Boogie Nights
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In his late teens, Writer-Director Paul Thomas Anderson became fascinated with pornography filmed in the 1970s. Anderson found the plot structure of these old films to have a charming quality not generally found in more modern pornography. As Anderson's interest in the history and demise of this genre grew, he became inspired and wrote a short entitled The Dirk Diggler Story, which was shot on video and edited using two VCRs. The movie as we see it today was re-written as a feature during the filming of his first movie Sydney/Hard Eight.

Several characters were inspired by the lives of real people, many who have been involved with moviemaking in and around Hollywood over the last several decades. The rise and fall of Eddie Adams was inspired by porn star Shauna Grant (born Colleen Applegate), while the more multilayered inspiration came from John Holmes/Johnny Wadd for the Dirk Diggler/Brock Landers characters. Amber Waves's story was also supposedly inspired by porn actress, Veronica Hart, who played the judge in the custody scene.

In a scene deleted from the theatrical film Dirk gets a call from Becky Barnett. She's hiding in the kitchen from her abusive husband. Dirk jumps in his car and races out to Becky's place (in Bakersfield, CA). While driving on a winding mountain road (and sniffing cocaine) he takes his eyes off the road and smashes at low speed into a telephone pole. Without that explanation included in the theatrical release, we can just assume that Eddie got into an accident during his coke addiction.

It's only hinted at in the scene where the Colonel talks to Jack Horner in prison but the Colonel had a number of pornographic films featuring children that he'd either collected OR shot himself in his basement. It probably wasn't mentioned specifically in the dialogue because it heightened the drama and intensity of the scene - we're meant to focus on Jack's reaction to the news, rather than the Colonel's confession.

The voice is that of Mark Walhberg. The dialogue is from the scene he was about to shoot when the credits began. The dialogue is: "I just want to talk to you... Raphael... *groans*... Goddamit... *heavy breathing*... Shit... Raphael... Where is he? Where's Ringo?"

Don Cheadle's character is Buck Swope, a stereo salesman and part time actor whose ultimate ambition is to own his own chain of stores that supply electronic sound equipment, especially stereos. We see Buck constantly hanging out with Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds) and his crew of friends and film co-workers. He even has a short-lived relationship with porn actress Becky Barnett (Nicole Ari Parker), and eventually marries another porn actress, Jesse St. Vincent (Melora Walters).

However, while Buck is seen at parties with this circle of cohorts, he is notably absent in scenes that take place on a movie set. He could be an actor in such pornographic films (and his first name appears to invite a plethora of prurient stage names), but we never see him act in one, especially not in a sex scene.

Ultimately, it is strongly suggested that Buck participated in such films in the scene where he applies for a bank loan to open a stereo store. He is denied for the loan because the bank employee (Don Amendolia) notes a reference on his bank form, and flatly states that Buck is "a pornographer". Buck defends himself by replying, "I'm not a pornographer, I'm an actor."

This reply could mean that Buck does not consider pornography a disreputable business, and resents being negatively labeled a "pornographer" regardless of whether or not he participated in such films on camera or off. Conversely, it could also imply that Buck played a role, or several roles, in such films that did not require him to have sex on camera (i.e. a walk-on role, an extra).

So to say that Don Cheadle's character is a porn star is misleading. "Boogie Nights" never shows Buck participating in the filmmaking process in any role, but no character ever said he did or didn't either. Regardless, the bank scene alone serves as a powerful reminder of the porn industry's contemptible reputation, and the stigma it places on many of those who even have minimal involvement within it.

Blocking is the word used to refer to the technique of placing actors on a theater stage or within the frame of a film while it's being shot. More detailed info can be found here.

What's key in this scene is that Dirk claims that Jack (who's sitting next to him) allows him to do the blocking of his scenes in the films that Jack directs. See this Trivia item for more info.

Also of note, the scene is a re-creation of a scene from the 1981 documentary 'Exhausted, John C. Holmes, The Real Story' where the strung-out John Holmes is telling the interviewer about how director Bob Chinn (sitting next to Holmes just like in the Dirk and Jack interview scene in this film) allows him to block his sex scenes (Note: Holmes is clearly making it up) and Chinn tells Holmes on-camera that he doesn't allow him to block his sex scenes just like Jack tells Dirk in this film.

It is less a case of him spacing out than it is him intensely focusing on the present moment, his current environment and situation. You can see him visibly psyching himself up to speak to Rahad; to try and gain some semblance of control so he can peacefully leave the house. So to just agree that it is simply Dirk calming himself and preparing to confront the situation is valid enough, but it could also be looked at as an 'epiphany' of sorts, if you wish to give that much credit to the power of Dirk's introspection.

Until this point, his life had been a steady plunge into self-destruction. After severing ties with Jack, Dirk proved himself pretty much incapable of living independently, free of parental figures, and was desperately holding one from one drug high to the next. The homophobic assault prior to this scene, and now this drug-trade situation in which he is being quickly thrust into more violence, by other people's ineptitude (i.e Todd Parker) and his own innate aversion to confrontation, is enough to make him realise that he doesn't belong outside the world of porn. This is perhaps his realisation that his nurturing, surrogate porn-family, and his acting career, is the only chance of a stable life, and whether you owe this to an emotional maturity or just some instinctive awareness is down to you, however the latter is more likely, as the final scene of the film supports. Ultimately this moment serves to show a turning point in Dirk's life, and his movement toward reconciliation.

No, its a prosthetic penis made for this particular scene.

Kurt is casually asking Little Bill about the technical needs of the film they're going to shoot in a few days, the one where Eddie/Dirk makes his debut. Kurt is likely unconcerned about Bill's wife cheating on him because one of the prevailing cultural norms of the 1970s was the sharing of sexual partners regardless of whether or not they were in a relationship, even marriage. Kurt and Little Bill are also in an industry where sex is the primary focus of the entertainment being produced, so Kurt didn't think much of Bill's wife cheating on Bill or having sex in a public place with a group of onlookers present.

Gondolli is a porn film distributor who was a friend of The Colonel's. Gondolli had already made a name for himself in the porn industry but had sometime prior to his meeting Jack made the switch from distributing filmed adult movies to those shot on videotape and in the process had begun to make a lot more money. Jack saw tape as a threat to the traditional medium of shooting on film and as a threat to the aesthetic qualities of writing, story, character, acting, etc. Jack is a purist of sorts who, even though the subject matter of his films is pornographic, felt that there was a need to keep the medium of film alive.

Videotape revolutionized the film industry in the 1970s as a reusable format: whereas an image shot on film is permanent, videotape allows the filmmaker to reuse the tape itself. If a shot doesn't turn out right or there's a mistake, videotape allows the crew to go back and do a reshoot more easily. Film also requires a special process to develop it: chemicals, specialized rooms where light can be controlled and trained people to process it into a finished medium. It also requires an editor to put the finished film together along with the music and recorded dialog. Videotape combined almost all those technical requirements into one medium & didn't have the intricate process required to produce it into a finished product. While the montage of Dirk's cocaine addiction rolls, there's a short scene where Ricky is shooting a film on videotape with two female actors. He tells his assistant to just keep shooting because they can easily go back and edit the scene later. Tape was also more easily and quickly copied for distribution and eventual sales: we see Jack walking through a large distribution warehouse (after the Colonel is arrested and his distribution company likely has folded) where 1000s of videotapes of adult films are being packaged for shipping, likely to video rental & sales stores.

r73731


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