Boogie Nights

Newcity Chicago

DIRECTED BY: Paul Thomas Anderson

REVIEWED: 10-27-97

Anderson's epic-length portrait of a surrogate family -- damaged souls seeking a little dignity while churning out porno movies in L.A.'s San Fernando Valley in the late 1970s is nonjudgmental, but there's a keen intelligence at work in shaping the gaudy set pieces and potentially trashy drama. Offhandedly witty and sleekly paced, it's a terrific, energetic commercial picture. "Boogie Nights" is about shallow people with shallow dreams. They wouldn't know what to do with their fantasies if they came true, because they do, and everything goes crazy anyway. What does Anderson think? It takes some time to figure it out -- and probably a lot of heated discussions, a sure side effect to an almost-certain hit. "Boogie Nights" takes place between the late 1970s when porn was shot on film, and the early 1980s when cheap, fast video took over. Burt Reynolds, grave yet wry, is Jack Horner, a maker of smut who somehow thinks he can elevate the form. Julianne Moore is his troubled wife, using the nom de porn Amber Waves. Their coterie of cast-and-crew misfits grows by one when Horner encounters nightclub busboy Eddie Adams (Mark Wahlberg). Horner sizes Eddie up as a prime prospect for exotic stardom, a confused young man with a particular gift to whom Horner says, more businessman than hedonist, "I bet you have something wonderful in your pants wanting to get out." The greatest strength of Anderson's work is perhaps the earnestness of his characters, their clueless desire to somehow better themselves. They dream, they scheme, they fail." As Anderson puts it, "They're just fucking trying to scrape something up from this life." 154m.

--Ray Pride

Full Length Reviews
Boogie Nights
Boogie Nights
Boogie Nights
Boogie Nights
Boogie Nights
Boogie Nights
Boogie Nights
Boogie Nights
Boogie Nights

Capsule Reviews
Boogie Nights
Boogie Nights

Other Films by Paul Thomas Anderson
Magnolia

Film Vault Suggested Links
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