Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Classic - Boogie Nights

or: Makin' it big.

One word to sum it up: Groovy.

There are some movies that I instantly click with. I'll just sit down and watch the first few minutes, and then I decide "this movie is right", and usually enjoy it at the same level for the duration of the film. Boogie Nights was one of those films. The opening scene, which is a one take scene going around a club introducing most of the characters from the film. Now, there are quite a few characters in the film. You'd think that someone would use a whole lot of editing to get them all together. But no, Paul Thomas Anderson doesn't want that. He goes from character to character, surrounded by disco lights and party music, big hair and booze, and everything just flows together. It was from that moment that I realized that I was in for a different sort of movie that I'd just have to enjoy. And I enjoyed it. Immensely.

That phenomenal opening scene shows us a whole lot of people, who just so happen to work in the porn industry. There's Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds), a porn directing maestro who only does the best; Amber Waves (Julianne Moore) is a beautiful pornstar who really just wants to see her son again, but her job gets in the way of that; Rollergirl (Heather Graham), a star who doesn't ever take her skates off, even when she's attempting to do important school tests; and gay boom operator Scotty (Philip Seymour Hoffman), wannabe magician Reed Rothchild (John C. Reilly), stereo fanatic Buck Swope (Don Cheadle), and assistant director and often humiliated Little Bill (William H. Macy). These are also the people who give high school dropout Eddie Adams (Mark Wahlberg) a second chance at life. Adams has a gift which is particularly useful in the porn industry, and because of this, Dirk Diggler is born. Dirk becomes a powerful figure in porn, earning lots of money which fuels a drug addiction that could make or break his career, but as long as his gift works, the longer Dirk can keep on living carefree.

It's a great big ensemble which Boogie Nights requires, and this movie scores a pretty amazing cast. Mark Wahlberg, around his 'Marky Mark' days, takes the lead. Why do people keep saying he can't act? Whenever he's at his absolute best, he is one of the better actors out there, and his talent is definitely on show in this one. However, while his performance was great, I enjoyed the supporting players a lot more. Julianne Moore was perfect, as always, perhaps the best she's ever been. Burt Reynolds is hilarious in his role. John C. Reilly and Don Cheadle are great, as they usually are. William H. Macy was really funny to watch, but also really painful to watch, as he was so humiliated all of the time. Heather Graham's character was probably my favourite, as she rolled around everywhere with her Polaroid camera. Graham was really fun in her role. However, I've got to hand it to Philip Seymour Hoffman. He played his role really nicely. His interpretation of a lovable, yet creepy sort of man who experiences a little bit of unrequited love is certainly amazing.

As I said, Boogie Nights was one of those movies which I instantly clicked with. I'm sure that most of that comes down to the fact that P. T. Anderson's direction was so stylish and fresh that I felt intoxicated by it. Anderson has a pretty clear understanding of the world of porn back in the 70's. There's that cheap gloss over it that's fraying around the edges, which makes it looks oh-so-cool. It's vibrant and colourful, constantly in-your-face in a good way. The music is pretty awesome too, since I grew up with most of those songs as my Mum had them on her many mixed cassettes. The film itself, though a tad too long and sometimes a little extravagant, is really well-structured, surprisingly beautiful and heartwarming, and also somewhat inspiring. Okay, it's not like I want to run out an join the porn industry after seeing this, but it basically just shows that anyone who has a certain gift has the chance to make something big of it and make themselves known. It's just all about doing something different, and when it all turns to crap, just start all over again.

THE VERDICT: Boogie Nights is a fun, enjoyable and colourful film with an amazing ensemble and some really great direction from Paul Thomas Anderson. Definitely not to be ever missed.

What I hoped for:

What I got:


  1. I love Wahlberg in this. He should have gotten some recognition for his work.

  2. Great review. You are right, the music is awesome. That firecracker scene is one of my favorite of all time.

  3. Love love love this film! The cast and the music are fantastic. I also love how dark the film got when the 80's hit. It shocking to the that P.T. Anderson's body of work only got better after this film.

  4. Glad to hear you enjoyed it. I thought the infamous final shot was a bit gratuitous, but that doesn't stop the film from being one of my favourites of all time (Top 20, probably). If you liked it (and I see you did), then I implore you to check out Anderson's three other movies, Magnolia, Punch-Drunk Love and There Will Be Blood. The former is my favourite movie of ALL TIME, the second is just a fantastic romantic drama and the latter is the BEST movie of the last decade. With Paul Thomas Anderson, you really cannot go wrong.

  5. There's no real point here but PT Anderson is perfect with this ensemble cast, and a fearless direction that keeps this film going well along. Good Review! Get the soundtrack as well!

  6. Anna - He should have gotten some recognition!

    Bonjour Tristesse - That scene was pretty awesome!

    CS - Yeah, I loved how it changed so much when the 80's hit. I'm going to check out the rest of P.T. Anderson's work soon, and if it gets better than this, then he must be amazing!

    magnoliaforever - The final shot was funny, I thought, and since they'd been talking about it for the whole movie, it was great to actually see what they'd been going on about. Haha. I will check out Anderson's work before the year is out. I'm sure I'll be impressed.

    Dan - The direction in this movie is really awesome! Ha, I'm sure I'll be able to make up the soundtrack from all of my mum's old CD's. There were so many songs I recognized!


You mustn't be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling.


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