In 1988, inspired by the mockumentary rock comedy “This Is Spinal Tap,” then seventeen-year-old Paul Thomas “P.T.” Anderson (one of my favorite directors) filmed a mockumentary titled, “The Dirk Diggler Story.” An actor who rose to fame during “The Golden Age Of Porn” back in The 70s to The Early 80s. With support from his father who worked as a disc jockey, he spent his money on a camera, equipment and actors. A few years later, P.T. attended college. Feeling film school was a chore, he dropped out and decided to make another short film titled, “Cigarettes & Coffee with a budget using his gambling winnings on his girlfriend’s credit card and his father’s money for his college tuition. P.T. screened his short film at “The 1993 Sundance Festival Short Programs.” His short film caught the attention of now defunct production company “Rysher Entertainment” by offering him a golden opportunity to direct his film debut. He accepted the offer. Thus, “Hard Eight” was born. After Hard Eight came out in 1996 earning positive reviews, P.T. wrote a screenplay based on The Dirk Diggler Story by making it into a full length feature film expanding more about Dirk’s rise and fall to fame set in The 70s to The Early 80s starring Mark Wahlberg (formerly known as Marky Mark) in his post-hip-hop career as well as his breakout starring role as Dirk Diggler in “Boogie Nights.”
Boogie Nights was released in 1997. (same year Good Will Hunting came out) It received critical acclaim from critics and movie goers alike. In addition to unanimous praise, it also made enough money at the box office. Boogie Nights went on to earn three Oscar nominations for “Best Supporting Actress, (Julianne Moore) “Best Supporting Actor” & “Best Original Screenplay. (Paul Thomas Anderson) Despite winning nothing and got snubbed for “Best Picture,” Boogie Nights remains is a masterpiece and one of my favorite movies of all time.
Well-known actors like Tom Hanks, Jennifer Lawrence, Aaron-Taylor Johnson, Tom Cruise, Timothée Chalamet & Jonah Hill all stated Boogie Nights is one of their favorite movies. By the way, the movie is included in The Criterion Collection on LaserDisc as spine number 366.
P.T.’s next film titled, “Soggy Bottom,” starring Bradley Cooper & Cooper Hoffman (Philip Seymour Hoffman’s real-life son) will be released sometime in 2021. To prepare for P.T.’s 9th film, I want to share my thoughts on his Magnum Opus. Again, Boogie Nights is one of my favorite movies of all time. I’m also gearing up for the 2021 Academy Awards which will air on April 25th the day after my mom’s birthday. Make sure you watch it on ABC.
Today’s review doesn’t contain no crucial SPOILERS. Feel free to read my non-spoiler article.
Gold & Bronze Aspects
Gold: Mark Wahlberg did a fantastic job for his performance as Dirk Diggler.
Fun Fact: Before Mark won the role, actors including Leonardo DiCaprio (my favorite actor of all time) & Joaquin Phoenix (one of my favorite actors) were considered for the lead. Leo dropped out in favor of “Titanic” & Joaquin refused to play porn star, because he felt uncomfortable. He later worked with P.T. in “The Master” & “Inherent Vice.”
Other Cast Members such as Burt Reynolds, John C. Reilly, Don Cheadle, Julianne Moore, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, William H. Macy, Heather Graham, Luis Guzmán, Thomas Jane & Alfred Molina all did a great job for their respective performances.
Paul Thomas Anderson did an excellent job expanding his short mockumentary into a full-length feature. At least he didn’t make an epic flop like “Showgirls” directed by Paul Verhoeven. That’s right. The same guy who made “RoboCop,” “Total Recall” “Basic Instinct” & “Starship Troopers” directed the Razzie winner stinker. Oh, how the mighty have fallen!
Cinematography is spot on using a few effective continuous shots inspired by a continuous shot from “Goodfellas” with Henry Hill and his wife Karen entering a fancy restaurant, keeping the camera still and no technical flaws present.
Editing is pretty good. A montage shows a split screen which fits perfectly.
Although serious, the film has elements of Black Comedy.
Chemistry between Dirk, his co-stars and director serve as the main highlight. Whenever they interact, they move the story forward.
As the movie progresses, Dirk instantly becomes an overnight sensation. Suddenly, fame, fortune and drugs take a toll on him jeopardizing his friends, cast members and director by acting like a male diva.
According to P.T. Burt Reynolds regretted making the movie. In retaliation, Burt refuses to work with P.T. in “Magnolia.” There was also hostility between the two on set.
Nearly every single character is interesting. They never bore me at all.
Prior to becoming a porn star, Dirk’s background is fleshed out.
If you have kids, grandkids, nephews, nieces or godkids, make sure you don’t watch it with them. It’s got a lot of hardcore sex, naked guys/ladies, f-bombs and Marky Mark’s “special package.” This is not your typical family movie like “An American Tail.”
The film is set in 1977-1984. Both time periods are accurate displaying costumes, cars, hairstyles and a soundtrack with familiar tunes your parents or grandparents listened to on their record player or 8-track tapes.
Without trying to give anything away, the 70s represents a time when sex was safe, and The Porn Industry was booming. The 80s represents an End of An Era when The Porn Industry drastically changed forever.
One character mentions “Star Wars.” “The Original Trilogy” was re-released in 1997.
A character has a mixtape labeled “Awesome Mix.” Star-Lord later has his own Awesome Mix Vol. 1 & 2 in “Guardians of the Galaxy and its sequel. James Gunn likes Boogie Nights.
Somebody sings “The Touch” from the 1986 animated “Transformers” movie. Mark went on to star in “Transformers: Age of Extinction” & “Transformers: The Last Knight.”
A mirror scene pays homage to another mirror scene from “Raging Bull.”
Bronze: To be honest, I couldn’t a single flaw. I’m giving The Cast & Crew an Extra Point for making a flawless movie as possible.
The Final Verdict: A, FOR APEX!
Boogie Nights remains as one of my favorite movies of all time. Some of the positive things I’ve listed as gold, indicates why this movie aged like fine wine. If you haven’t seen Boogie Nights before, I strongly recommend it.