Thursday, January 28, 2010

tm Does the QT 20 Part 12: Boogie Nights

Boogie Nights (dir. Paul Thomas Anderson – 1997)

The subject matter of this movie probably turned a lot of people away – a ‘behind the scenes’ look at the California porn industry in the late ‘70’s. Even though there’s a rise and fall and rise arc to the movie, I’m sure some people don’t want to see anything redemptive coming out of people being paid to screw each other so other people can watch. And then you’ve got the flip-side where some people involved in this industry are doing so with the conviction that they’re doing something creative and artistic.

You’ve got Mark Wahlberg playing a kid that gets involved in the porn industry, quickly becoming a star thanks to the length of his member, and then there are all the other people that are involved – actors, producers, directors, etc. etc. But with his sudden ascent, comes the fall – Markie Mark starts getting into the drugs and so has trouble with his ding-dong, most everybody is also doing drugs as well, the business moves to video which is cheaper than the film which director (played by Burt Reynolds) sees as an affront to his artistic pursuit, etc.

This is a good movie with a great ensemble cast, some of whom haven’t done much since or as well as their own. This is one of John C Reilly’s better performances before he fell into the Will Ferrell orbit (somebody save him!), Philip Seymour Hoffman’s first role of note, and should’ve been the closest Wahlberg ever got to an Oscar (nominated for The Departed? Give me a break – whatta crappy movie that was…; it only got nominated for anything because the Academy realized it missed all Scorsese’s good movies…), the always great Don Cheadle, and has a few real live porn actors and actress’ in non-porn acting roles.

I remember a friend being down right irritable the day after the Oscars that this movie didn’t win anything; this was adding insult to his injury that the movie wasn’t up for more than the three nominations it got and won none (Best supporting actress – Julianne Moore, best supporting actor – Burt Reynolds, best original screenplay – Paul Thomas Anderson). And, true enough, it should’ve been up for more nominations and won some.

T&S sez: 8/10

1 comment:

madkevin said...

"... Philip Seymour Hoffman’s first role of note..."

Twister and Scent Of A Woman say hi.