Friday, December 14, 2007

Movie Of The Day: Boogie Nights

Clips from one of my favorite movies, Boogie Nights. It was on cable the other night and I watched it for probably the tenth time, and it still makes me laugh.

For those not familiar with the movie, it's the story of a 17-year-old nobody, Eddie Adams (Mark Wahlberg), who becomes a porn star, thanks in large part to his large part, a 13" penis. Eddie is discovered by veteran porn director, Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds), who tells him, "I got a feeling that behind those jeans is something wonderful just waiting to get out."

Yes, Boogie Nights is about the porn industry, but more as a representation of life in America -- or at least Southern California -- in the late 70s and early 80s -- the music, the drugs, the cars, the morals (or lack thereof), and, of course, the sex. The cast is impressive: Wahlberg, John C. Reilly, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Julianne Moore, Don Cheadle, Luis Guzman, Heather Graham, Philip Baker Hall, Alfred Molina, Melora Walters, Thomas Jane, William H. Macy, and more, including some actual porn stars in bit roles.

The movie is loosely based on the life of porn star John Holmes. Holmes died of AIDS in 1988.

Opening Shot
The movie opens with this amazing 3-minute tracking shot through the dance club where most of the major characters hang out. Boogie Nights director Paul Thomas Anderson said he did it because he wanted to get all the character introductions out of the way so he could move on with the story. Anderson does this again later in the movie, and did similar shots in his follow-up movie, Magnolia.

Becoming Dirk Diggler
Eddie tells Jack and fellow porn actor, Reed Rothchild (John C. Reilly), his idea for a stage name.

Dirk & Reed: Action Stars
Dirk (Wahlberg) creates a movie character named Brock Landers, an undercover cop who fights crime all over L.A. with his partner, Chest Rockwell (Reilly). The series of Brock Landers movies they make catapults Dirk to porn stardom. Here's a trailer for one of those films.

Dirk cuts a demo
Dirk becomes a porn sensation, and, drunk on his sudden fame and fortune, decides he wants to make records, even though he cannot sing. Here he cuts a demo with the help of Rothchild, who has become Dirk's lackey. You gotta love how writer/director PT Anderson captures 80s music perfectly.

That's singer Michael Penn playing Nick, the audio engineer.

Robbing Rahad Jackson
This is an incredible scene in all aspects -- writing, directing and performances -- and quite intense.

Dirk's star has fallen: he's been replaced as the "hot new thing" by another actor, and he and Jack have had a falling out. Worse, Dirk is becoming addicted to cocaine and crystal meth.

Dirk and Reed accompany their drug buddy, Todd Parker (Thomas Jane) to sell a bag of phony cocaine to dealer Rahad Jackson (Alfred Molina). Dirk and Reed have no experience with this sort of thing, and are already nervous, but their desperation for money and drugs leads them into a situation that is guaranteed to end in violence, especially after Todd reveals an even darker plan.

It's a long scene, but well worth watching. It is based on real events leading up to the Wonderland murders in Los Angeles in 1981.

I can't hear "Sister Christian" or "Jessie's Girl" now without thinking of this scene.

Give Books This Year

Some great book ideas for your kids this Christmas, from LOTD's resident Mountaineer, Lynn.


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