming through the back door enjoying their guilty pleasures, then marching the picket line by the front door to save their two-sided faces.

This well acted mini-drama, produced by Showtime for television release and now available on video, takes you through the lives of these two men, their successes and failures. Their constant battles to keep the ‘rights of the performing individual’ sacred, their jail time, and yes, their addictions. Both highly subject to addictive and insecure personalities anyway, they constantly used cocaine and alcohol to maintain their lifestyles.

Get your money for nothin' get your chicks for free [3]
While they were successful and affluent, they still struggled with their own inner demons, which often became apparent with their violent rages and performances. Also prominent was the constant rivalry between the siblings to be better than the other, causing even more controversy.

Now I'm losing touch with reality and I'm almost out of blow [4]
The movie reflects how Jim was finally able to fight his demon drug and become clean, constantly after Artie to change his lifestyle and try to go clean himself. As they become more controversial and violent, Jim finally bans Artie from their famous club, causing him to spiral out of control. In addition, his constant drug and alcohol use forces his wife to place a court order, refusing his visits to their children.

It's such a fine line-- I hate to see it go, Cocaine, runnin' all 'round my brain [4]
Artie Mitchell is a man, on the edge, strung out, doped up, drunk and toting a gun.

Green door, what's that secret you're keepin? [5]
So compact and intense was the delivery by Sheen & Estevez throughout the production, you often lose sight of the other actors in the movie. Through fantastic makeup, both men closely resemble the actual Mitchell brothers quite well. Coming from his recent stint in rehab, Sheen gave a performance that probably paralleled his life a little too realistically. In fact, I was amazed he even attempted this production at all.

Estevez served as director, as well as giving a highly stunning performance. Tracy Hutson, who bears a haunting resemblance to her real life character, played the part of Marilyn Chambers.

The movie is based on the book X-Rated: The Mitchell Brothers, a True Story of Sex, Money, and Death by David McCumber and was adapted for the screen by David Hollander.

So what do we do with our lifes, we leave only a mark
will our story shine like a light. or end in the dark
give it all or nothing

We don`t need another hero, we don`t need to know the way home all we want is life beyond
thunderdome [6]

Jim Mitchell served 3 years for the death of his brother Artie. He continues to operate the O’Farrell Theatre, this information is taken from their web site:

"Founded on November 6, 1992 as a nonprofit corporation in honor of its namesake, Artie J. Mitchell, the Artie Fund has been generously funded by individual contributors and fund-raising events alike. Since the beginning, the proceeds have been earmarked to benefit the San Francisco Fire Department Cliff and Surf Rescue Team and Center Point, Inc." [7]

So, in the end, the brothers, whose lives wrecked such havoc in the political, social, and economic landscape of San Francisco, have returned the money to its roots, in Artie’s honor.

This was actually a remarkably well made and intense movie. It is a pity is was released for cable TV originally, neglecting the major audience that could appreciate it, even after other productions such as Boogie Nights and The People vs Larry Flynt brought the pornographic media to light. It is available through rental, there has been little cut from the production. It is highly erotic and shows full frontal (male & female) nudity.

While the porno industry has always lived under the umbrella of a sleazoid industry, Rated X takes you inside the intensity and driven people that continue to fight for their rights. Even if you do not agree with pornographic releases, video or written, you must champion the rights of people to fight what they believe in.

Unfortunately, this movie is also solidly grounded in the use of hard drugs and alcohol. Again, it is the choice of these individuals to make these decisions. This movie does reflect the consequences of their choices however.


[1] Dare To Dream by JoDee Messina
[2] Civil War by Guns-n-Roses
[3] Money For Nothin by Dire Straits
[4] Cocaine by Jackson Browne
[5] The Green Door by Jim Lowe
[6] We Don’t Need Another Hero by Tina Turner

[7] from http://www.ofarrell.com/welframe.html, the official O’Farrell Theatre web site. These are not my own words. This is an adult site, not to be viewed by those under 18 years of age.


Suitability For Children: Not suitable for Children of any age

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