Monday, July 26, 2010

Boogie Nights

We follow Burt Reynolds, who played the municipal judge in Mystery, Alaska, over to the monstrosity of a film called Boogie Nights. I am a big fan of Paul Tomas Anderson. He has only made one film I did not like. Ufortuately for you, that film is Boogie Nights.

The film isset I the “Golden Age of Porn,” aka the late ’70’s-early ’80’s. Burt Reynolds plays Jack Horner, a producer of adult films who turns a high school drop out, dishwasher and male prostitute Dirk Diggler (Mark Wahlberg) into a major adult film star. For two and a half hours, we watch the hum drum, glamorized world of adult filmmaking simultaneously with Diggler’s descent ito drug addiction.

The ensemble cast around Wahlberg is top notch, with actors like William H. Macy, john C. Reilly, Luis Guzman, Julianne Moore, and Don Cheadle attempting to bring a certain dignity to the adult film industry by struggling with their own mundane problems as they work at becoming adult film stars. But it is just not compelling viewig for me.

Okay, Heather Graham as Roller Girl was compelling. But otherwise, nada.

I am completely uninterested in Southern California hedonism, whether it is glamorized or shown warts and all as it is here, so Boogie Nights is not my cup of tea. I think many of the accolades the film has received over the years is because it fares to deal with a controversial subject I an artsy way. Cannot say I care about such things, particularly when a cadre of adult film actors are presented asa pseudo family.

That is what gets me most about the film. Diggler is a troubled child, already as low in life as one can get, with Horner as his surrogate father. Diggler runs off, is nearly killed in a hate crime attack, then comes back to Horner to live happily ever after. Or die of AIDS, which seems the more likely outcome. The end result is not the Manson family, but it is really close.

It is an unpleasant experience watching low class people abuse themselves in a prurient business. I am sorely disappointed with Anderson. Everyone is entitled a fumble here and there, but Boogie Nights is such unpleasant viewing, callig it a fumble is an insult to football.

Rating; ** (out of 5)

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