Boogie Nights is a 1997 American period comedy-drama film written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. It is set in Los Angeles's San Fernando Valley and focuses on a young nightclub dishwasher who becomes a popular star of pornographic films, chronicling his rise in the Golden Age of Porn of the 1970s through to his fall during the excesses of the 1980s. The film is an expansion of Anderson's mockumentary short film The Dirk Diggler Story (1988), and stars Mark Wahlberg, Julianne Moore, Burt Reynolds, Don Cheadle, John C. Reilly, William H. Macy, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Heather Graham.
|Directed by||Paul Thomas Anderson|
|Written by||Paul Thomas Anderson|
|Edited by||Dylan Tichenor|
|Music by||Michael Penn|
|Distributed by||New Line Cinema|
|Box office||$43.1 million|
The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 11, 1997 and was theatrically released on October 10, 1997, garnering critical praise. It was also nominated for three Academy Awards, including Best Original Screenplay for Anderson, Best Supporting Actress for Moore and Best Supporting Actor for Reynolds. The film's soundtrack has also received acclaim.
In 1977, high-school dropout Eddie Adams is living with his father and emotionally abusive mother in Torrance, California. He works at a Reseda nightclub owned by Maurice Rodriguez, where he meets porn filmmaker Jack Horner. Interested in bringing Eddie into porn, Jack auditions him by watching him have sex with Rollergirl, a porn starlet who always wears skates. After arguing with his mother about his girlfriend and sex life, Adams moves in with Horner at his San Fernando Valley home. Adams gives himself the screen name "Dirk Diggler" and becomes a star because of his good looks, youthful charisma, and unusually large penis. His success allows him to buy a new house, an extensive wardrobe, and a "competition orange" 1977 Chevrolet Corvette. With friend and fellow porn star Reed Rothchild, Dirk pitches a series of successful action-themed porn films. Dirk works and socializes with others from the porn industry, and they live carefree lifestyles in the late 1970s disco era. At a New Year's Eve party at Horner's house marking the year 1980, assistant director Little Bill Thompson discovers his wife having sex with another man. Bill, tired of being repeatedly cuckolded by his wife, shoots them both dead, and kills himself.
Dirk and Reed begin using cocaine on a regular basis. Due to his drug use, Dirk finds it increasingly difficult to achieve an erection, falls into violent mood swings, and becomes upset with Johnny Doe, a new leading man Jack has recruited. In 1983, after arguing with Jack, Dirk is fired and takes off with Reed to start a music career along with Scotty, a boom operator who is in love with Dirk. Jack rejects business overtures from Floyd Gondolli, a theater magnate in San Diego and San Francisco, who insists on cutting costs by shooting on videotape because Jack believes that video will diminish the quality of his films. After his friend and financier, Colonel James, is imprisoned for being responsible for a 15 year old girl overdosing on cocaine, along with possession of child pornography, Jack works with Gondolli, becoming disillusioned with the projects he expects him to churn out. One of these projects involves Jack and Rollergirl riding in a limousine, searching for random men for her to have sex with while being taped by a crew. After they pick up a man, he recognizes Rollergirl as a former high-school classmate. After a failed attempt at intercourse, he insults her and Jack. Jack throws him out of the limousine. Jack and Rollergirl both attack the man, leaving him bloodied on the sidewalk. They return to the car and drive away from the scene.
Leading lady Amber Waves finds herself in a custody battle with her ex-husband. The court determines that she is an unfit mother due to her involvement in the porn industry, prior criminal record, and cocaine addiction. Buck Swope marries fellow porn star Jessie St. Vincent, who becomes pregnant. Because of his past, Buck is disqualified from a bank loan and cannot open his own stereo-equipment store. That night, he finds himself in the middle of a holdup at a donut shop in which the clerk, the robber, and an armed customer are killed. Buck is the sole survivor and escapes with the money.
Having wasted their money on drugs, Dirk and Reed cannot pay a recording studio for demo tapes they believe will enable them to become music stars. Desperate for money, Dirk resorts to prostitution but is assaulted and robbed by three men. Dirk, Reed, and their friend Todd Parker attempt to scam local drug dealer Rahad Jackson by selling him a half-kilo of baking soda disguised as cocaine. Dirk and Reed decide to leave before Rahad's bodyguard inspects it, but Todd attempts to steal additional drugs and money from Rahad. In the ensuing gunfight, Todd shoots Rahad's bodyguard and is killed by Rahad. Dirk and Reed barely escape and Dirk reconciles with Jack.
In 1984, Buck and Jessie give birth to their son, Amber shoots the television commercial for Buck's store opening, Reed performs a magic act at a strip club, Colonel James remains in prison, Maurice opens a night club and Rollergirl takes a GED class. Dirk and Amber prepare to start filming again.
- Mark Wahlberg as Eddie Adams / Dirk Diggler
- Julianne Moore as Maggie / Amber Waves
- Burt Reynolds as Jack Horner
- Don Cheadle as Buck Swope
- John C. Reilly as Reed Rothchild
- William H. Macy as Bill "Little Bill" Thompson
- Heather Graham as Brandy / Rollergirl
- Nicole Ari Parker as Becky Barnett
- Philip Seymour Hoffman as Scotty J.
- Luis Guzmán as Maurice Rodriguez / T.T. Rodriguez
- Philip Baker Hall as Floyd Gondolli
- Thomas Jane as Todd Parker
- Robert Ridgely as The Colonel James
- Robert Downey Sr. as Burt
- Nina Hartley as Little Bill's Wife
- Melora Walters as Jessie St. Vincent
- Alfred Molina as Rahad Jackson
- Ricky Jay as Kurt Longjohn
Boogie Nights is based on a mockumentary short film that Anderson wrote and directed while he was still in high school called The Dirk Diggler Story. The short itself was based on the 1981 documentary Exhausted: John C. Holmes, The Real Story, a documentary about the life of legendary porn actor John Holmes, on whom Dirk Diggler is based.
Anderson originally wanted the role of Eddie to be played by Leonardo DiCaprio, after seeing him in The Basketball Diaries. DiCaprio enjoyed the screenplay, but had to turn it down because he signed on to star in Titanic. He recommended Mark Wahlberg for the role. Joaquin Phoenix was also offered the role of Eddie, but turned it down due to concerns about playing a porn star. Phoenix later collaborated with Anderson on the films The Master and Inherent Vice. Bill Murray, Harvey Keitel, Warren Beatty, Albert Brooks and Sydney Pollack declined or were passed up on the role of Jack Horner, which went to Burt Reynolds. After starring in Hard Eight, Samuel L. Jackson declined the role of Buck Swope, which went to Don Cheadle. Anderson initially did not consider Heather Graham for Rollergirl, because he had never seen her do nudity in a film. However, Graham's agent called Anderson asking if she could read for the part, which she won. Drew Barrymore and Tatum O'Neal were also up for the role.
After having a very difficult time getting his previous film, Hard Eight, released, Anderson laid down a hard law when making Boogie Nights. He initially wanted the film to be over three hours long and be rated NC-17. The film's producers, particularly Michael De Luca, said that the film had to be either under three hours or rated R. Anderson fought with them, saying that the film would not have a mainstream appeal no matter what. They did not change their minds, and Anderson chose the R rating as a challenge. Despite this, the film was still 20 minutes shorter than promised.
Reynolds did not get along with Anderson while filming. After seeing a rough cut of the film, Reynolds fired his agent for recommending it.[better source needed] Despite this, Reynolds won a Golden Globe Award and was nominated for an Academy Award for his performance. Later, Anderson wanted Reynolds to star in his next film, Magnolia, but Reynolds declined. In 2012, Reynolds denied rumors that he disliked the film, calling it "extraordinary" and saying that his opinion of it has nothing to do with his relationship with Anderson.
The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and was shown at the New York Film Festival, before opening on two screens in the U.S. on October 10, 1997. It grossed $50,168 during its opening weekend. Three weeks later, it expanded to 907 theaters and grossed $4.7 million, ranking number four for the week. It eventually earned $26.4 million in the U.S. and $16.7 million in foreign markets for a worldwide box office total of $43.1 million.
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 93% based on 72 reviews, with an average rating of 8.1/10. The site's critical consensus states, "Grounded in strong characters, bold themes, and subtle storytelling, Boogie Nights is a groundbreaking film both for director P.T. Anderson and star Mark Wahlberg." On Metacritic, the film holds a weighted average score of 85 out of 100, based on 28 critics, indicating "universal acclaim." Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "C" on an A+ to F scale.
Janet Maslin of The New York Times wrote, "Everything about Boogie Nights is interestingly unexpected," although "the film's extravagant 2-hour 32-minute length amounts to a slight tactical mistake ... [it] has no trouble holding interest ... but the length promises larger ideas than the film finally delivers." She praised Burt Reynolds for "his best and most suavely funny performance in many years," and added, "The movie's special gift happens to be Mark Wahlberg, who gives a terrifically appealing performance."
Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times observed, "Few films have been more matter-of-fact, even disenchanted, about sexuality. Adult films are a business here, not a dalliance or a pastime, and one of the charms of Boogie Nights is the way it shows the everyday backstage humdrum life of porno filmmaking ... The sweep and variety of the characters have brought the movie comparisons to Robert Altman's Nashville and The Player. There is also some of the same appeal as Pulp Fiction in scenes that balance precariously between comedy and violence ... Through all the characters and all the action, Anderson's screenplay centers on the human qualities of the players ... Boogie Nights has the quality of many great films, in that it always seems alive."
Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle stated, "Boogie Nights is the first great film about the 1970s to come out since the '70s ... It gets all the details right, nailing down the styles and the music. More impressive, it captures the decade's distinct, decadent glamour ... [It] also succeeds at something very difficult: re-creating the ethos and mentality of an era ... Paul Thomas Anderson ... has pulled off a wonderful, sprawling, sophisticated film ... With Boogie Nights, we know we're not just watching episodes from disparate lives but a panorama of recent social history, rendered in bold, exuberant colors."
Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times called it "a startling film, but not for the obvious reasons. Yes, its decision to focus on the pornography business in the San Fernando Valley in the 1970s and 1980s is nerviness itself, but more impressive is the film's sureness of touch, its ability to be empathetic, nonjudgmental and gently satirical, to understand what is going on beneath the surface of this raunchy Nashville-esque universe and to deftly relate it to our own ... Perhaps the most exciting thing about Boogie Nights is the ease with which writer-director Anderson ... spins out this complex web. A true storyteller, able to easily mix and match moods in a playful and audacious manner, he is a filmmaker definitely worth watching, both now and in the future."[dead link] In Time Out New York, Andrew Johnston concluded, "The porn milieu may scare some folks off, but Boogie Nights offers laughs, tenderness, terror and redemption--everything you could ask for in a movie. It's an impressive and satisfying film, one the Academy really ought to have the balls to recognize."
Peter Travers of Rolling Stone said, "[T]his chunk of movie dynamite is detonated by Mark Wahlberg ... who grabs a breakout role and runs with it ... Even when Boogie Nights flies off course as it tracks its bizarrely idealistic characters into the '80s ... you can sense the passionate commitment at the core of this hilarious and harrowing spectacle. For this, credit Paul Thomas Anderson ... who ... scores a personal triumph by finding glints of rude life in the ashes that remained after Watergate. For all the unbridled sex, what is significant, timely and, finally, hopeful about Boogie Nights is the way Anderson proves that a movie can be mercilessly honest and mercifully humane at the same time."
Gene Siskel of Chicago Tribune called it, "beautifully made" and praised the performances, calling Reynolds, "absolutely centered and in control of his emotions" and saying Wahlberg, "couldn't be better". However, he moderated his praise by saying, "The early rave reviews accorded this film suggest a significance that I, however, did not encounter. Show-biz stories are all pretty much the same: ambition, stardom, drugs, disillusionment. Add the home video revolution to this mix and curiosity about the size of the boy wonder's equipment; throw in a few topical references like the soft drink Fresca, and you have the bare bones of the story." He gave the film three and a half stars out of a possible four.
Reynolds' depiction of Jack Horner garnered him twelve awards and three nominations, and Moore's depiction of Amber Waves garnered her six awards and nominations.
|Boogie Nights: Music from the Original Motion Picture|
|Released||October 7, 1997|
|Genre||Disco, pop, soul|
|Boogie Nights 2: More Music from the Original Motion Picture|
|Released||January 13, 1998|
|Genre||Disco, pop, soul|
Two Boogie Nights soundtracks were released, the first at the time of the film's initial release and the second the following year. AllMusic rated the first soundtrack four and a half stars out of five and the second soundtrack four.
|1.||"Intro (Feel the Heat)"||Paul Thomas Anderson, John C. Reilly||Reilly, Mark Wahlberg||1:11|
|2.||"Best of My Love"||Al McKay, Maurice White||The Emotions||3:39|
|3.||"Jungle Fever"||Bill Ador||Chakachas||4:20|
|4.||"Brand New Key"||Melanie Safka||Melanie||2:23|
|5.||"Spill the Wine"||Eric Burdon and War||Eric Burdon and War||4:02|
|6.||"Got to Give It Up, Pt. 1"||Marvin Gaye||Gaye||4:07|
|7.||"Machine Gun"||Milan Williams||Commodores||2:38|
|8.||"Magnet and Steel"||Walter Egan||Egan||3:23|
|9.||"Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now"||Jerry Cohen, Gene McFadden, John Whitehead||McFadden & Whitehead||3:40|
|10.||"Sister Christian"||Kelly Keagy||Night Ranger||5:00|
|11.||"Livin' Thing"||Jeff Lynne||Electric Light Orchestra||3:30|
|12.||"God Only Knows"||Tony Asher, Brian Wilson||The Beach Boys||2:48|
|13.||"The Big Top (Theme from "Boogie Nights")"||Michael Penn||Penn, Patrick Warren||9:58|
|1.||"Mama Told Me (Not to Come)"||Randy Newman||Three Dog Night||3:16|
|2.||"Fooled Around and Fell in Love"||Elvin Bishop||Bishop||4:34|
|3.||"You Sexy Thing"||Errol Brown, Tony Wilson||Hot Chocolate||4:02|
|4.||"Boogie Shoes"||Harry Wayne Casey, Richard Finch||KC & the Sunshine Band||2:09|
|5.||"Do Your Thing"||Charles Wright||Charles Wright & the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band||3:29|
|6.||"Driver's Seat"||Paul Roberts||Sniff 'n' the Tears||4:00|
|7.||"Feel Too Good"||Roy Wood||The Move||9:30|
|8.||"Jessie's Girl"||Rick Springfield||Springfield||3:13|
|9.||"J.P. Walk"||Anton Scott||Sound Experience||7:05|
|10.||"I Want to Be Free"||Marshall "Rock" Jones, Ralph "Pee Wee" Middlebrooks, James "Diamond" Williams||Ohio Players||6:50|
|11.||"Joy"||Johann Sebastian Bach||Apollo 100||5:15|
- "BOOGIE NIGHTS (18)". British Board of Film Classification. October 28, 1997. Retrieved July 5, 2013.
- Box Office Mojo: Boogie Nights
- McKenna, Kristine (October 12, 1997). "Knows It When He Sees It". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 25, 2012.
- Waxman, Sharon R. (2005). Rebels on the backlot: six maverick directors and how they conquered the Hollywood studio system. HarperCollins. p. 115. ISBN 978-0-06-054017-3.
- Hirshberg, Lynn (December 19, 1999). "His Way". The New York Times. Retrieved June 25, 2012.
- Mottram, James (2006). The Sundance Kids: how the mavericks took back Hollywood. NY: Faber & Faber, Inc. p. 129. ISBN 9780865479678.
cigarettes & coffee.
- Kirk, Jeremy (September 13, 2012). "37 Things We Learned From the 'Boogie Nights' Commentary". Film School Rejects. Retrieved November 28, 2016.
- Brooks, Xan (January 25, 2013). "Joaquin Phoenix set to star in Paul Thomas Anderson's Inherent Vice". The Guardian. Retrieved November 28, 2016.
- Zakarin, Jordan (December 10, 2014). "5 Things We Just Learned About 'Boogie Nights'". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved November 28, 2016.
- Brew, Simon (March 1, 2010). "10 actors who turned against their own films". Den of Geek. Retrieved November 28, 2016.
- Jagernauth, Kevin (December 3, 2015). ""He Was Young And Full Of Himself": Burt Reynolds On Why He "Hated" Paul Thomas Anderson During 'Boogie Nights'". Indiewire. Penske Business Media, LLC. Retrieved November 29, 2016.
- Mandatory (July 11, 2012), Deliverance Interviews (Ronny Cox, Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds & Ned Beatty), retrieved March 1, 2018
- "Box Office Mojo". IMDb. Retrieved June 25, 2011.
- "Boogie Nights". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved June 7, 2020.
- "Boogie Nights". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved July 1, 2010.
- Matt Singer (August 13, 2015). "25 Films With Completely Baffling CinemaScores". ScreenCrush. Retrieved August 18, 2020.
- "New York Times review". NYTimes.com. October 8, 1997. Retrieved June 25, 2011.
- "RogerEbert.com review". RogerEbert.com. October 17, 1997. Retrieved April 14, 2020.
- LaSalle, Mick (October 17, 1997). "San Francisco Chronicle review". SFGate.com. Retrieved June 25, 2011.
- Boucher, Geoff. "Los Angeles Times review". CalendarLive.com. Archived from the original on December 1, 2008. Retrieved June 25, 2011.
- Johnston, Andrew (October 2–16, 1997). "Boogie Nights". Time Out New York: 77.
- "Rolling Stone review". Rolling Stone. Retrieved February 6, 2014.
- Siskel, Gene (October 17, 1997). "'BOOGIE' GROOVES TO AN OFF BEAT". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved December 29, 2020.
- Allmusic review for the first soundtrack
- Allmusic review for the second soundtrack
- Discogs - Liz Heller credit Boogie Nights #2 1997 Capitol Records (CDP 7243 4 93076 2 9) US
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