Take a Drink: every time someone does drugs
Take a Drink: every time Dirk Diggler and Reed Rothchild have a dumb idea or plan.
Do a Shot: every time there is nudity (or implied nudity)
Finish your Drink: at the end of the movie when you see Dirk Diggler’s “bright shining star”
By: Movie Snurb (Two Beers) –
Boogie Nights is a Paul Thomas Anderson film about the rise and fall of Eddie Adams, A.K.A. Dirk Diggler (Mark Wahlberg), in the Porn industry during the 1970s and 80s. Diggler is discovered by Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds) while working in a night club and it’s found that he has the stamina and size for the Porn industry.
This film is full of all the glamour of the 70s porn industry and the downfalls that can come with that industry. It’s not PTA’s best film, but it’s definitely my personal favorite for the hilarity and tragedies that we witness during the film.
The film is very well cast; there isn’t a miscast in the film. Every character major and minor shines in this film; every actor does his or her job to stand out. Burt Reynolds even earned an Oscar nod for his job, however, it’s been said that he didn’t understand the role and even tried an Australian accent when film first began. I don’t see what is so hard to understand about Jack Horner, but I’ve seen the movie several times where Reynolds only got to read a script.
For minor characters, look no further than Philip Seymour Hoffman’s turn as a gay boom operator who is in love with Dirk Diggler. He almost steals the film, and he’s in it maybe a total of 15-20 minutes. Also the acting is great, which is either a credit to the casting director or a great script, or the actors are just supremely talented. I think it’s a combination of all three, which is why this film works so well.
Another aspect about this film is the long takes. I can think of three right off the bat, but there are probably more. The film’s over two and a half hours so give me a break.
The first shot is the opening scene, when we get to meet every major character in a 3 minute tracking shot through the night club that Mark Wahlberg gets discovered in.
The second long take is at the pool party where we get to meet “The Colonel”, who finances Jacks movies. This one is great because it goes from above water to into the pool and the music sounds as if we are actually going below water and back above the water again.
The last long take is during the New Year’s Eve party for the year 1980. (SPOILERS) We follow Bill (William H. Macy) into the party and go into the a back room but we don’t see anything. He comes back out to his car and then goes back into the room, and then we hear gun shots. Bill walks back into the party and kills himself. Bill’s wife liked to sleep around and Bill decided he had had enough. (SPOILERS OVER)The scene is great because we are not sure why we are following Bill but we know it’s important and we can’t look away from the screen. Long takes are fairly rare and this film has multiple ones. Paul Thomas Anderson is known for them, but not at this moment in his career, and with this film he definitely made people take notice.
The soundtrack is awesome, but of course when your soundtrack has two CDs, it should be pretty great. Just listening to the soundtrack will transport you to the 70’s and take you right through to the 80s; it also compliments the movie very well. Many times it’s a score that is needed to bring a film alive, but on very rare occasions (Empire Records, Dazed and Confused, The Big Chill) a soundtrack from various artists is exactly what is needed to illuminate a film. It’s got 70s disco, rock, and pop, and then some classic 80s pop and rock. The scene with “Sister Christian” by Night Ranger and “Jessie’s Girl” by Rick Springfield is one of the best scenes in the film.
That goes with my last aspect of the film that makes it great – the feel of the film. I love the 70s era; don’t ask me why, but if I could go back and live in any decade it would be the 1970s. The music, the films, the whole atmosphere- it just seems like a great time to be alive and this film captures that atmosphere. The film acts like a time machine and for two hours and thirty-five minutes we are taken to a place of glitz and glamour, a life many of us dream about but only a few of us get to experience. If I had a list of the coolest films to watch this would definitely make the cut.
My sole problem with this film is the length. Once Diggler begins his downfall, the film seems to meander and you begin to notice its length. It’s important to watch Diggler hit rock bottom, but I think a scene or two would’ve sufficed instead of almost half the film, though I must say watching Wahlberg and John C. Reilly try to make an album and its horrific result is really entertaining, but maybe it could’ve been in the director’s cut instead of in the theatrical version. If Anderson could’ve cut the film down to maybe an 135-minute run time I think it would be a perfect film.
Boogie Nights is a classic film with just a smidge too long of a run time. The acting is amazing, the cinematography and directing is something to definitely marvel at, and when the movie is over you can go buy the soundtrack and groove to all that jive music and keep that Boogie Nights vibe rollin’ and rollin’. I just love this film. I hope I’ve convinced you to check it out and hope you enjoyed the read.