20 November 1998 | jmcgraw7
It takes genius to make a believable film about the porn industry that makes us care about its characters, and for me, this movie accomplishes that nearly-impossible task. "Boogie Nights" is a film about the adult film industry in the 70's and early 80's, and even though the "sleaze" is there--it is done with style, humor, and taste. Eddie Adams aka Dirk Diggler (Mark Wahlberg) is a charming but not-very-bright 17-year old dishwasher who is "discovered" by Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds), a fatherly adult filmmaker in 1977. The movie tracks his career and life over the next 8 years, as well as the other members of Jack's "family." The camera follows its many characters from scene to scene with a certain joyfulness, and we come to care about all of them deeply, no matter how small their roles. There is a perfect balance of the hilarious and the tragic, and the fast pace never lets up. The end of the '70s' ends with a literal *bang*, which is totally appropriate and marks not only the end of a decade, but the shift in mood from a party-atmosphere to one of growing tension. The soundtrack is wonderful, with the songs not only appropriate for the time period, but also to underscore the feeling of each scene. There is a scene, late in the film, that must be seen to be believed. In it, Dirk Diggler and two of his druggie friends go to the home of a drug-dealer to try to rip him off. The interplay of hilarity and tension is almost unbearable. A little Chinese boy walks around the room setting off firecrackers as a crack-addled bathrobe-clad Alfred Molina (as the drug lord) rants and raves and sings along with "Sister Christian" and "Jesse's Girl" which blast on the stereo. We can feel the characters' uneasiness and sense of danger each time another firecracker goes off. Everyone should see this movie. There's never been another like it.