This week George Gallo's Middle Men opens in theaters, telling the story of the origin of internet porn, and how a few drug-addled ne'er-do-wells, some Russian gangsters, and one clear-headed "middle man" managed to make millions off of the horny men of America. It comes packed with hot girls (including a cameo by porn star Jesse Jane), nudity, sexy situations, and harsh language, and yet its ultimate theme seems to be the power and solidarity of family. Maybe there's something to this. Maybe once you dabble in the world of porn, and admit to doing it, you've opened yourself up. Your sexuality is on display, and you have nothing left to hide. Maybe this is just as healthy as belonging to a family. Let's see if Hollywood's other forays into the porn world fare as well:

1. Boogie Nights (1997, Paul Thomas Anderson)
Right here is another story of family and belonging told in the sleazy world of 1970s porn, sex and drugs. Burt Reynolds plays -- and received an Oscar nomination -- the porn king who assembles his cast and crew around him like nieces and nephews, showering them with love and support. It just doesn't get any more loving and accepting than when porn starlet Julianne Moore embraces the newcomer Dirk Diggler (Mark Wahlberg) on his first movie shoot, and asks him to come insider her (even though every porn fan knows that this is NOT the way to end a scene). [Note: co-star Heather Graham went on to play a porn star again in The Guru.]

2. The Girl Next Door (2004, Luke Greenfield)

Elisha Cuthbert stars as former porn star Danielle, who is forced back into the game by her sleazy, dangerous ex-producer/manager (Timothy Olyphant). Unfortunately, the hapless, sheltered Matthew (Emile Hirsch) has already fallen for her by the time that happens, so he races to Vegas to rescue her. There's not much "porn" in this one, aside from the fact that Cuthbert has the gift of appearing naked even when fully clothed, and it all comes down to a ridiculous final third in which Matthew suddenly decides to shoot his own porn video -- for the right reasons. Hey, it's all for love!

3. Zack and Miri Make a Porno (2008, Kevin Smith)
Kevin Smith has probably watched his fair share of porn, and he hit the nail right on the head as the characters review the footage from the title porno they have made. The scene with actual porn stars having sex looks great, but the scene of Zack and Miri making love looks completely dull. Conclusion? Porn and love have nothing to do with one another, though it is possible to find love within the porn world. Smith cast two real porn stars, the currently retired Traci Lords and the currently active Katie Morgan, which is the latest example of a long tradition. [See Marilyn Chambers in Rabid, Ginger Lynn in Vice Academy, Sasha Grey in The Girlfriend Experience, Jenna Jameson in Zombie Strippers, and Riley Steele in the upcoming Piranha 3-D.]

4. The People vs. Larry Flynt (1996, Milos Forman)
A movie about packaging: like Middle Men, this one shows the quick rise to fame, big money, drugs, sex, and everything else that comes with porn, and it shows and revels in all those things. But director Milos Forman and producer Oliver Stone packaged it in such a way that it was instantly acceptable. It even earned some Oscar nominations. Ironically, Larry Flynt (Woody Harrelson) was not quite so gifted at packaging, and he wound up in a great deal of trouble. Without which, of course, there wouldn't have been much of a movie.

5. Wonderland (2003, James Cox)
We all knew that Boogie Nights was loosely based on the life and career of porn star John Holmes (13 ½ inches), but Val Kilmer threw himself with Jim Morrison-like intensity into this more direct biopic. This one focused mainly on the "Wonderland murders" of 1981. It mostly copies that same frenetic "drug filmmaking" of GoodFellas, Spun, and others, and it's all pretty sleazy -- in a bad way.

6. The Fluffer (2001, Richard Glatzer/Wash West)
I'm not sure this movie really qualifies as "mainstream," but you could actually pay to see it in arthouse theaters in 2001, and it provides some interesting information about one of the porn industry's strangest jobs. (I'm sure most people know this by now, but just in case: a "fluffer" is someone who gets male porn stars aroused just before a scene.) Sean McGinnis (Michael Cunio) is a fairly innocent film nut who develops a crush on porn star "Johnny Rebel" (Scott Gurney) and becomes his fluffer. Offscreen, Johnny Rebel is actually just plain Mikey, who is straight and lives with his girlfriend. This very good movie actually goes into the concept that porn can be a psychological addiction, with the potential to ruin ordinary relationships.

7. Orgazmo (1997, Trey Parker and Matt Stone)
Between "South Park" and Team America, Trey Parker and Matt Stone created this mostly forgotten comedy. Parker plays a straight-arrow Mormon boy who is coaxed into acting in a porn film so that he'll have enough money to marry his Mormon sweetie. In the film, he plays the superhero "Orgazmo," a crime-fighter with an "Orgazmorator" (which triggers orgasms). Unfortunately, the film is a hit, and he must try to break out of porn's clutches before it's too late. This one features several real porn star cameos, including Ron Jeremy, Chasey Lain, Juli Ashton, Jill Kelly, and more, but -- oddly -- hardly any nudity. It also seemingly has not much of a point, other than to shock by making a movie about the porn industry. Probably better to rent the documentary Porn Star: The Legend of Ron Jeremy (2001), which has a bit more of everything.

As for runners up, I considered The Notorious Bettie Page (2005), which doesn't really take place in the "porn" industry so much as the earlier "smut" industry. Caveh Zahedi's fascinating I Am a Sex Addict (2005) is notable for casting porn star Rebecca Lord, but it's more about prostitutes than porn. Lynn Shelton's Humpday (2009) is about a porn video that nearly gets made. And Thom Fitzgerald's not-quite-successful three-part 3 Needles (2006) contains one interesting segment about a porn star who cheats on his monthly AIDS test.