Boogie Nights is a 1997 American period comedy-drama film written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. It stars Mark Wahlberg, Julianne Moore, John C. Reilly, Burt Reynolds, Don Cheadle, William H. Macy, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Heather Graham. It is set in Los Angeles’s San Fernando Valley and follows a young nightclub dishwasher who becomes a popular star in pornographic films, documenting his rise in the Golden Age of Porn of the 1970’s to his downfall into the 1980’s. The film is an expansion of the director’s mockumentary short film The Dirk Diggler Story (1988).
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 porno director Jack Horner. Interested in starting Eddie in porn, Jaxk auditions him by watching him have sex with Rollergirl, a porn actress who loves to roller skate. After arguing with his mother about his girlfriend and sex life, Eddie moves in with Horner at his San Fernando Valley house. Eddie gives himself the screen name “Dirk Diggler” and becomes a star because of his good looks, young presence and unusually large penis. His success allows him to buy a new house, a large wardrobe and a 1977 Chevrolet Corvette. With his friend and co-star Reed Rothchild, Dirk pitches several successful action themed porn films. While his is at a New Year’s Eve party at Horner’s for the year of 1980, assistant director Little Bill Thompson finds out his wife is having sex with another man. Bill, tired of the adultry, shoots them both dead.
Dirk and Reed begin using cocaine on a regular basis and because of this, finds it very difficult to have an erection and falls into violent mood swings and beomes aggrivated by Johnny Doe, a new leading actor Jack has recruited. In 1983, after fighting with Jack, Dirk is fired and takes off with Reed to start a music career with Scotty, a boom operator, who is in love with Dirk.
This is a film you either love, hate, or have a love-hate relationship with. It is awkward to the max, not a film one would want to watch with your parents, or anyone super conservative. There is still to this day, controversy with this film. The fact Eddie Adams is a teenager working in the porn industry and using drugs, is highly inappropriate and can make some viewers very uncomfortable, but this is not Paul Thomas Anderson’s first film like this, he does these kind of things again in 2021’s Licorice Pizza. PTA is known for pushing the bounderies and causing controversy with his works.
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This would have been a really good movie if it weren’t about a teen porn star and druggy. The film focuses far too much on Eddie in the porn film industry and not enough on his life outisde that ot the other manin characters. Though this film recieved tons of rave reviews, I was left unimpressed. The acting is outstanding, the costumes are period perfect and the soundtrack is great is as well, but the story lacks in quality. Adding great talent does not always make for a great movie.
The film also talks far too much about the size of the star character’s pecker and focuses a bit much on him trying to get erections. If I want to watch teen porn, I’ll go on porn website. This movie is considered a dramedy, but I didn’t find it funny much at all. The sexual jokes were all throughout, giving the film a pretty sleazy feel, which I guess is what PTA was going for just like in Licorice Pizza, where a fifteen year old boy tries to woo a twenty-five year old woman.
Overall, a decent film, but the runtime of two hours and thrity-five mintutes is had me wishing it could’ve been over sooner. Fantastic acting and a great soundtrack is really the best thing about this one. Not Paul Thomas Anderson’s best work, but not his worst. 18+ 3.5/5