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Overall Rating
3.93

Awesome55.79%
Worth A Look: 16.84%
Average: 6.84%
Pretty Bad: 5.26%
Total Crap: 15.26%

9 reviews, 136 user ratings


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Boogie Nights
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Probably the most enjoyable complete overrated swipe ever made."
3 stars

'Boogie Nights' shows a gifted young filmmaker -- Paul Thomas Anderson, only 27 at the time -- with a severe case of "Hey, Look, Ma, I'm a Director!" No doubt it's an energetic, exuberant piece of moviemaking; if only energy and exuberance equalled greatness.

It can, in the hands of a master like Martin Scorsese. But Anderson, in this film, is only a skilled imitator. Boogie Nights is lively and often powerful; it's impossible to dislike, unless you can't get past the subject matter. But it's far from the masterpiece that many critics claim it is.

This is Anderson's second film, after the taut, superior drama Hard Eight, released earlier the same year. Hard Eight was original and unpredictable, though much less ambitious; Boogie Nights has ambition to burn. Anderson wants to bypass sophomore slump and blow everyone away, as Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino did with their second films. Anderson wants it all; he wants to be Scorsese, Tarantino, even Robert Altman (Boogie Nights tries for the kaleidoscopic sweep of Altman's Nashville). But Hard Eight showed what he can do when he's content to be himself.

The ambition shows even in the subject: the porn-film world at its "peak" in the late '70s, before it succumbed to video in the '80s. Anderson strains to convince us that this is a worthy subject for a 152-minute film -- he frames the rise and fall of a lunkheaded porn star as a tragicomic epic. But there are too many characters, each with only a single trait. William H. Macy appears as a cameraman with an arrogantly unfaithful wife; you giggle at his hideous '70s wig, and you want to see more of him. But all Macy gets to do is sulk over his wife, and his final rage comes from nowhere. (How do his colleagues react to his outburst? We never find out.) It's a waste of a fine actor, and an example of Anderson's one-note screenwriting here.

Boogie Nights is about Eddie Adams (Mark Wahlberg), a busboy groomed by porn director Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds) to be the next big thing. (Jack's father-son relationship with Eddie recalls Hard Eight, where a veteran gambler took a young loser under his wing.) Innocent Eddie, endowed with a prodigious member, becomes "Dirk Diggler," celebrated porn stud. He finds a family among Jack's crew, including porn queen Amber Waves (Julianne Moore), who loses custody of her son and acts as den mother to Eddie and other lost sheep. Stardom goes to Eddie's head; he turns into an egotistical cokehead and swiftly drops into squalor.

And I just told you the story in 150 fewer minutes than it takes Anderson. Boogie Nights is long but never boring -- it flies by. But it has epic length without epic depth. It flits along, observing and sketching. Some of it is immensely enjoyable; Anderson throws a lot of stuff at the wall, and some of it sticks. Julianne Moore is vividly poignant as a woman who uses sex to conceal her desolation, and Alfred Molina turns up as a crazed cokehead and sends the film's energy level through the roof. Yet even his scene is a caffeinated copy of the drug-deal-goes-sour sequence in Brian De Palma's Scarface.

After a while, the borrowings add up. De Palma is also a cheerful thief, as is Tarantino, but they seal their homages with a prankish wit all their own. Anderson is too ambitious to be prankish, but he also isn't above lifting shots and entire scenes from Scorsese. You sit there thinking "Okay, that's GoodFellas" and "Oh, now he's doing Taxi Driver" as the camera tracks and swoops. Sometimes Anderson leaves Scorsese behind -- the camera dives in and out of a pool a la I Am Cuba. Critics are responding to Anderson's joie de cinema, and I did, too. But adding a prosthetic penis to the last scene of Raging Bull isn't exactly an improvement.

"Boogie Nights" is a well-acted, compassionate study of a sordid milieu. It's also almost totally second-hand.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=55&reviewer=416
originally posted: 12/30/06 03:08:12
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User Comments

10/12/12 Brandon It's entertaining, but don't forget it's just a fun 70s soundtrack. 4 stars
2/26/11 brian Epic. 4 stars
6/14/10 Jeff Wilder Close to perfectly made. Does for the porn business what Goodfellas did for organized crime 5 stars
3/29/09 PAUL SHORTT A PARADE OF LOW-TIDE HUMANITY 1 stars
1/12/09 Dal Anyone who doesn't like this film or even recognise it's great story telling is a moron. 5 stars
12/05/08 K. Sear A fun film that marked the emergence of a new talent. 4 stars
11/30/08 james amazing in every aspect. 5 stars
9/03/08 Shaun Wallner This one was kinda boring. 1 stars
6/22/08 Steve Best movie ever made PERIOD 5 stars
12/21/07 Wendell O. Maness Heather Graham boinkss like a banshee! 5 stars
12/09/07 SamanthaP there's a lot of boobs in this movie! 4 stars
11/19/07 Wendell O. Maness Great behind the scenes story of how porn is made, good sex scenes 5 stars
8/20/07 mr.mike Burt Reynolds was robbed of his Oscar..he really deserved it. 4 stars
6/11/07 al smith moving touching and brilliant whoever says otherwise is a fucking prick 5 stars
5/10/07 MP Bartley Boisterous, intoxicating, funny and tragic with terrific soundtrack 5 stars
3/29/07 fools♫gold More proof that perfect music brings perfect movies. Depression is so funny w/ right music! 5 stars
2/04/07 Phil M. Aficionado Brilliance shines through shortcomings of this derivative piece (Quentin/Altman). 4 stars
1/18/07 Monday Morning Hilarious and totally creative. Like watching a car wreck in slow-mo, but funner. 5 stars
1/16/07 David Pollastrini very well done 3 stars
9/18/06 Jessie Great! 5 stars
9/12/06 Eden Very well made, great acting, music and directing. Tarantino-esq 5 stars
8/27/06 stu anyone who doen't like this is stupid 5 stars
8/14/06 cody a gulity pleasure movie with lot fun and sex scenes, what more can guy ask for! 3 stars
6/18/06 jcnice Entertaining for a while, then bogs down in folks sufferng for their sins. 4 stars
6/09/06 Joshua Awesome. 5 stars
5/20/06 mr.mike burt should've won the oscar 5 stars
3/08/06 great my favorite movie of all time, great movie to watch a must see for everyone! 5 stars
11/24/05 John Dog All you guys who think this movie's crap are assholes. 5 stars
11/02/05 shackle what a pile of pretentious crap...no wonder you all fell for it. 1 stars
10/26/05 Crumbcake The movie that has brainwashed an entire moviegoing public into thinking it's good!!!!!!!!! 1 stars
10/24/05 Suk-R-Punch P-E-R-F-E-C-T-L-Y A-W-F-U-L-!-!-!-!-! 1 stars
10/20/05 Agent Sands P-E-R-F-E-C-T-!-!-!-!-! 5 stars
10/19/05 Anthony Gee Marky Fart can't act. 1 stars
10/17/05 Crapture Who cares what these human spitoons do with their wasted lives?!?!?!?!?! CRAP!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1 stars
10/15/05 OodlesofOs Scumdogs of the Universe. 1 stars
10/14/05 gasp The crappiest movie that everyone seems to love for absolutely no reason at all. SHEEP!!!! 1 stars
10/13/05 Bryant Gumby BOOGER NIGHTS 1 stars
10/12/05 Johnny Cake Heather's tits = A+++++++++++++++++++++++++ The movie = F--------------------------------- 1 stars
10/10/05 Biz-e What a big piece of sleazeball shit...that describes its fans, as well. 1 stars
9/23/05 Jakub MOST OVERRATED MOVIE EVER! 1 stars
9/16/05 drippy This was a big, giant, massive ball of mung. 1 stars
9/14/05 Boy mmm... rollergirl mmmmm 5 stars
9/07/05 Bitchum 'Should have been called POOPIE NIGHTS. 1 stars
9/05/05 JubJub Stupid, scummy, sleazy, shitty, sappy, silly, smug. 1 stars
9/03/05 Craven Simply put: garbage. 1 stars
9/02/05 Mailk Tries to hard to be cool and hip and arty and important...ends up being just shit. 1 stars
9/02/05 Edward Paul "I Have No Talent" Anderson...both of them suck big and little dicks. 1 stars
9/01/05 unlimited this is just another film that one dork said was cool and all the other dorks followed. 1 stars
8/31/05 Vasquez Total Tarantino/Robert Altman rip-off...PTA sucks donkey balls. 1 stars
8/30/05 Brisbane Who gives a shit about a bunch of public fuckers?!?! They're barely even human...fuck'em!! 1 stars
8/29/05 Blissful Johnny You guys just love this movie because of the big cock, don't you? You looove the cock... 1 stars
8/28/05 Jabberjaw Not a single character here worth caring about...not a one. 1 stars
8/28/05 hicks Quite possibly the most overrated movie and director in the history of cinema. 1 stars
7/18/05 DM Well-acted, sometimes depressing but brilliantly made. 5 stars
6/19/05 J MAN roxy is an idiot, great film 5 stars
6/08/05 Agent Sands One of my top 10 favorites. Riveting, powerful, brilliant filmmaking. 5 stars
5/13/05 Indrid Cold Ultimately Anderson doesn't have anything profound to say, but boy does he do it in style. 5 stars
4/26/05 shady the movie rocks out with its cock out. 5 stars
3/16/05 Chris Stephens Good movie some great lines 5 stars
3/12/05 Jack Bourbon not as bad as Magnolia 2 stars
2/11/05 H.P. Lovecraft Excellent acting. Original movie. Entertaining and real. 5 stars
1/09/05 Agent Sands It's impossible to dislike this movie. It is one of the best movies ever, dammit. 5 stars
1/08/05 Nessus Just like real life, it was great until the 80s. About 45 mins too long. 3 stars
6/28/04 Daveman Damn near perfect. Highly entertaining but never sentimental. 5 stars
6/14/04 MyGreenBed Vastly overrated, spawned an atrocious monster in Markie Mark "the actor", no thanks. 2 stars
3/30/04 malcolm very good but overrated. wrapped up too neatly. 4 stars
12/08/03 john a greatly entrtaining drama - funny too! 5 stars
9/19/03 Samuel Justus good movie, except for the prothsetic penis at the end... 5 stars
8/07/03 Alice Great humor. 4 stars
5/09/03 Marky Mark & Funky Bunch "Broken dreams, shattered pride"...they were all resigned to live "on the wild side." 5 stars
4/15/03 Jack Bourbon Bored me to death. For people who want to watch real porn but are afraid, perhaps. SUCKS! 1 stars
3/26/03 Sommersby Entertaining, bit it turns maudlin and formulaic in second half. Reynolds is extraordinary. 3 stars
3/17/03 Peter This is one of my all time favorites. It just kicks butt! 5 stars
12/23/02 BigBlackAfrika PT Anderson is brilliant. He manipulates an audience like a director is s'pposed ta. 5 stars
11/19/02 Nevz Wish mine was THAT big 4 stars
11/05/02 Daniel One of the most horrible films ever! Not offensive, mind you. Just plain stupid. 1 stars
10/27/02 MarktheShark6 The name Dirk Diggler is funny, otherwise it's just sick and pointless. 2 stars
8/27/02 Jim Amiable camp morphs into 'Pulp Fiction' and then into the Brady Bunch 3 stars
8/05/02 Charles Tatum Well written...and oh so naughty 4 stars
7/23/02 Bada Bing Crosby the 'Sister Christian' scene alone is a masterpice; rest is just as good too! 5 stars
7/05/02 KMG FYI: Wahlberg has 3 nipples 3 stars
6/03/02 Jenny Tullwartz More than you wanted to know about an enterprise more pitiful than you ever wanted it to be 2 stars
5/23/02 Piz I'm still quoting lines from this movie...hilarious and engaging 4 stars
4/06/02 Diotima who gives a damn about the workings/subtleties of the porn industry? A waste of time. 1 stars
4/03/02 Edfink Lombardo One of the best movies of the '90s. Top-notch acting, writing, directing... A masterpiece 5 stars
2/28/02 Alan Smithee Burt Reynolds as a porn producer, and full frontal Heather Graham nudity. 5 stars
2/21/02 Nevz I liked it 5 stars
2/20/02 Xaver A good and depressing film. 4 stars
2/17/02 Devil Boy B Maybe in 20 years PTA will add 45 minutes for Boogie Nights Redux. 5 stars
2/12/02 john james one of the worst movies i've ever seen. boring and pointless! 1 stars
1/08/02 Spyguy2 A masterpiece of American film from a brilliantly talented director - P.T.A. 5 stars
11/30/01 Mr. Hat (formerly Joe Zappa) I like when Roller Girl goes down on Dirk. Dirk Diggler is a really stupid name though. 3 stars
10/16/01 KIRSTY My favourite movie 5 stars
10/03/01 Butterbean Mark will always be Dirk Diggler when I see him in other movies 5 stars
9/29/01 Phoenix Wahlberg is a really good actor, he doesn't get enough credit, and the movie is excellent. 5 stars
9/17/01 Rebecca whalberg This movie wa Mark's finest job well acted and well written! Go rent it! NOW! 5 stars
7/01/01 Peter Brook The amazing thing is that Magnolia is even better than this 5 stars
5/28/01 Connor Dueck a look at the porn industry through a good movie. 5 stars
5/18/01 Bada Bing Crosby Made me feel filthy, had to take a shower afterwards to get the movie off me 5 stars
2/16/01 Black Bob Oh man, that white boy is bigger than me, shit. 5 stars
1/10/01 Rob Banfitch Its amazing that Anderson can make the porn business art. 5 stars
12/31/00 Msitrab Excellent movie, great performances 5 stars
10/27/00 JC23 Awesome 5 stars
9/13/00 Boy In The Designer Bubble If my willie were that big, I'd never wear pants!!! 4 stars
7/13/00 Tom Excellent performance by Julianne Moore 4 stars
7/01/00 Elvisfan so sleazy i needed a shower...and a wank 5 stars
6/04/00 Piz a dynamite story with likeable characters all-around...a kick-ass movie 5 stars
4/17/00 julie "People tell me I look a lot like Han Solo." 5 stars
4/12/00 high and mighty asshole the greatest. an absolute goddamned masterpiece. where were the oscars? PTA IS THE BEST 5 stars
3/07/00 J. Alán Blankenship A truly brilliant masterpiece, Burt Reynolds & Mark Wahlberg were amazing. 5 stars
1/12/00 paul great 5 stars
11/05/99 Anthony Ellis A great movie, but maybe too long! 5 stars
10/05/99 Bozo Pretty hot, great soundtrack, lousy clothes, lousy fake dick, great firecrackers!! 5 stars
9/25/99 alyssa Ah, the excesses. 4 stars
8/27/99 Bornslippy Great script, great acting, great soundtrack. All the characters deserve a sequel! 5 stars
8/01/99 Raiderfan26 The pulp fiction of the porn industry. Truly a great movie! 5 stars
7/26/99 J-Dogg Great movie. Long, but entertaining. Needs more nudity though. 5 stars
6/30/99 hum i was suprised at how good it is 4 stars
4/15/99 Jon Jackson Superb. P.T. Anderson is an amazing man, check out Sydney (Hard 8) 5 stars
2/24/99 mochacchino It wasnt as great as I thought it would be but its worth the time 5 stars
2/18/99 Piz well acted and a great story. You'll want to see it again. 5 stars
11/26/98 Mr.Pink Everything in this movie is GREAT!! 5 stars
11/09/98 Spice What a suprise! Mark was refresingly new and talented! What a bod!!!!! 5 stars
10/24/98 Timmy C I want Heather Graham. 5 stars
10/19/98 Kwyjibo A modern day classic. Anderson is one to watch. 5 stars
10/07/98 Maegs I Hated every single second. 5 stars
9/17/98 cheryl_ann i wanna be like rollergirl. 4 stars
9/07/98 Damien SEX,VIolence, DIRK DIGLLER. FUCKING GREAT 5 stars
9/04/98 Badass YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
8/25/98 Miss Stress Hell, it wasn't that big! 4 stars
8/23/98 Mister Whoopee The penis was in advance stages of rigormortis. 5 stars
8/23/98 Superfly My only complaint is a question... do penises turn gray at a certain length? 5 stars
8/21/98 Pete Well made - All around great effort from PT Anderson. Why did Burt fire his agent? 5 stars
8/16/98 Johny Ripped off Scorsese a little to much, but I still liked it a lot 5 stars
8/14/98 sean good writing, good acting make up for derivativeness 4 stars
8/14/98 {{{OZ}}} Roxy's wrong about Rollergirl. She rules the school. 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  02-Oct-1997 (R)
  DVD: 29-Aug-2000

UK
  02-Feb-1998

Australia
  02-Feb-1998 (R)




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