Boogie Nights

Boogie Nights

4.6 14
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson

Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Burt Reynolds, Julianne Moore


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While set within the milieu of the Los Angeles adult film industry, Boogie Nights is less a film about pornography than the serio-comic story of a group of misfits, losers, and lost souls who are embraced by Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds), a director who makes "adult films, exotic motion pictures." In 1977, while hanging out at a disco, Jack spots Eddie (MarkSee more details below


While set within the milieu of the Los Angeles adult film industry, Boogie Nights is less a film about pornography than the serio-comic story of a group of misfits, losers, and lost souls who are embraced by Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds), a director who makes "adult films, exotic motion pictures." In 1977, while hanging out at a disco, Jack spots Eddie (Mark Wahlberg), the new busboy at the club, and tells him he's convinced "there's something wonderful inside those jeans waiting to get out." Jack knows his business well and his expert eye has not betrayed him; Eddie is a pornographer's dream -- good looking, remarkably endowed, and willing and able to do as many takes as might be needed. The product of a woefully dysfunctional upbringing, Eddie is not terribly bright but is very ambitious and eager to prove he has a "special something" to share with the world. Eddie changes his name to Dirk Diggler and quickly becomes the biggest star in hardcore. Working alongside "Dirk" in Jack's films are Amber Waves (Julianne Moore), a porn actress who applies her misplaced maternal instincts to anyone who needs nurturing; Rollergirl (Heather Graham), a cheerful but blank-faced high school drop-out who never removes her roller skates; Reed Rothchild (John C. Reilly), a none-too-bright actor, aspiring magician, and failing songwriter; Buck (Don Cheadle), a black actor fascinated with cowboy iconography who wants to open a stereo shop; Scotty J (Philip Seymour Hoffman), a stocky and awkward soundman infatuated with Dirk; Little Bill (William H. Macy), Jack's assistant director, who has trouble dealing with his wife's brazen infidelity; and Colonel James (Robert Ridgely), Jack's backer, who has a weakness for young girls. In the brief, late-'70s moment when porn was chic and sex films seemed poised to break into the mainstream, Dirk becomes a star and Jack a respected name. But a few years later, drugs and pride have taken their toll on Dirk and many of his friends, while the advent of the VCR radically changes the adult movie business; Jack goes from being a "filmmaker" to manufacturing and wholesaling videocassettes, a wealthy but emotionally broken man. In his second film, wunderkind director Paul Thomas Anderson juggled a broad range of characters in a manner reminiscent of Robert Altman's ensemble films, making Boogie Nights a sad but funny story of a makeshift family of damaged people and what happens before and after their brief moment in the sun.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Gregory Baird
"Everyone's blessed with one special thing," says Dirk Diggler (Mark Wahlberg), the porn-star hero of director Paul Thomas Anderson's sprawling Altman-esque ensemble drama Boogie Nights. Diggler is blessed with a very large "special thing," plus childlike enthusiasm, and both help catapult him to sex-film stardom under the guiding hand of adult-film director Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds). Set in late '7s and early '80s Los Angeles, Boogie Nights celebrates the era of eight-track tapes, disco, and cocaine. The times comevividly alive here, with a high-energy period soundtrack and a sharp cast that includes Julianne Moore (who earned an Oscar nomination for her role), Heather Graham, Don Cheadle, William H. Macy, John C. Reilly, and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Their beautifully rounded performances bring a lot of warmth and compassion to a story that has plenty of sex and drugs, but is ultimately about family and forgiveness. Wahlberg is winningly boyish in the lead, but it's Reynolds who holds the film together (he also got an Oscar nomination) with his portrayal of a curiously asexual porn auteur and patriarch of an offbeat clan.
All Movie Guide - Lucia Bozzola
Following his low-key debut Hard Eight (1996), Paul Thomas Anderson staked his claim to auteur status with his ambitious pornography and family epic Boogie Nights. Set in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the story of young porn star Dirk Diggler and his adult movie "family" upends convention, as Anderson non-judgmentally captures the spirited possibilities of '70s hedonism before it passed into a nakedly acquisitive, coke-fueled Reagan-era hell. Along with the period music, costumes, and décor, Anderson's bravura technique harks back to 1970s Hollywood, itself: there's a widescreen, Robert Altman-esque tapestry of characters; split-screen montage in the vein of Brian De Palma; audaciously assured Martin Scorsese-style long takes; and a final shot that pays homage to Raging Bull (1980). The sterling ensemble cast further brings Anderson's collection of dreamers to complex life, lending humane substance to the dazzling surface. In his best role in years, Burt Reynolds's nuanced turn as director Jack Horner earned him numerous critics' prizes and a long-desired Oscar nomination. Julianne Moore received equal approbation as maternal porn queen Amber Waves, while Mark Wahlberg's head-turning performance as Dirk proved that he was more than the sum of his body parts. Despite doubts over the film's latter half, Boogie Nights' accolades and prizes -- coupled with its decent box office returns and considerable longevity on video -- burnished Anderson's reputation as a new directorial star.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
New Line Home Video

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Mark Wahlberg Eddie Adams/Dirk Diggler
Burt Reynolds Jack Horner
Julianne Moore Amber Waves
John C. Reilly Reed Rothchild
Don Cheadle Buck Swope
Heather Graham Rollergirl
Philip Seymour Hoffman Scotty
William H. Macy Little Bill
Luis Guzman Maurice T. Rodriguez
Alfred Molina Rahad Jackson
Robert Ridgely The Colonel
Ricky Jay Kurt Longjohn
Philip Baker Hall Floyd Gondolli
Nina Hartley Little Bill's Wife
Melora Walters Jessie St. Vincent
Nicole Ari Parker Becky Barnett
Thomas Jane Todd Parker
Laurel Holloman Eddie's Girlfriend

Technical Credits
Paul Thomas Anderson Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Ted Berner Art Director
Mark Bridges Costumes/Costume Designer
Robert Elswit Cinematographer
Lawrence Gordon Executive Producer
Stephen Halbert Sound/Sound Designer
Lloyd Levin Producer
Daniel Lupi Co-producer
John Lyons Producer
Michael Penn Score Composer
Joanne Sellar Producer,Screenwriter
Christine Sheaks Casting
Sandy Struth Set Decoration/Design
Dylan Tichenor Editor
John Wildermuth Asst. Director
Bob Ziembicki Production Designer

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