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Boogie Nights

USA 1997
produced by
P.T. Anderson, Lloyd Levin, John S. Lyons, Joanne Sellar, Lawrence Gordon (executive) for New Line Cinema
directed by P.T. Anderson
starring Mark Wahlberg, Burt Reynolds, Julianne Moore, John C. Reilly, Heather Graham, Thomas Jane, Ricky Jay, Don Cheadle, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Nicole Ari Parker, Robert Ridgely, Philip Baker Hall, William H. Macy, Nina Hartley, Luis Guzmán, Robert Downey sr, Alfred Molina, Brad Braeden, Joanna Gleason, Lawrence Hudd, Michael Stein, Stanley DeSantis, Rico Bueno, Samson Barkhordarian, Patricia Forte, Kai Lennox, Laurel Holloman, Jason Andrews, Lil' Cinderella (as Amber Hunter), Greg Lauren, Tom Dorfmeister, Jason 'Jake' Cross, Jack Wallace, Selwyn Emerson Miller, Jamielyn Kane, Melissa Spell, Raymond Laboriel, Melora Walters, B.Philly Johnson, Joe G.M.Chan, Jonathan Quint, Summer Cummings, Skye Blue, Veronica Hart, Jack Riley, John Doe, Tim Soronen, Michael Jace, Don Amendolia, Tony Tedeschi, Channon Roe, Lexi Leigh
written by P.T.Anderson, music by Michael Penn

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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1977: In a club. porn director Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds) discovers 17 year young Eddie Adams (Mark Wahlberg), who has an amazing 13-inch schlong - prime porn material. And since Eddie, or Dirk Diggler, as he calls himself before oong, also has the stamina to get through a porn-shoot effortlessly, he soon becomes a porn star, and Jack Horner's golden goose.

For the porn people, the late 1970's were a party on end, there was no Aids-threat yet, plenty of pretty girls wanted to be in the business, and the genre did even start to get some mainstreanm recognition - which is extremely important for Jack Horner, who always sees himself as a filmmaker first, a pornographer second.

But the 1970's were over way too soon, and only minutes before the new decade starts, Eddie makes his first experiences with cocaine, the drug which will soon be his downfall, and Jack is for the first time approached to make a pornmovie direct-to-video, a medium that (according to many) meant to be the genre's downfall.

1983: Eddie is so strung out from cocaine that he is no longer able to perform. However, by now he's so self-obsessed that he doesn't take the advice of Jack Horner, who has always treated him like a father, but leaves him in anger to find success on his own ... but the world doesn't work that way, his efforts to produce a record are nothing short of pathetic, and then he hasn't even got the money to pay for the studio. Soon enough, he's back out on the streets and offers everyone who's interested to wank for them for a tenner ... but soon enough, he ends up beaten up by a homophobic gang. And then, he and his friends Todd (Thomas Jane) and Reed (John C.Reilly) try to sell baking powder to a drug kingpin (Alfred Molina) ... a deal that almost works, wouldn't Todd, drugged to the teeth, all of a sudden and without warning get trigger-happy and start a shoot-out ... and Eddie is lucky enough to get away with his life.

Meanwhile, things for Jack Horner are not much better: His money man, the Colonel (Robert Ridgely) has been arrested for child pornography (something Jack never touched), and Jack himself now does meaningless and interchangeable video fare, like the film when he drives his current star Rollergirl (Heather Graham) around in a limo to pick up random guys to have sex with her ... something that ends in tragedy when Jack picks up a guy Rollergirl went to school with. Meanwhile Amber (Julianne Moore), Jack's muse, consort and top performer - who has often co-starred with eddie and has a soft spot for him - tries to regain custody of her kid, but she is denied even seeing him because of her profession - which pretty much breaks her heart ...

In the end, Eddie, as a sort of prodigal son, returns to Jack, and they put the old team together again to make ore movies ...

 

Obviously, this film was inspired by the life-story of legendary porn actor John Holmes (even if it left out some of the more bizarre and tragic bits of his career, like that he contracted Aids but still tried to continue his career - in Europe even after everyone in America has grown wise to his predicament -, or his attempts to make gay porn, or his career in crime). As a film, Boogie Nights falls into two parts, namely the part about the 1970's, when porn was still a neverending party, and the 1980's part, where the whole bubble bursts. Naturally, the first part is rather boring, an overlong set-up for the actual story. It is not until the second part that the drama really starts and the film is cut up ionto a series of almost independent short stories. but surprisingly these independent short stories, told in one long parallel montage, work extremely well together and manage to paint one whole picture - something that's totally missing from the 70's sequence, where much time is wasted telling very little.

The second problem with the film, besides its overlong set-up, is the ending, that simply lacks the impact the proceeding stories had and actually seems to lead to nowhere.

Would the beginning of the film have been trimmed and instead more care been put into the ending this film could have been great, like it is it's a film that has its moments but also its letdowns, it's ok entertainment and totally watchable, but it could have been so much more.

 

What's somewhat weird (though typical for reactionary Hollywood) is that for a film about the porn business, there is remarkably little and incredible tame sex in this film (though admittedly more sex than in another film about John Holmes, Wonderland). Somehow it seems filmmaker P.T. Anderson is not really believing in the world he is portraying ...

 

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD