Queerly Ever After #29: GOING DOWN IN LA-LA LAND (2011)

Queerly Ever After is a bi-monthly column where I take a look at LGBT+ films that gave their characters a romantic happily-ever-after. There will be spoilers.

Some of these movies I go into watching thinking they are really going to be thinly veiled excuses to make a porno, without calling it a porno. Based on the trailer, I was pretty sure Going Down in La-La Land was going to be one of those. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that this was an actual movie. 

Queerly Ever After #29: GOING DOWN IN LA-LA LAND (2011)
source: Embrem Entertainment

Going Down in La-La Land, written and directed by Casper Andreas, follows LA-transplant Adam (Matthew Ludwinski), an aspiring actor, who ends up in a different sector of the entertainment industry than he planned. This is a film about the dark underbelly of the film industry and how at the end of the day, there’s not much difference between the Hollywood studios and the porn studios. Both are filled with predatory men (an all too well-known fact.) 

Welcome to La-La Land

Adam moves to LA from New York City in the hopes of furthering his acting career. He moves in with his best friend Candy (Allison Lane), who is also an aspiring actor. She is financially supported by her fiancé Frank, whose generosity also enables Adam to live with Candy rent-free. He finds work as a receptionist for a Hollywood agent, who turns out to be an abusive, terrible boss. After working there for only a couple weeks, Adam is fired for showing up late one day. While struggling to pay the bills he meets Nick (Casper Andreas), a photographer and sometimes director for Jet Set Men, a gay porn production company. Nick gets Adam a job as an office assistant at the company.

In addition to their working relationship, Nick and Adam embark on a sexual relationship as well. However, Nick is not boyfriend material. He has a heroin addiction, and he’s also emotionally manipulative towards Adam. He continuously tries to convince Adam to work in front of the camera in these pornos and not just behind it. Finally, after Frank dumps Candy and cuts off his financial assistance, Adam needs to make money fast. Nick and the owner of Jet Set Men, Ron (John Schile), convince Adam to do a photo-shoot, a solo masturbation video, and finally a porno.

Escorting Can be Like Acting Right?

After Adam has made several videos for the company, mostly solo masturbation ones, Ron tells him about another facet of his company. He runs an escort service where he sets up his adult performers with high-paying, high-profile clients. It is through this escorting work that Adam is set up with John Vastelli (Michael Medico), the very closeted star of a well-known sitcom. Feeling unable to come out of the closet, John occasionally hires the services of male escorts.  By now, Adam and Nick’s relationship has deteriorated due to Nick’s drug addiction. As Adam and John continue to see each other they begin to fall in love. John, seeing a way to help Adam out of his situation, offers him a job as his personal assistant, as both a cover story for why they spend so much time together and a way to get Adam out of the porn industry.

Queerly Ever After #29: GOING DOWN IN LA-LA LAND (2011)
source: Embrem Entertainment

Of course, it’s not easy keeping large secrets from the press, and a famous actor having a gay, former porn performer as his personal assistant is sure to raise a few eyebrows when found out. And found out it is. When Adam’s face ends up plastered across several tabloids John concludes that they need to break up, he can’t risk his own career and reputation. Depressed, jobless, relationship-less, and hounded by the press, Adam embarks on a downward spiral that Candy can’t pull him out of. After landing in the hospital, he realizes he needs to get his life back together, so he decides to move to Miami and get away from everything. But John realizes that it’s time to stop hiding who he is, and shows up at Candy’s apartment while Adam is packing and kisses Adam in front of a gaggle of paparazzi.

In Conclusion: Going Down in La-La Land

Going Down in La-La Land was a surprisingly entertaining film. From the premise, it seemed like it could be the sort of lascivious movie you watch late at night for the nudity and pretend you care about the plot, but it was actually a pretty solid indie film. Ludwinski, with his model looks, was not the strongest actor, but that doesn’t detract too much from this movie. All in all, it’s a good watch.

Going Down in La-La Land came out on April 20, 2012 in the US. For all other release dates, see here.

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