Movies The 90s

Boogie Nights

Boogie Nights is a 1997 film by Paul Thomas Anderson and starring Mark Wahlberg, Julianne Moore, Burt Reynolds, and John C. Reilly. It premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and won instant acclaim critically and financially, winning seventeen industry awards. It marked a major turning point for Wahlberg’s acting career and remains a fan favorite to this day.

Wahlberg plays Eddie Adams, a high school dropout who enters the adult film industry under the tutelage of Jack Horner (Reynolds), a pornographic director who helps Adams establish his industry persona of Dirk Diggler. For a while, it appears that Adams has found his life’s calling (especially due to his unusually large genitalia), but soon things begin to fall apart. Horner’s main producer, The Colonel, is arrested on child pornography charges; a cuckolded assistant commits a gruesome murder-suicide; and Adams develops a dangerous substance addiction that leads to a falling out with Horner. Adams runs away with his friend and co-star Reed Rothchild, but will their irresponsibility lead to their own brutal end?

Boogie Nights was hailed upon its release, as critics were stunned by its dramatic and unexpected take on the porn industry. Roger Ebert praised its “matter-of-fact” approach to sexuality, and compared it favorably to Pulp Fiction for its deft balancing act between comedy and violence in the same scene. As a portrait of the 1970s, wrote Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle, “it is the first great film…to come out since the 70s.” Boogie Nights received three Oscar nominations for Best Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, and Original Screenplay. Burt Reynolds won most of Boogie Nights’ seventeen awards, including a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor.



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