Paul Thomas Anderson directs Mark Wahlberg, Julianne Moore and Burt Reynolds in this expansive black comedy following a company of adult entertainment makers at the tail end of the Porno Chic era.
And Philip Seymour Hoffman. And John C Reilly. And tinkerbell with her titties out Heather Graham. And cowboy Don Cheadle. And Melora Walters. And Luis Guzmán. And cuckolded William H Macy. And Nina Hartley. And Philip Baker Hall. And moustachioed Thomas Jane. And crazed Alfred Molina. What a cast! For many this was their jumping off point into above the title fame… or a course correction after a few years in the career doldrums. Everyone is fantastic here. Even if you put a gun to my head and I had to pick one standout performance I could probably only whittle it down to four names. BANG! I haven’t actually watched this since a late night cinema trip on release. I remember we used to go to the Park Royale multiplex after the pubs closed and maybe an almost three hour movie was a bad idea to start watching at least five pints in and that late. I remember almost dozing off, then the firecracker sequence jolting me back to attention like a line of cocaine. BANG! I knew it was good, and nearly all of it attached itself to my consciousness the morning, year and decades after. The DVD copy I bought is degraded and shitty. Gonna have to invest in a Blu-Ray. PTA is still finding his feet here, Boogie Nights is one of his best but it also apes Altman, Scorsese, Ashby, De Palma and Tarantino too slavishly. He would need a few more features to make these moves his own, out grow his influences. For example, he tries to get away with the same bad situation ending in bloodshed but also redemption twice in the same act. Sloppy. Yet all this is exactly my jam. You are left wanting more from every character. Every situation. You wanna watch a Reed Rothchild and Rollergirl double feature. BANG! You wonder where they all are now? We are already further away from 1997 now than Anderson was from 1983 where we leave them. Boogie Nights 2 really wouldn’t be that limiting a choice for his next project, would it?
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