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A modern masterpiece.
billyacewilliams23 May 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Paul Thomas Anderson's stylish and compelling take on the 70s porn industry follows Eddie Adams, aka Dirk Diggler (Mark Wahlberg), through six years of sex, drugs and disco. His chance meeting with pornography director Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds) starts his career as one of the greatest adult actors of the time. Dirk's character is based on real-life porn actor John Holmes, who, like Dirk, was renowned for being extremely "well-endowed". This is where Dirk finds initial success.

The main themes in Boogie Nights are the obvious ones relating to a film of this genre; pornography, drugs, sex, betrayal, violence and music. Boogie Nights deals with the pornography theme with some control. It is not overplayed and the sex scenes are surprisingly minimal, but mentally explicit when they take place on screen.

Throughout the film cocaine is abused enormously, and the film's setting, Los Angeles 1977-1983, reflects the popularity of the drug at that time, which the film captures perfectly. However, Boogie Nights does not promote cocaine, as there are some scenes involving addiction and overdoses. For example at Jack's party, they find a girl who has recently, and graphically, overdosed; blood pours from her nose and she begins an unconscious fit. The film, before this scenes, has been fairly upbeat and comic, but from this point it foreshadows the darkness that it will occur.

The music scenes are executed brilliantly, from superbly-staged disco scenes to a down-and-out Dirk singing terribly in his new music career. The soundtrack too is excellent, featuring tunes from The Emotions, ELO, The Beach Boys and the unforgettable Sound Experience. The standout scene in the whole film comes down to the music; Dirk, Redd Rothchild (John C. Reilly) and Todd Parker (Thomas Jane) visit drug dealer Rahad Jackson's (Alfred Molina) house in order to make some quick cash from selling phoney drugs, but Night Ranger's Sister Christian, which is playing in the background, increases the intensity of the scene incredibly, proving that music can bring so much more depth to a scene. Boogie Nights is filled with those kind of scenes, which makes the film even more fantastic.

The standout performance in Boogie Nights is Burt Reynolds as the enigmatic, yet moody, film director. In the scene where he attacks a young guy for slating his movies, it is a complete shock for the audience, because before this point he has been pretty mellow and content. Other notable performances are Julianne Moore, Heather Graham as the beautiful Rollergirl, John C. Reilly, and Mark Wahlberg, who delivers the performance of his career.

Boogie Nights is also a surprisingly original film, using common themes but filmed in its own sharp and realistic way. Anderson's approach has been fully captures these characters in a time when nothing seemed to be going wrong, or at least until the 80s arrive. From then on, things turn very dark indeed, and all signs of the recognisable characters and situations from the first part of the film have gone. This does not, however, reduce the high level of engaging entertainment that this film offers.

Boogie Nights was not a box-office success, earning only £2 million at cinemas in the UK. But this is not the film's, or the director's concern. Anderson recognises quality, not popularity, which is evident in his three other films, Hard Eight, Magnolia and Punch-Drunk Love. I would recommend this film to anyone who enjoys a simple parable filled with excellent and variable situations, because at the end of this film you will realize that Boogie Nights is a simple morality tale, but one which will stay in the mind days after you watch it. Boogie Nights is at once shocking, hilarious, devastating and both visually and audibly outstanding.
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Brilliant, Bold, Powerful!
hb_ver15 October 2002
Director Paul Thomas Anderson has created a fascinating account of a family of pornographers in the late 1970s. It is a frank, compelling, and disturbing vignette of unforgettable characters. Mark Whalberg (in his best performance to date) plays a well-endowed 17 year old who begins working in the porn industry under porn director Burt Reynolds (in an Oscar nominated performance). John C. Reilly plays a fellow porn star, Julianne Moore (never better) as a famous porn queen, Philip Seymour Hoffman as a timid homosexual porn crew member, William H. Macy as a fatalistic loser who's wife is always cheating on him, and Heather Graham (Reynolds daughter) as a rising porn star. Everybody does a fine job. The best scenes belong to former porn star couple Don Cheadle and Nicole Parker who add some of the comic relief to the film. What's intriguing is the way the actors interact with each other and the way they struggle to find their self-identity, plus a bravura script, colorful and startling cinematography, and a rousing rocking 70s soundtrack that make Boogie Nights one of the best films of 1997. It is a touching, humorous, and shocking film bursting with originality with an overall message of: redemption and forgiveness.
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Boogie Nights OR "How I learned to ignore the consequences, and love the freedom of the 1970's."
paul_monks8 August 2001
Boogie Nights is perhaps one of the greatest examples any would-be filmmaker should take a long hard look at. Sure, you could spend loads of quality time reviewing the clasics from Hitchcock to Scorsese; but lets follow suit for the modern generation and study half-heartedly.

Where to begin, I suppose one could look at the film as simply a story, perhaps even docudrama which focuses on the late 1970's porn industry-and what an industry it was! The other half could focus on the incredible detail one brillant filmmaker can achieve simply by using polyester and *ahem* rubber. But honestly, Boogie Nights brings back the pure, no-bul!shi$, in your face kind of cinema I haven't experienced since the film greats of the 1970's...ironic...or stroke of genius. The story is full of richly detailed characters, all of which you either can relate too, love, or hate; but the impact is clear-you are feeling something for them. Among the characters the two performances which stand out are: Burt Reynolds as Director Jack Horner, and Mark Wahlberg as Eddie Adams/Dirk Diggler. Julianne Moore is also brillant, as is Heather Graham...but if I focus on any one actor it would have to be John C. Reilly. John's performance is a perfect balance of comedic timing and character driven emotion...I'm a sucker for the line "Ever see the movie Star Wars?...People say I look like Han Solo." Anyway, the look of the film is incredible, the Director of Photography and Director/Writer/Producer, have come up with a vibrant colour, and flashy style that compares to Martin Scorsese, and Stanley Kubrick(in terms of his perfection of his craft); but with creating his own unique look, and pushing the edge with the longest single shot I'ver ever seen...that being the New Year's party sequence.

The music, like in any great film, is a character of its own. At times, it consumes oneself with sorrow or grief...but mainly its all about fun, dancing, and having a good time; the spirit of the 1970's. OK, back to the performances.

Burt Reynolds plays the character of Jack Horner, a porn director who feels the burden of what the future of "film" means to his genre. The awful transition from shooting on film to recording on magnetic tape. The lose of his art, as it were...and the changes in mentality to the people he works with. Walhberg adds the perfect blend of innocense and sexual bravado needed for the character. For all those individuals who have seen Burton's Planet of the Apes, pay no attention to the performance of Wahlberg in that boogie nights and see what a difference a good script can make!

Julianne Moore plays the would-be mother to all, and with that comes the torment and anguish she feels, as life imitates art; and she loses all those close to her. Heather Graham is the eye-candy, but later holds her own, and steals some of the scenes from even the great Mr. Reynolds himself. Each character is multidimensional, rich with life, and performed by actors that seem to be picture perfect for the part.

The film itself is often funny, tragic, exciting, and provides a uncompromising look into the turblulant lifestyle of the fast-pace 1970's. It makes no excuses, and tells no lies; and offers the audience a trip back. But even more importantly, the movie gives us a grand example of how films should be made; and a new director whose bold visions bring back art in film.
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Fantastic use of camerawork and of pop culture, get ready for a movie that will make you laugh, tense, cry, and make you squeamish
miralvr5 August 1998
Boogie Nights is an excellent picture. You don't have to have be a part of the whole 70's scene either to appreciate it. The title is very misleading to some who do not generally read reviews beforehand. This movie is an exhilerating piece on a late 70's-early 80's porn star. Yes, it sounds like a very simple plot and much gratutious sex. But it's so much more. While you may be thrown off by the violence and the sexuality Boogie Nights is nowhere near pointless. It features great acting all across the board-even Reynolds is very sympathetic. Some advice though, seeing this movie more than once is a good idea. It grows on you. This movie takes you to the deep down threshold of your heart. It shows you the rise of a porn star and the downhill spiral that follows it. Even in some of the sleaziest of characters can a human being be reached out to. Rent this one tonight - and who cares about all that talk about the use of prosthetics anyway. This is the pulp fiction of the 70's porn industry, "a low class subject made in a high class way".
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an odd family
mandyhd8 August 2001
Boogie Nights is full of surprises, nothing quite prepares one for it its soul. Yes, it does have soul, whilst tackling the tackiest of subject matter, with both a wry smile and respect. Brillantly cast and wonderful character development, the performances somehow combine the best of stage acting with improvisation within a cinema verite style.

The plot proved richer than I expected and the underlying themes are teased out quite profoundly as each "B grade" human being is brought, through crisis, into perspective.

A sociologist's dream case study, the film resonates the raw truth of what we all know about self-esteem, parental love and lack of it, attention/love deficit and its manifestation in adulthood, the desperate need to belong. Something for everyone here.. almost camouflaged as issues of untouchables and their separate milieu but of course they are universal.

The film works on a number of levels. The ironic loop is that the milieu portrayed exists only because of the voyeur, who happens to be watching the film...

Boogie Nights is non judgmental of its subject matter and characters, a rarity. It deserves every accolade it has achieved and more.
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An example of film making at its most incredible.
triple821 February 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Boogie Nights is one of the best films to come out of the 90's and I'd go so far as to say it should be in the IMDb top 250. I can actually understand why many would dislike it, due to the subject matter. I personally feel however as many do, judging from the aclaim this film's received by viewers and critics that it's topnotch film making.

The direction and acting in this film surpass good and reach the level of brilliance.There is not one scene in this movie that isn't amazing. The individual characters reach out and touch you. Given that this is a movie about the porn industry, one wouldn't imagine the sex scenes could be handled with such sensitivity but they are. The direction is among the best I've ever seen-and I've seen a lot of films.

The film isn't about one particular personal individual's story, it's about many.It's a character study about people who have many layers to them and who maybe in an industry most would find alien but who still dream the same dreams and have both bad and good to them. Boogie Nights draws you into their story from the beginning, and though the film is long(I believe almost 3 hours) you honestly don't even notice. And when it ends you kind of don't want it to....

I'm not easy to impress, meaning there aren't many movies I'd give a 10 of 10 rating to but this is one. Beyond the multiple character study, is the use of music in the film. I have never, in all my years of seeing movies seen music tell a story as well as in this movie.There was such flawlessness to it, you know it's not something your gonna see everyday.

Burt reynold's performance was perhaps the best I've ever seen him do, and Mark Wahlberg is incredible(I'm astounded there are still people saying he doesn't act well. I don't know how anyone viewing this could possibly think that)but the person who really surprised me was Heather Grahem(Rollergirl) who is absolutely fantastic in her role, in particular the one memorable scene with Burt Reynolds in the Limo, towards the end.

Again, I'll echo other IMDb reviewers in saying this movie is not for everybody. But I still think this was topnotch.10 of 10.
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Quite simply, a modern masterpiece
Cathy Young15 May 2000
Warning: Spoilers

"Boogie Nights" may well be the best film of the 1990s. I cannot remember the last time I was so overwhelmed by a new film.

Interestingly, I was not planning to see it. I knew nothing about the director, I've never cared for Burt Reynolds, and the only thing I knew about Mark Wahlberg is that he had been an annoying boy singer and Calvin Klein model. Nor was I all that interested in seeing the story of an extremely well-endowed porn star.

A couple of months ago, I tuned in, about 20 minutes into the film, when "Boogie nights" was on cable -- and I was hooked. I have seen the entire film twice, and it has become one of my favorites.

First of all, P.T. Anderson is brilliant ... it's daunting to think he was only 27 when "BN" was made. Despite the "borrowing" from Scorsese and Altman, I believe he brings a profoundly individual vision to his work. What sets him apart is that his keen observation and satirical vision are enhanced by warmth, compassion, indeed love for the people who populate his film.

Is Anderson "judgmental" toward his characters? A friend who watched "BN" at my suggestion said that one thing he loved about the film is that it's moral but not moralistic. Anderson makes it clear that these people's lifestyle is often destructive. The critics who complained about the abrupt shift from hedonistic fun in the '70s to horror and disintegration in the '80s were mistaken. The first half has many intimations of darkness: the girl who ODs on coke at Jack's party, face streaked with blood, limbs twitching; Amber's son trying in vain to reach her at the party; Little Bill's anguish at his wife's infidelities. Clearly, too, most of these people aren't very smart, and their pretensions -- Dirk's belief in his stardom, Jack's belief in his "art" -- are ridiculous. Yet we never lose connection with their basic humanity. When Amber/Maggie is denied visitation with her son, we know it was probably the right decision yet we sympathize with her anguish.

It's the ultimate cliche to say that a film will make you laugh and cry. With "BN," it happens to be true. The "Brock Landers" clips and the preparations for Eddie/Dirk's porno debut are just two of the riotously funny scenes. On the other hand, the confrontation between Eddie and his mother or the scene of Dirk coming back to Jack asking for help have more genuine emotion and poignancy in a few brief minutes than there was in all of "Titanic." And some scenes are both comical and moving (Amber and Rollergirl talking as they snort coke, Scotty making a pass at Dirk).

This film will also make you think, without beating you over the head with a message (the way "Three Kings" does, for instance). Many say that its theme is family; but equally important is the theme of self-deception. Most of the characters are prisoners of their dreams and delusions. For Jack and Dirk, it's the delusions of glory and greatness; in Amber's case, her self-image as a good mother. (Right after telling Dirk she sees him as a son, she introduces him to cocaine -- his eventual undoing.) Why do Jack and Rollergirl unleash their fury on Rollergirl's former classmate? Because, with his comment on how squalid their lives actually are, reality intrudes on their self-enclosed world of illusion, and they can't take it.

There's no real "happy ending," either. At the end, Jack has reconciled himself to being a rich hack. A wistful-looking Amber sits at her makeup table; while Jack tells her she's the "foxiest bitch in the world," clearly her looks will be more and more difficult to keep up. As for Dirk, he has presumably kicked the drug problem and is back working, looking slick yet somehow lifeless. Note that in the infamous final shot, when he exposes his penis in front of the mirror, we don't see his face. He has been dehumanized, reduced to a sex machine -- and that's all there will ever be for him. (Think of the early scene of Eddie telling his girlfriend, "I'm going to be a star, a big bright shining star," his eyes gleaming, his voice aglow with hope, and contrast it with him saying at the end, "I am a star. A big bright shining star" -- his voice flat, his face invisible ... the real "star" is his penis.)

Despite the film's setting in the porn industry, I think "BN" has something to say about the larger culture of media glitz and celebrity-seeking.

A word about the acting. Burt Reynolds is superb; Julianne Moore truly shines. (It takes courage for a female movie star to take on a part where she often appears physically unattractive.) Philip Seymour Hoffman, Alfred Molina, John C. Reilly and Heather Graham stand out in a supporting cast that doesn't have a single bad performance. As for Mark Wahlberg, he proves himself to be one of the finest young actors working today. He is utterly convincing as he shows Eddie/Dirk's evolution from an eager-to-please, innocently amoral kid with a dopey but radiant smile to an obnoxious, egomaniacal, paranoid prima donna, and then the despair of his downfall. During the drug-deal scene, there's a close-up of his face for more than a minute, with no dialogue, and he conveys a complex range of emotion as Dirk "spaces out" listening to "Jesse's Girl" -- obviously thinking of better days, then of how low he has fallen -- and then snaps back to reality and is terrified.

"BN" is not without weaknesses. A few scenes are too long; the theme of Amber's "mother" role is overemphasized; a few plot strands are left unresolved (were there any legal consequences to Jack's and Rollergirl's assault on the guy in the limo, or to the drug deal/attempted robbery that ended in two dead bodies?). But these are minor flaws in a near-perfect work.
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fearless sophomore effort from a very talented writer/director
sweet_love29 July 2002
One of my absolute favorite movies. Relaxed by the opening circus theme and then blasted by "Best of My Love," no movie has ever grabbed my attention so fast as with Boogie Nights. The opening steady-cam shot is one of the best. The rest of the movie doesn't drop off a bit. The music, the costumes, the shots and the drama are all phenomenal. The humor is great, too, and what makes it truly funny is that most of the time the characters aren't even trying to be funny. Just when it seems like PTA won't be able to top himself, the next scene brings with it something even more brilliant. And of course the ending...

What else can I say, I love this movie. Paul Thomas Anderson, you got "the touch."
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A great film
ckad794 December 2003
One of the things that I like about PT Anderson, is that he has the guts to take talent that most people push to the side or have pushed to the side and makes them stars. Case in point, a washed-up... Burt Reynolds delivers a great performance in this film. And if proving Adam Sander can be a great actor (Punch Drunk Love) wasn't enough... here comes Mark Whalburg... like you've never seen before.

I think many people pass up "Boogie Nights" cause they are anti-porn, or just flat out hate the adult industry and can't overlook that aspect of this film. But underneath that is a great story about characters losing everything and battle to regain themselves. There is a beautiful film... and it's too bad that enough people see that.
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Another Academy snub!
WHughes014 May 2003
This is not so much of a review as it is a testament that it has been proven, yet again, that the Academy rewards money, not artistic accomplishment. And I must say I am saddened that this usually artistic and intelligent band of imbd members have left this off the top 250. Boogie Nights is powerful, raw, and gutsy through script, direction and acting. Very few movies can claim this triple crown.
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A film to remember Burt Reynolds by
Seth Barry28 October 2004
The brilliance of this story delivers at least one skillfully crafted message to each viewer in the audience. This story is about success, it's about failure. It's about the choices you make in life and the choices others make for you. The story deals with self realization and determination on a scale so large, no camera angle could cover it. Within the grasp of each scene is resides an element marked for depiction within your imagination. Keep this in mind as you watch the movie; it's more than eye candy. The sexually suggestive, rarely explicit scenes serve only to distract and entertain you during the tedious process of character development.
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Amazing Work of Cinema
mikey855014 January 2008
A small town kid working in a big city becomes a huge star and then spirals out of control. It shows you the rise to fame and then fall from fame and back to a little rise. Great cast of actors, and a great director = a great, great movie called Boogie Nights.

P.T Anderson. An amazing director who made Boogie Nights amazing. From the moment the movie starts to the moment it ends you can feel how beautiful this movie is. Some scenes are breathtaking, literally. A great story, a great movie. Mark Whalberg was fantastic, Philip Seymour Hoffman was wonderful as he is in everything. Thomas Jane also was magnificent and although he only had a small part he played it to perfection. There is one scene in this movie I can't get over, "The Drug Deal Gone Bad Scene" it was amazing, music acting and cinematography combined to make it amazing. I hadn't seen Boogie Nights and thank god I did, its so well rounded and I am now a HUGE fan of PTA (Paul Thomas Anderson).

Do whatever you have to do and watch this movie.
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The Highs and Lows of the Porn Industry
freemantle_uk24 May 2010
Warning: Spoilers
The late 70s and 80s were seen as a Golden Age of the Pornography Industry in America, based San Fernando Valley. This was a period known for pornographers attempting tell a story in their films. With his first major film Paul Thomas Anderson uses this period as a backdrop for his wonderfully told drama.

Eddie (Mark Wahlberg) was a 17-year-old high school dropout, working as a dishwasher at a small nightclub. Eddie is spotted by Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds) who hears that the kid was well endowed. After Eddie was kicked out his home by his mother Jack and his partner Amber Waves (Julianne Moore) takes Eddie under their collective wing. Eddie quickly makes friends with porn actors Reed Rothchild (John C. Reilly) and Rollergirl (Heather Graham). Jack convinces Eddie to become a porn actor himself. Eddie renames himself Dirk Digger and he quickly becomes one of the biggest name porn stars around. Eddie/Dirk believes in Jack ideal of telling a proper story in his porn films. But fame is a fickle thing with the porn industry changing and Eddie/Dirk's own person problems pushing him back.

Anderson shows his talent as a director early on in the film with an amazing opening sequence with was a 3 minute long continuous shot. He expertly handles the drama, showing both a colourful party side to the late 70s/early 80s to more darker elements which was bound to happen considering it's plot. Anderson perfectly treads a fine line between comedy and tragedy. Anderson mixes in a lot of style to his film with some well handed shots, excellent cinematography and some stylist camera tricks. There was an strong influence from Martin Scorsese behind this film. The plot does have a similar to films like Scarface and Goodfellas where the protagonist starts from a low point to getting fame, money and power to them losing it because of their own arrogance. Boogie Nights is also shot in a similar style to those two films and the ending was a little like Raging Bull, but Anderson's skill made it seem more like a homage then directly coping those films. Anderson mixes in a few themes into his film: one being an very unorthodox way to fulfil the American Dream and use what ever asset you have available to you. They is of course an in-depth look into the plot industry with Anderson showing that whilst some actors may have a tough or unusual background they were willing and happy within the industry and Jack is made out to be a more noble type of director, wanting to at least tell a story in his films. There is also a darker look into why people get involved and the world of excess that inhabited this world but Anderson was darning to show some sort of a positive spin. Anderson also tackles how the porn industry changed in this period and became more of horrid mass produced product.

There is a great cast in this film. Wahlberg, Reilly, Reynolds, Moore, Graham, Philip Seymour Hoffman, William H. Macy and Robert Ridgely, all offer good performances. Wahlberg is of course very good in the lead role and his character grows and changes throughout the film and showed the emerging talent he was about to become. Boogie Nights was easily Reynolds and Graham's best film, showing the two are good actors, showing their dark side in the process. Moore and Reynolds were very believable in the mentor role of the film and that Moore's character was filled with heartbreak and tragedy. There were simple, powerful scenes in the film involving some of the characters, such as between Reynolds and Ridgely in prison, a wonderfully handled scene and a small scene with Hoffman crying in his car, a bitter, raw scene that was very real. Hoffman is one of the best character actors in Hollywood.

An excellent film that shows American film-making at its best.
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Boogie Nights
FilmFanatic097 December 2006
Warning: Spoilers
"Boogie Nights" is one of those films which can be classified a multitude of ways. It can easily be viewed as period piece, a character study, or a social commentary, among other things. Anyway you look at it, it proves to be an effective piece of film-making. A key to this success is the performance of Mark Wahlberg. Watching him make the transformation for clean-cut kid Eddie Adams to porn superstar Dirk Diggler is what keeps the audience invested in the story being told. In the first half of the film, when it's the most crucial, Wahlberg is able to maintain such innocence and charisma and yet seems instantly at home in the new decadent world his character finds himself in. These scenes work greatly to the film's advantage because they are played with such earnestness. Seeing Eddie Adams embark on his new career, we might as well be watching Peggy Sawyer (of "42nd Street") being told she's headed to Broadway. The whole thing just feels so unexpectedly clean, which in turn may be something of a setup for the much darker moments to come.

Admittedly, the rise (in the late 70s) and fall (in the early 80s) of the pornography industry is an area of history we don't learn about in school. But it is a legitimate topic of interest, nonetheless. While it certainly contains humor and a plethora of colorful characters, "Boogie Nights" takes itself seriously. Aside from sex as a business, issues such as race relations, homophobia, and drug abuse, prove vital to the story it is telling. Another overriding theme of the film is the classic notion of fame as a double-edged sword. One heart wrenching plot line involves a porn actress, gently portrayed by the always wonderful Julianne Moore, who is engaged in a custody battle with her estranged husband over their children. The irony here is that throughout the film we have seen how naturally she mothers those around her, and yet she is ultimately deemed unfit to be a mother to her own children. I'm not saying that decision is wrong, but it isn't easy to watch as she's forced to accept it either.

If in fact porn can ever be inspiring, it is something of an inspiration to see the concern the filmmakers within this film put upon themselves for producing a product they can be proud of. They strive to create movies their audiences will appreciate for reasons beyond the sex. We witness their creative process behind James Bond's porno counterpart, Brock Landers, from brainstorming through production. We see the adult industry's equivalent of the Academy Awards ceremony. It is only when we remind ourselves that these people are pornographers does any of this seem the least bit perverse. I strongly feel that this film is in no way trying to glamorize porn. (The ultimate fates of some of its characters are proof enough of that.) I do, however, feel that sometimes we are too quick to demonize based on preconceived notions. The characters we meet here are all consenting adults, engaged in a lucrative business. True, they are flirting with a myriad of dangers. But this film does them a great justice. It allows us to understand the psychology at work behind the choices they make. And it does us a justice too. It lets us choose whether or not we condemn them for it.
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An acting arena where Reynolds and Molina compete for the championship.
selimkuris30 January 2008
God, do I miss those years. If you are the one remembering Commodore64, He-man, songs with newly invented electronic sounds, you are an 80's guy too. It's the era when the increasing trend of the entertainment industry was just about to peak, and everything were shiny than ever. As I see it, Boogie Nights is the best adaptation that flashbacks the audience to that decade, even better than "Munich" which zooms to another perspective but on the same age.

Paul Thomas Anderson is truly a brilliant director/writer considering his other movies, "There will be blood" and "Magnolia". On Boogie Nights he tries to reveal the insights of adult movie industry with messed up characters having bitter life stories, with a tremendous approach than ever. The actors are so well chosen that I can not imagine this movie without any single one of them, casting made a "bull's eye" selection on this one. Mark Wahlberg was great for the role of Dirk Diggler, a confused kid, trying to be somebody in big town, appreciated by others with his gift (?). Especially I loved him at the scene where he just stares on empty space for 50 seconds in Rahad's mansion, giving the summary of the movie and letting audience to feel free to guess what he may be thinking. He is simply great as well as Julianne Moore, a drug-addict porn-star/mother desperately trying to get the custody of her son, Don Cheadle, another star trying to find out ways to get by besides playing in movies, William H. Macy, a recessive husband with a morally disturbed wife, Philip Seymour Hoffman, a poor sound recorder who can not control or express his homosexual urges, John C. Reilly, the long-life partner of Eddie "Dirk Diggler", and Heather Graham, the sweet Rollergirl.

As for Burt Reynolds, I can not find the exact words to express my thoughts for his acting. He is truly amazing for the "Jack Horner" character who is trying to be an art-man in this difficult sector. Jack Horner is the director of adult films in the movie, trying to prove that the industry may grow with the help of directors, as himself, having artistic approaches. He believes and cares for his actors so well that instead of his directing job, he tries to help the characters in their daily messed up lives. While Reynolds gives his full effort on this one, I can not pass the great acting of Alfred Molina, as freaky Rahad Jackson, who was just on the screen for approximately 10 minutes of the whole 156 minutes movie, but he performs a tremendous job as good as Judi Dench in "Shakespeare in Love" and deserves at least a nomination for an Academy Award.

The songs are so well placed in the movie that besides the art direction; the music you hear will blow your mind and simply take you to those years. I want to congratulate the music supervisors for shaping up the movie just for our taste.

It's a real travesty that this picture was only nominated for 3 Oscars in the lousy Oscar year when the 2.5 hours of hollow steel, Titanic, swept most of the awards. Just like "Shawshank Redemption", this movie was so unlucky to be released on a year when a major shiny blockbuster manipulated the members of the Academy.

I truly recommend it to drama lovers and but also warn parents to keep their youngsters away from this movie, because of too many explicit scenes.

My Rate: **** out of ****
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This movie is pure genious.
kovy7710 March 2003
When I first heard about this movie, I thought it was gonna be graphic, with no story and very bad acting. Boy, was i wrong. The movie was like nothing I had ever seen up until then and I don't think any movie has compared to it since.The story telling was great and the acting was top notch, performed by one of the best all around casts ever put together. Everyone has one special thing, and thanks to P.T Anderson, we all have this movie to enjoy.
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Get Past The Theme And Watch It
Ari-817 January 1999
Being Saturday evening (comedy night in our house),my wife and I sat down to watch a supposedly funny movie called "Boogie Nights". The only thing I had heard about it was that my sister-in-law told us not to see it because it was bawdy and she walked out, so right away I knew it was worth watching. This movie was nothing like we thought it was going to be like--it was a fantastic and quite involving drama, which deserved a few Oscars. The time frames from the early 70's to the mid 80's were flawless, and the "glamor" of the porn industry was effectively dispelled by the portrayal of the stars. One of the most memorable scenes of all times, in my opinion was the drug deal gone bad, the firecrackers, the guy in the bathrobe and the utter uneasiness of the deposed porn stars as we listened to "Jessie's Girl" and "Sister Christian". Burt Reynolds was great as Jack Horner, the director who made money with young energy and the coming trends, but realized he had to be "father" to all those aging stars who had nowhere else to go once the bright lights began to flicker and the money was getting thin.
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A very well told story; "Short Cuts" with lots of sex.
Stu-528 May 1999
This is an excellent movie that is vibrant, colourful and powerful. The performances are all very good, but the big surprise is the return of Burt Reynolds. His performance is the most notable, and he duly rewarded with a Golden Globe and an Academy Award nomination. Boogie Nights is about the pornography industry in the 70's, and how it all fell apart in the 80's. The first half, revolving around the 70's, is plausible and believable; entertaining and informative. Although the film falls apart in the second half, and descends into a lot of unnecessary, graphic violence.

Eddie Adams (Mark Wahlberg) is the protagonist of the movie. He is spotted one night at a club by porn king Jack Warner (Reynolds), and is offered a deal to star in a movie. Warner remarks that, "I just know there's somethin' wonderful under those jeans just waitin' to get out." And that marks the entrance for Eddie into the sleazy, slutty, though human world of porn and sex. Boogie Nights follows his first appearance as a naive young actor to a drug hampered, egomaniacal lunatic who spirals down into the world of crime and Cocaine. Along the way, it deals with sub plots dealing with pornography and the surrogate families that establish themselves amidst the echelons; the prejudice that society carries to porn stars and the dirty, utterly disgraceful life they lead.

Although the film deals with sex and porn, there is not an obscene amount of it, and the director censors these scenes so it is not explicit. The viewers gather that Eddie Adams (or Dirk Diggler, the pseudonym he assumes for acting) has a prodigious member lurking under his jeans. But, until the final scene, all we see to indicate that is the stunned reactions by peers and onlookers.

The script is very good, but the film is overly long. It could be called an epic at a length of 155 minutes, but the time passes quickly. Despite Boogie Nights' flaws and shortfalls, it is a very good movie worthy of the acclaim it received.

Nine out of ten.
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Not to be missed!
runamokprods7 November 2010
One of my favorite films of the last 20 years. Funny, sad, wildly brave visually. This is brash, bold filmmaking, featuring amazing use of music - both period songs and score.

Somehow this manages uses the world of porn film-making to examine families, American politics in the 70s and 80s and all sorts of serious themes while also being a flat out blast to watch. It was criticized a bit on release for plagiarizing Scorsese, especially 'Goodfellas', but to me this is homage in the best sense. Taking great work done by others and building on it to create something new. Indeed, the excitement I had on first seeing it reminded me of my first falling in love with Scorsese's kinetic work as a young film fan many years ago.
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Thomas Anderson staked his claim to auteur status with his ambitious pornography and family epic Boogie Nights.
G K2 September 2010
Warning: Spoilers
A boyish young waiter (Mark Wahlberg) makes it big as a performer in the adult film industry of the 1970s, only to succumb to excess a decade later. Although fictional, the film is based on a number of real porn actors and films from that era, and it features several cameos by real porn stars.

Director Paul Thomas Anderson announced himself in sensational style with a sub-cultural epic that (un)covers both porn's heyday and its demise into videotaped product throughout the 1980s. With half-a-dozen or so performances that might have won Oscars were the clips not so R-rated, it's surprisingly sweet in its portrayal of an extended family of porno-folk, while never far from harsh truths about human desires.
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Heatwave MIA, all else A-OK
nixskits4 December 2009
When a film's title comes from a song, you just expect it to be in the film! I don't know why this eponymous tune isn't, but that's a very minor quibble. Paul Anderson has demonstrated since this masterpiece came out that he's no one trick pony, with one bold story after another and no treading on the same terrain like some other directors we could name.

His script is sprawling, in the best sense of the term. So many people looking for happiness and finding it interwoven with pain, boredom, cyclical frustration and growing, if not wiser, certainly older. The song titles are like what silent movie insert cards were so many years ago and push the drama along. "Fooled Around and Fell In Love", "Do Your Thing", "Ain't No Stopping Us Now", "Brand New Key", "Livin' Thing"... they pretty much speak for Dirk Diggler/Eddie Adams and his voyage.

The barely old enough to shave youth takes all the tests the world has to offer and with his wide eyed self absorbing it all in, he becomes a person who gets in over his head before his head even leaves his pillow in the morning. Mark Wahlberg ended any doubts as to whether he was a gifted actor with his firecracker performance. Eddie became "Dirk" and nothing is ever the same for him and the motley crew he adopts as his new family.

Burt Reynolds gives a beautifully philosophical touch to his Jack the director. Having reached an age when he can look back on his half decade stint as the top box office star with some wisdom, now a lifetime of seeing the rise and fall of many actors (including himself) gives the role great depth. Who understands the excitement, ennui, despair and release of stardom better?

The late, great Bob Ridgely appears as the Colonel, the ever reliable Wiiliam H. Macy plays Little Bill like his life depends on it and the incomparable Philip Baker Hall lends his regal presence to a tiny, but huge in impact appearance. Heather Graham, Joanna Gleason and Julianne Moore are more believable women than 99% of the female roles other actresses get to play. The rest, too many to all list, are just so wonderful, this is one of the few films which deserved the kind of cast award SAG gives out. It's an acting picture as much as a writer's or director's.
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A Modern Gone With The Wind
brainofj724 May 2006
There are certain taboos a director doesn't dare touch when he wants to become a "respected filmmaker". In my opinion, it takes a truly gifted director to incorporate such themes in their work while still keeping widely acknowledged critical credibility. For instance, Stanley Kubrick was a master at this. He touched on subjects as pedophilia, rape, and even the horror genre, and he never lost an ounce of brilliance nor credibility. Coming off his modest, low-key debut Hard Eight, Paul Thomas Anderson made an extremely bold decision on the subject matter of his follow-up: the adult film industry.

There is a certain indefinable mastery that seemed to flow through the veins of young directors in the 1970s. Films like The Godfather, Chinatown, and Apocalypse Now had it on rampant display. Anderson is one of the very few modern filmmakers with this mastery within him.

Boogie Nights opens with an explosion of color and sound as the camera glides through a bustling street of '70s nightlife with liquid ease. We are introduced to the cast one by one in a nightclub before finally arriving at a young busboy (Wahlberg). Adult film tycoon Jackie Treehorne (Reynolds) spots him and immediately knows he is something special. He is correct, as this busboy is endowed with an enormous "talent", if you will. Treehorne takes him under his wing and nurtures him into the biggest thing in the industry (no pun intended).

Never before has a modern film encapsulated the spirit, fashion, and sound of the 1970s as well as Boogie Nights. The soundtrack is incessantly infectious, the sets and wardrobe vibrant, and even the cinematography is lush and colorful.

The 1980s start off with the bang of a suicide on midnight of January 1st. Thus begins the fall of class and decency (if that's what you want to call it) in the porn industry. I would say that the early half of this decade is nothing but drugs, sex, and debauchery, but those were the '70s. Those were the good times. No, the '80s are filled with violence, serious drug addiction, despair, and the general fall of the mighty.

As I have said, Boogie Nights is a fantastic sensory experience. However, its real strengths lie in its characters. It may sound odd to hear Boogie Nights described as an epic, but it really is. In a lot of ways, it's a modern Gone With The Wind. It doesn't make itself big through massive sets and thousands of extras, but through the journey it takes us through with the characters over the span of two decades: the rise, the top, the fall, the bottom, and the triumphant return.

And Anderson orchestrates it all with a presence, ease, confidence, and mastery atypical of a director on his second film. The music is perfect. The visuals are perfect. The acting is perfect. The editing is perfect. The writing is perfect. The direction is perfect. Anderson makes his cinematic influences subtle yet apparent, and even his obvious influence Martin Scorsese could not have pulled this film off as impeccably as he.

It would have been easy for a filmmaker to turn Boogie Nights into a parody of the pornography industry. After all, it's not exactly held in high regard. But Anderson crafts a loving portrait of these characters, and the audience likes and cares about them just as much as he does. Boogie Nights is a funny, depressing, uplifting, exciting, heartbreaking, and strangely beautiful film. It truly is a masterpiece in every sense of the word.
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A gutsy effort... and extremely well-made.
TOMASBBloodhound22 May 2005
P.T. Anderson's Boogie Nights is basically a character study of porn industry participants between the years of 1977-1984. We see much of the film through the eyes of a young man who takes the industry by storm at the tender age of 17. We see his rise during the care-free innocence of the later 70s and we witness him bottom out in the early 80s. We are also introduced to several other performers, filmmakers, hangers on, and criminals. Cocaine seems to be the catalyst behind much of the action. This type of film might have been laughable if made by a director with less talent, but Anderson's unique style and skills make it a winner.

Mark Wahlberg plays our young stud who takes the name of "Dirk Diggler". He's apparently a high school dropout with an enormous penis who catches the attention of a porn director played by Burt Reynolds. Wahlberg's performance begins as properly understated, then seems to grow with the character. Reynolds hasn't been this good since Smokey and the Bandit. The rest of the cast reads like a "who's who" of the more respected actors of our day. Don Cheadle is outstanding as a young man who takes pride in his "acting", but really wants to open up a stereo store more than anything else. Julianne Moore is is also very good as the maternal figure of the troupe who has basically adopted the younger actors as her own children to replace her real son lost in a custody dispute. There is simply not enough space here to give credit to everyone who acted superbly in this film.

Anderson's skill with the camera is on display in numerous shots. Many have been used elsewhere, but he knows how to work them into his story. Many of the scenes take place in crowded rooms or at parties where all kinds of interesting things are going on. His technique often takes us from one room to another, then perhaps outside so we don't miss a thing. The use of soundtrack is perhaps the best of any film I've ever seen. In fact, it IS the best. With so many great songs of the period at his disposal, he works two discs worth into the story. Nothing seems excessive or out of place.

If one fault can be found with this film, then I would have to say it would be too much violence in the last half hour. Any industry that deals in sex and drugs to that extent is bound to encounter violence in some circles, but Boogie Nights over does it. I counted no less than five extremely bloody scenes. In one, a VERY young woman overdoses on coke and breaks a blood vessel in her nose. There are several gunshot victims. But the most over-the-top scene would have to be the one where Heather Graham stomps on the head of a young man with her roller skates. The manner in which she comes in contact with him is contrived to the point of hysteria, then the scene ends in such a brutal assault that you'll hardly be able to control your skepticism. The fact that the consequences of the assault are not even revealed to the audience (at least not in any version of the film I've seen) makes you wonder why Anderson thought to include it at all. It was just a means for the young woman to get some revenge on a guy who made fun of her way back in high school. Nothing more.

The film lacks any scene which inspires any true sexual feeling from anyone I've ever talked to. This was indeed intended. The sex in the film is all about business, though Graham's brief nude scene was well appreciated. The film is also lacking in any kind of judgment or moral lesson. We are merely introduced to these characters, then we see what happens to them. Despite a near documentary point of view, the film never bogs down or fails to keep one's interest. The film didn't make that much money, but it has earned the distinction of being one of the better films made in the 1990s. A reputation well-deserved.

9 of 10 stars from The Hound.
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A fascinating film with the best Burt Reynolds role ever
d858thompson21 February 2005
This is really an outstanding movie. I saw this film before I stopped watching "R" rated films. This film has so many layers and so much texture and so many amazing things about it that you can watch it over and over and over again and see amazing, new things each time. The scenes are so beautifully developed that you forget you are watching a movie about pornography. What I like about this film is that it takes it's own sweet time to develop a scene. Sequences that are like a dance almost because they work so well together. Mark Wahlberg gives a great performance, one that really should have been an Oscar contender. You know who really deserved a nomination, right along with Burt Reynolds? Robert Ridgely as the Colonel. He was awesome. Does anyone else agree with that? Also, the biggest snub in Oscar history. Why didn't he win? What was up with that? I can't even think of who was nominated that year but he was awesome! Phillip Seymour Hoffman? Great as well. William H. Macy? Alfred Molina? Amazing. Another thing in this film I really like is the music. It fits the story so well - anyway - it's a great film.
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