“Boogie Nights” – 1997. Dir. Paul Thomas Anderson

With Mark Wahlberg, Burt Reynolds, Julianne Moore, William H. Macy, Don Cheadle, Luis Guzman, John C. Reilly, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Ricky Jay, Heather Graham, Thomas Jane, Alfred Molina with Robert Ridgley with Robert Downey, Sr. and Phillip Baker Hall.

Everybody has one special thing.

“Boogie Nights is the story of Eddie Adams, a young boy trying to find it place in life. The one thing that Eddie has that sets him apart from the rest of the boys is his enormous cock. Enter the world of Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Boogie Nights”. You’ve all seen it, and if you haven’t I feel bad for you.

The film opens with a tremendously amazing opening long shot of the wonderful cast of characters in this film. The one continuous shot that Anderson creates here is a marvel of filmmaking (yes I am have seen “I am Cuba” and I know that’s where Anderson got the opening of his film from). With this long introduction we start outside the club “Boogie Nights” and carefully watch as legendary porn king Jack Horner (Reynolds) and his girlfriend Amber (Moore) enter. Through the bowels of the club, we are introduced to every important central character of the film.

Once things settle inside the club, Jack sees Eddie – and it’s love at first sight. They quickly form a bond that blossoms into a wonderful partnership. This is a simple generic “coming of age story” (GOD I HATE THAT TERM!) but it is so deeply complex. It’s this interweaving cast of characters that become so invested with the film and other characters and especially us, the audience.

Paul Thomas Anderson is the next Martin Scorsese.

PTA delivers us such an amazing feat – he doesn’t only show us the ups and downs of the characters, their births and redemptions, but also makes a complex story that is the film the prefaces “Magnolia” and shows us that this is the film “Crash” wanted to be.

The screenplay is unreal; it’s one of the best I’ve seen/read. But without a cast of excellent actors to match your excellent screenplay – you’re left holding the bag. Let me slightly digress:

Burt Reynolds – This is undoubtedly Reynolds’ finest performance. He is truly on fire in this film. The way his character flows, and commands our attention – we can’t take our eyes off of him, and his wonderful creamy hair and beard. Way to fuck up the rebirth of your career by punching PTA and publicly degrading the film – oh…but you got an Oscar Nomination for it. You were amazing in “Magnolia”…oh…wait.

Mark Wahlberg – People don’t give Marky Mark enough credit. When I was younger I thought he was the worst actor I’ve ever seen – but the joke of the matter is, that his character is a joke. He is just such a bimbo. I think Wahlberg getting nominated for “The Departed” might have been a slight make-up nomination.

Julianne Moore – Never in my life have I seen such a desperate character. All she wants is to love and be loved. She has a vacuum in her heart, and she tries to fill it with everything she possibly can. She is so amazing in the film – this is when I fell in love with her.

John C. Reilly – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Remember when he used to be a great actor?

William H. Macy – Another solid performance by one of the greatest character actors of the 1990’s.

Phillip Seymour Hoffman – The birth of an acting legend. It’s such a painful scene when Scottie professes his love to Dirk. It breaks what little is left of my heart.

Heather Graham – What happened to you? Your ass used to be beautiful.

Luis Guzman – This guy is almost as cool as Danny Trejo.

Don Cheadle – The scene that always sticks with me from the film is when he’s offered the chance to take that bag of bloody money during the botched robbery. Cheadle is covered in blood, his hands still in the air, everyone’s dead. Would you take that money?

Thomas Jane – In his small and vital role, he puts on a fucking clinic. What an amazing actor he is.

Alfred Molina – His part in the film is one of the most fucked up, stomach turning situations any character in film history has ever been in. That scene made me love “Sister Christian”.

Phillip Baker Hall – My AIM screen name all throughout high school was Floyd Gulondi (a misspelling of his last name in the film). That’s how much I loved his character.

Robert Ridgely – The Colonel…’nough said.

Robery Downey, Sr. – How fucking awesome for PTA to put RDS in his film. It’s so joyous to me when a younger filmmaker pays such a tribute to the filmmakers before him who inspired him. Rock on.

Ricky Jay – He’s awesome in everything he’s in. Way to get in with PTA and Mamet. I like his magic too.

Don’t you just love watching characters hitting rock bottom? I do. Watching the amazing cross cutting between Dirk Diggler jerking off for a guy in his truck for $10 – and watching Roller Girl (Heather Graham) getting nearly raped by a d-bag jock she went to high school with while Jack Horner sits and watches – Jesus Christ, it’s a lot to take in. Watching humans at their lowest form is such a humbling experience.

This film is very important to me.

This film is nothing less than poetic, marking the most poetic film that I have ever seen. All the characters are brought together in the beginning in a wonderful long shot – they’re all happy and living the disco dream – and in the end, they are all brought together once again in an incredibly amazing long shot – and once again, they’re happy, they are together. It just puts a smile on my face. God I love this film.

Rating: 10/10

PS: I bought this on Blu-Ray because I didn’t own the DVD and I thought that it would look really slick – you know the whole color schemes, the cinematography and what not. I did own the two disc special edition DVD when it came out WAY back in the day. It was the first film I ever watched with director’s commentary. While I was at college, I left it at my then girlfriend’s apartment. Needless to say we broke up after she flew to Ireland to have sex with this Italian pharmacist she met. No, I’m not making this up. It’s actually a pretty funny story now looking back, but when it was happening it was like a movie. But anyway she’s happily living in California working for the Producers Guild of America dating some rich guy and I’m still here in Chicago still paying off my credit card debt from that little deceptive twat. Anywho – I was disappointed with the Blu-Ray of “Boogie Nights”, I could tell that it was Blu-Ray but wasn’t that great. No need to make the jump for “Boogie Nights”.

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Author: Frank Mengarelli

Everybody relax, Frank's here. After going to film school at Columbia College Chicago, Frank decided to underachieve with his vast knowledge of film into a career in civil service. Frank had a brief stint as a film blogger, and then he met the heterosexual love of his life, Nick Clement. The two instantly bonded over their love from everything to Terence Malick to THE EXPENDABLES films. Some of Frank's favorite filmmakers are Terence Malick, Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Sylvester Stallone, Oliver Stone and Spike Lee. Some of his favorite films are THE TREE OF LIFE, STAR WARS (all of them), BAD LIEUTENANT, THE THING and ALL THAT JAZZ. Frank spends his free time with his dog Roger, collecting any Star Wars collectible he can find and trying to finish his pretentious, first person narrative novel(la), LARGE MEN IN SMALL CARS..

16 thoughts on ““Boogie Nights” – 1997. Dir. Paul Thomas Anderson”

  1. Great film. Paul Thomas Anderson is one of the best director’s in Hollywood right now. He’s surpassed this film with There Will Be Blood though.

      1. To continue my DDL appreciation I have it in my que right now. I’ve completed Gangs Of New York and Last Of The Mohicans. So I’m getting there.

  2. John C. Reilly is still a great actor. Just because he hasn’t done a lot of dramatic work lately doesn’t mean he hasn’t put in a lot of quality work. His performance as Dewey Cox is one of the best comedic performances in recent memory.

    1. Kevin, you know I haven’t seen Dewey Cox yet. But anything post 2005 – I highly doubt it’s as good as his earlier body of work. But to Reilly’s defense, I think he’s making more money now than he ever dreamed of making.

  3. I’m one of the people you feel sorry for … I still haven’t seen this! It’s so shameful, but I’ll get around to it, I promise. Especially if you tell me Thomas Jayne is good in it.

    This one line of your review is very poetic: “She has a vacuum in her heart, and she tries to fill it with everything she possibly can.” I’ve known many women like that, and I’ve been a woman like that.

  4. I had forgotten how damn good the cast was. The script will blow you away, but as you pointed out the performances are integral in it’s execution. I haven’t seen it in years. I’m ready to go back and check it out.

  5. This movie holds such a special place in my heart and I’m psyched that you’ve given it it’s due. This was the first film that I saw and totally “got” to the point that I felt I finally understood movies as an artform – how things all come together from the music to the performances to the direction to the costumes to whatever. I don’t think Anderson will ever top this, but I’m more than happy to watch him try.

  6. Fun, hilarious, fast-paced, and overall just a great piece of cinema. I never knew what their intentions were with this one, but whatever they were, they did a good job with it. Check out my review when you can!

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