Strip Club Documentary Covers The Rise and Fall of Porky's
There’s much to be said about Porky’s, the sex comedy that released in 1982 in the US. It was a wild and “offensive” coming-of-age story about teens trying to lose their virginity. It was the fifth highest grossing film of its year, and likely inspired all teen films for the future. But as wild as this story about the mythical movie strip club, it cannot compare to the real deal. A strip club documentary about Porky’s of Hialeah, Florida fame premiered on Showtime at the end of March. In it, we learn that there is nothing in Porky’s that compares, even a little bit, to what happened at the actual Porky’s.
Maybe there’s a deleted scene involving Pee Wee negotiating for a Russian submarine to smuggle drugs in. It’s been a while since I saw that film.
Not the strip club documentary you’re expecting… or ready for.
Here’s a plot for you: a Russian immigrant gets calling himself Tarzan in with the Gambino crime family. Moving to Florida after his partner eats a bullet through the front of his skull, he becomes a strip club owner. Working alongside another “not-made” man, a Cuban spy, and “classic car dealer”, Tarzan turns his strip club, named after his favorite movie, into more than just a club. When Tarzan’s Mother Russia collapses in the 90s, he gets an idea: why not buy a submarine from the former Soviets, and use THAT to smuggle drugs.
“For little extra, we throw in some nukes.”
The thing is, this shit actually happened. In a lot of ways, calling this a strip club documentary is a little misleading.
There really was a Russian immigrant who earned the nickname Tarzan. Tarzan worked alongside of Tony Galeota, another storied tough who cut his teeth with the Gambino family. Juan Almeida was the car dealer, and arguably the craziest of the whole bunch. He impersonated Pablo Fucking Escobar on a trip to Russia. Said trip was to broker Tarzan’s release from the Russian mafia.
The sub was a very real deal the trio tried to cut for $35 million. Nukes were really offered.
Sympathy for the bad guys?
Maybe? Make no mistake, these people were involved in some very wild shit. Prostitution, drug running, protection rackets, arson, and more. It’s not the sort of list good people keep. The actual Porky’s was as “classy” as it was dangerous. At its peak, Russian, Columbian, and Italian gangsters all made the place a regular stop. More than a strip tease went down behind those doors, and sometimes bodies would hit the floor.
And yet, you can’t help but laugh at the absurdity. There’s long essays about the excess of the 80s, especially at Wall Street. But none of that comes close to what this strip club documentary pulls off.
Operation Odessa is an entertaining story about real criminals. While you might not necessary want to grab drinks with the real men behind Porky’s, it’s hard not to enjoy watching the absurdity. If you want to see the American Dream taken to its wildest excesses, give this documentary a shot.