Middle Men: The Hollywood history of sex, drugs and e-commerce

Sex, drugs, digital porn, and, er, online shopping: Middle Men is the Hollywood version of the birth of e-commerce

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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Richard Trenholm
2 min read

"The year was 1995. There was a VCR in every home, music was still bought in record stores, and the world was buzzing about a brand new invention called: the 'Internet'. Which up until then... sucked." So begins Middle Men, a forthcoming Hollywood take on the invention of, er, online shopping.

Middle Men is directed by George Gallo, writer of Midnight Run, and stars Luke Wilson and Giovanni Ribisi alongside such luminaries as James Caan, Kelsey Grammer, Kevin Pollak and porn star Jesse Jane. It's an embellishment upon the experiences of porn-cashing Paycom chief and Middle Men producer Christopher Mallick.

The early days of the Internet are rife with debauched and downloadable stories of men and women who have disappeared as the Internet flourished -- that is, until we tracked them down.

It's surely no coincidence that Mallick's fictional pseudonym 'Jack Harris' is so close in name to Josh Harris, gonzo Web pioneer and subject of 2009'sWe Live In Public. That was a documentary, and forthcoming Facebook movie The Social Network is a dark-tinged drama, but Middle Men seems very much the Hollywood version. Click play on the trailer for the fist-fightin', porn star-boffin' take on the invention of e-commerce:

We were joking when we proposed Ben Affleck and Matt Damon as the founders of Google, but right now it doesn't seem so far-fetched...

The beginnings of the Web are proving rich in dramatic potential, as the world awaits The Social Network, a film about the early years of Facebook. Written by West Wing scribe Aaron Sorkin and directed by Fight Clubber David Fincher, The Social Network tells the story of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's ruthless climb to power.

While we're on the subject, let's take a moment for the film that was reppin' geek cinema back in the day: Pirates of Silicon Valley stars Dr Carter off ER as Steve Jobs and the kid out of Weird Science as Bill Gates:

Middle Men is released in the US on 6 August, with a UK release shortly after. The Social Network hits UK cinemas on 15 October. Pirates of Silicon Valley is available on DVD.

Will you be shelling out for popcorn in the company of the Middle Men? And what Internet story would you like to see on the big screen?