12.08.2011

Feast On This.

BOOGIE NIGHTS (1997)
Bromance is in the air.
So I didn't really want to see this movie. I didn't. I thought this was going to be a stupid movie about Mark Walhberg's dick. I was wrong. It's an excellent movie about Mark Walhberg's dick. If you've seen Boogie Nights, you know why 13 is an important number. If you haven't, I'm not going to elaborate. And so I give you 13 inches reasons why Boogie Nights is the most badass fucking movie I've seen in a long time.

1. Dirk and Reed's bromance. I've gotta say, out of all the things I enjoyed in this movie, there was little I enjoyed more than the bromance that existed between Dirk Diggler and Reed Rothchild. Mark Wahlberg and John C. Reilly have amazing chemistry, and their back and forth banter really makes you fall in love with the characters easily. So Reed may not be the splitting image of Han Solo, but they can play like children and spend hours one-upping each other. Yet despite the constant competition, you always get the feeling that they've got each other's back, and it makes for a solid bromance. 

2. Mark Wahlberg's...face. I bet you thought I was going to devote one of these numbers to another attribute of Mark Wahlberg's, didn't you? Wrong. Did I mention I'm a lesbian? But in all honesty, it makes me jealous and I don't want to talk about it Wahlberg's subtle expressions really renewed my faith completely in his acting skills. I'm speaking, of course, about the last chapter, "Long Way Down (One Last Thing)", in which Dirk, Reed, and Todd find themselves trapped in a drug lord's den. And the camera stays on Mark Wahlberg's face. For a good fifty seconds. Exactly. I counted. And in those fifty seconds, we see a complete shift in Dirk's character. A wordless, effortless self-realization of where he is, who he is, of the fact that he's hit rock bottom. It's a compliment to the director, the script, and the actor that they had enough faith in themselves and in the audience to have the turning point of the movie rely entirely on this charged yet utterly subtle moment. Aaaand I'm done gushing.


3. Little Bill's demise. It's one of those scenes you just watch, feeling the tension grow, knowing what's going to come next but not quite believing it, and then finally--BAM. And all you can think is, "Fuck, why couldn't I have written that?"

4. The characters. We actually gave a crap about them. Is the movie long? It's two and a half hours and knows it. But it's a character epic. Every character is fleshed out, important, and has his or her own story. There are no sloppy extras, no stand ins. Everyone feels like they have a purpose, which makes the world feel very real.

5. The chicks. What's great about this movie? It's about the porn industry, and yet none of these women come off as "the victim". We don't have any of that stereotypical "paying my way through college" bullshit. All these characters are here because they have a real reason to be here, they all want to be in the industry--whether that desire is a masochistic one or not. Which in turn means that we don't get any women who are victims of circumstance and therefore think they're badass because they're crass and bitter. Instead, we get women who actually take control of their sexuality, which empowers them way more than any sulking pity party would.

Amber (Julianne Moore) could have been a helpless character. While she is a tragic character and definitely has a lot of drama in her life, she's never pathetic--we see her constantly making her own choices and trying to make control of her own life. Rollergirl (AKA: the best thing Heather Graham has ever done with her life) takes control by actually enjoying her job. She respects herself, respects her lifestyle, and will stomp you in the face with her roller-skates of fucking doom if you dare disrespect her. Both lead women are powerful characters, and amazing as fuck actresses. 

6. The dicks. The guys in this movie are just as great as the chicks. Sex is a big part of their lives, but not all of it--they've got their own complexes going on. Dirk Diggler just wants to be famous. Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds) just wants to make a good movie. Buck Swope (Don Cheadle) just wants to open his own records store. Little Bill (William H. Macy) just wishes his wife would stop sleep around. Scotty (is that...Philip Seymour Hoffman?) just wants to be loved. They're all great, lovable characters. And the acting. William H. Macy (AKA: "my fucking wife has an ass in her cock") can be my sperm donor. So can Don Cheadle. Fuck it, anyone in this movie. I can find fault with none of them. Between the script and the acting, this long ass movie has you enjoying every long ass minute. 

7. Reed's poem. Everything about Reed is amazing. Porn star, magician, poet. I give you...an original work of art by Reed Rothchild. 
I love you, you love me. Going down the sugar tree. We'll go down the sugar tree, and see lots of bees: playing, playing. But the bees won't sting, because you love me.
Can you tell this movie renewed my respect for John C. Reilly and his comic timing?

8. Porn. Porn in the 70s/80s. It was actually that ridiculous. Dirk Diggler was for the most part based off an early porn star known as John Holmes. And let me just say that if you thought that fake-dialog from movie was bad, it was nothing compared to the amazing awfulness that John Holmes worked with. He shows his lady a picture of his mother. He mourns a future life with 30-40 cats. And he cries. No worries, the clip below is completely work and grandmother friendly, though you may find yourself compulsively touching your funny bone. 


9. The sex. Reason number one why this is a badass movie. Boobies. So maybe it doesn't have as much sex as Shame (2011), but it has its raunchy bits and it uses them well. For a movie about the porn industry, there actually isn't as much sex as you'd probably expect. Nonetheless, the moments they do have hot and steamy bits are used well, and help the plot along. By which I mean, Julianne Moore is really smokin' hot. On the flip side, there are other sex scenes which will not turn you on. Scenes that will give you that sick, ugly feeling in your gut when the characters spiral downhill. Which, really, is just as good.


10. The drugs. Reason number two why this is a badass movie. Welcome to the 80s. Welcome to blow. Gratuitous white powder, angry drug lords, and strung out porn stars. 

11. The rocknroll. Reason number three why this is a badass movie. 99 Luftballoons. I don't know what the fuck this chick's saying, but it's the shit. The soundtrack is great, I dig it. 

12. The silence. Which builds something called suspense. The more you linger on a scene, the more invested the audience becomes in finding out what happens next. Simple as that. Why didn't P. T. ever do any horror movies?

13. The premise. It's genius. An epic about Marky Mark's dick. By setting the bar so low with a seemingly ridiculous plot that couldn't possibly take itself seriously, the movie subtly sucks you in and makes you fall for every one of the characters. It's just one of those rare examples of a brilliant concept, a brilliant script, a brilliant cast, and a brilliant prosthetic limb all coming together.


If you haven't seen this movie, give yourself an early Christmas present and check it out.

10 comments:

  1. I love the review! This is my favourite PTA for probably all the reasons you've given above, and mostly just because of the out-of-the-world concept, and that humour throughout.
    Glad you liked it :)

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  2. Thanks! I've got to agree with you, it's just...something that shouldn't work, but does. It works so hard. In so many ways. The humor definitely sealed the deal for it. Thanks for the comment!

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  3. What a pornolicious good time this flick is. I agree that it sounds like the most ridiculous thing ever and yet, it sucks you right in like mud in a field after a hard rain. Before you know it, you've lost your shoes, but you keep right on going, er, watching. I know that metaphor makes no sense, but hey, I'm running on three hours of sleep. ;) I'm blown away by the fact that you managed to find 4:50 seconds of porn that had no naked limbs and body fluids. Porn in the 70's/80's really was it's own special brand of cheesy awfulness. I loved that music and the Chrissy Snow/Jack Tripper interactions.

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  4. how cool, must be something in the air, I took a look at this one last month: (link if you want to have a look) http://criminalmovies.blogspot.com/2011/11/boogie-nights.html! You make some great points here. It's a movie that shouldn't work but does. Everyone was great and it kicked into high gear when the bottom fell out, but at the same time there remained a genuine sense of affection between all the characters. I also liked that being a movie about dirk diggler's dick, it didn't shirk the dark side of that coin, when his "meal ticket" responded to his excessive lifestyle by staging a little mutiny. Tough break when that's your only talent.

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  5. I love late night metaphors! They're the best. Especially shoes and sucking. But I agree with you completely, this movie is really a mind ninja all on its own. I'm also surprised I found so much non-sex in a porno! It is just way too hilarious. Cheesy dialog for the win. And the music. Ah, simpler, coked up times.

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  6. @ Brent--Badasses think alike! I'll totally be checking out your review. I saw this movie for the first time a few months ago I just...never got around to finishing the review. I'm with you there, it's definitely the affection between the characters that made me love this movie so much. One big happy fucked up family. I'm a sucker for it.

    And I agree completely--the mutiny was definitely a brilliant moment. One thing this movie has for it is that it's extremely unapologetic. It goes exactly where its characters need to go, and satisfies every single storyline in its own twisted little way.

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  7. Remarkable film. Easily among my Top 5 of the 90's, which as you know, is no mild statement; stiff competition to crack that praiseworthy tier.

    I love PT's direction. He's one of my favorites, not just contemporary but historical. Churning out masterpiece after masterpiece (this film, Magnolia, There Will Be Blood, etc.), he weaves a stylistic imprint that is as unforgettable as it is riveting. I particularly love his use of long tracking shots...his opening sequence is one of the greatest in film history right next to Welles' opening tracking shot in Touch of Evil (If you haven't seen that, get on it. It's brilliant).

    Boogie Nights endeared me to Wahlberg and Reilly (we're on a surname only basis). Plus, I earned a newfound respect for Burt Reynolds and Julianne Moore.

    Altogether, magnificent post and very well-written. Great job!

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  8. Top 5 is a major compliment! I'd have to think about that one. Still...it wouldn't be that far off from the top for me either.

    PT is amazing. I actually haven't seen enough of his films to be called a TRUE fan of the man, but There Will Be Blood did impress the hell out of me, and the fact that he could do something as good-feely as Boogie Nights and something as dark as There Will Be Blood speaks volumes for the man. And I agree completely with the long tracking shots...reason 10000 why the demise of Little Bill was brilliant.

    Touch of Evil? I am so getting on that. *Adds it to the list*

    And I agree with you there! I thought Wahlberg was just good fun when he was screaming at Will Ferrell. Then I saw this and realized homeboy could act.

    Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed!

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  9. What an awesome compilation of reasons why this film is such the shit. It's utterly unturnoffable, and you can come into it at any point (no pun intended).

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  10. Thanks, homie! Ahahaha, buh-dum-dum...but I agree completely. It's just way too much fun, definitely unturnoffable.

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