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Boogie Nights (New Line 1997, Mark Wahlberg, Heather Graham)

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In the 70s and 80s, California was the hotbed for porn films as producers, directors and stars of both sexes believed they were involved in an evolving art form. But, as Anderson’s Oscar-nominated film shows, there was a downside of drugs, deaths, betrayals and violence. The film centres on Eddie Adams (Mark Wahlberg) who has been blessed by nature. A chance meeting with director Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds) sees his asset shoot him to stardom and a name change to Dirk Diggler, but behind the scenes of satisfied starlets and successful films, Anderson captures the darkness.

Wahlberg’s character is based on porn star John Holmes, whose later life descended into shady drugs deals and murder charges and who died in 1988 but the film, given its subject, is surprisingly free of flesh, with the few sex scenes more tasteful than many a Hollywood blockbuster. Instead Anderson, whose short, The Dirk Diggler Story , shot was he was just 17, gave rise to this feature, concentrates on the characters. Wahlberg’s performance is subtly nuanced, as he moves from innocent to ego-fed monster while Oscar-nominated Reynolds is genuinely tragic as a director who believes his work is art. The two female leads, Julianne Moore as the hardened porn star Amber Waves and Heather Graham as the hippy Rollergirl never let the men steal their scenes and, as a fictional record of a certain time, place and licence, Boogie Nights is great drama that is also surprisingly moving.

production details
USA / New Line – Entertainment – Ghoulardi – Lawrence Gordon / 156 minutes / 1997

Cinematography: Robert Elswit
Production Design: Bob Ziembicki
Music: Toby Emmerich
Producers: Lloyd Levin, Paul Thomas Anderson, John Lyons, Joanne Sellar
Writer and Director: Paul Thomas Anderson

cast
William H. Macy as Little Bill
Don Cheadle as Buck Swope
Philip Baker Hall as Floyd Gondoli
Jack Riley as Lawyer
Melora Walters as Jessie St. Vincent
Michael Jace as Jerome
Kai Lennox as High School / College Kid
Philip Seymour Hoffman as Scotty J.
Mike Gunther as Surfer Punk
Laurel Holloman as Sheryl Lynn
Michael Stein as Stereo Customer
Luis Guzmán as Maurice TT Rodriguez
Mark Wahlberg as Eddie Adams alias Dirk Diggler
Burt Reynolds as Jack Horner
John C. Reilly as Reed Rothchild
Julianne Moore as Maggie alias Amber Waves
Thomas Jane as Todd Parker
Heather Graham as Brandy alias Rollergirl
Alfred Molina as Rahad Jackson
Robert Ridgely as The Colonel James
Robert Downey Sr. as Studio owner
Nicole Ari Parker as Becky Barnett
Ricky Jay as Kurt Longjohn
Rico Bueno as Hot Traxx Waiter
Veronica Hart as Judge
Samson Barkhordarian as Hot Traxx Chef
Nina Hartley as Little Bill’s Wife
Brad Braeden as Big Stud
Joanna Gleason as Dirk’s Mother
Lawrence Hudd as Dirk’s Father
Stanley DeSantis as Buck’s Manager
Patricia Forte as Teacher
Jason Andrews as Johnny – Limo Driver
Lil’ Cinderella as Colonel’s Lady Friend
Greg Lauren as Young Stud
Tom Dorfmeister as Watcher #1
Jason “Jake” Cross as Watcher #2
Jack Wallace as Rocky
Selwyn Emerson Miller as Hot Traxx DJ
Jamielyn Lippman as Colonel’s Hot Traxx Girlfriend
Missy Spell Tanner as Becky’s Girlfriend
Raymond Laboriel as Becky’s Girlfriend’s Friend
Jon Brion as Awards Ceremony Band Member
Brian Kehew as Awards Ceremony Band Member
Robin Sharp as Awards Ceremony Band Member
Audrey Wiechman as Awards Ceremony Band Member
Tim Soronen as Raphael
Alexander D. Slanger as Floyd’s Kid – Boy
Tom Lenk as Floyd’s Kid – Boy
Lexi Leigh as Floyd’s Kid – Girl
Laura Gronewold as Floyd’s Kid – Girl
Vernon Guichard II as Mugsy Jack’s Bartender
Tony Tedeschi as New Year’s Eve Young Stud
Leslie Redden as KC Sunshine
Gregory T. Daniel as Minister
Jonathan Quint as Johnny Doe
Michael Penn as Nick the Engineer
Don Amendolia as Bank Worker
Summer Cummings as Herself
Skye Blue as Herself
John Doe as Amber’s Husband
Channon Roe as Surfer
Michael Raye Smith as Surfer Punk
Michael S. Stencil as Surfer Punk
Dustin Courtney as Donut Boy
Allan Graf as Man with Gun
Jose Chaidez as Puerto Rican Kid
B. Philly Johnson as Rahad’s Bodyguard
Joe G.M. Chan as Cosmo – Rahad’s Boy
Goliath as Tyrone
Israel Juarbe as Maurice’s Brother
George Anthony Rae as Maurice’s Brother
Eric Winzenried as Doctor
Sharon Ferrol-Young as Hot Traxx Dancer
Anne Fletcher as Hot Traxx Dancer
Scott Fowler as Hot Traxx Dancer
Melanie A. Gage as Hot Traxx Dancer
Eddie Garcia as Hot Traxx Dancer
Sebastian La Cause as Hot Traxx Dancer
Lance MacDonald as Hot Traxx Dancer
Diane Mizota as Hot Traxx Dancer
Nathan Prevost as Hot Traxx Dancer
Lisa Ratzin as Hot Traxx Dancer
Dee Dee Weathers as Hot Traxx Dancer
Darrel W. Wright as Hot Traxx Dancer
Greg Bronson as Clubgoer
Grace Bustos as Underwater Swimming Girl at Party
Jorga Caye as Patron
Tyrone D. Dixon as Actor in ‘Angels Live in My Town’
Theo Mayes as Dirk Diggler’s Hairstylist
Coleman McClary as Jack’s Pool Party Guest
Jami Philbrick as Dancer
Misty Tamburelli as Girl in Red Dress
Sean Welch as Party Man

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