Last night IFC played Boogie Nights, Paul Thomas Anderson’s second feature, and I had the pleasure of watching the intro sequence for the first time since I saw the movie in the theater, way back in 1997. Terrific, and immediately reminds one of the famous scene in Goodfellas — but Anderson is never in danger of being called an imitator.
I’ve written about Paul Thomas Anderson’s movies including this one before, but I was reminded of what a great film it is. I am very careful how I throw around 10/10 ratings and the word “masterpiece”, but I think Boogie Nights must be included in that pantheon. Mr. Anderson is a director who gets you excited every time he releases a picture, but Boogie Nights remains his greatest success.
I’m pretty happy with what I wrote about this movie 5 years ago in the above-cited post:
A LITTLE MORE serious tone with the films of Paul Thomas Anderson. What an extraordinary, visionary filmmaker he is. The first of his that I saw – in its theatrical showing – was his first major release, the masterpiece Boogie Nights (1997). I won’t say a whole lot about it, except it’s about the burgeoning porn industry in the ’70s disco era. Mark Whalberg, an actor in a very select class, plays screen character ‘Dirk Diggler’; Burt Reynolds, in a sort of rebirth role for him, plays the porn family patriarch. As this is the porn industry, and as cocaine is thrown in the mix, you can imagine not everyone is on the path of enlightenment. This is an outstanding film, and has some sequences in it which to me are right up there with the greatest scenes in film history, e.g. Marilyn Monroe’s dress being blown up by a sidewalk air vent or Luke Sykwalker blowing up the Death Star. One that stands out is an attempted drug heist while one of the lackeys throws out a punctuating staccato of little firecrackers.
The plot is very strong, and supported by an excellent cast including William H. Macy, Don Cheadle, Oscar winner Philip Seymour Hoffman, Julianne Moore, and an early role by Heather Graham as ‘Rollergirl.’
In other news… I wish IFC would go back to showing movies without commercial interruption, but I suppose once you go commercial you never go back. Luckily I suppose, other channels have popped up to fill the void.