Saturday, June 14, 2014

Boogie Nights (1997)

Burt Reynolds Film Fest Movie #1 (Please click the links to read my reviews of Smokey and the Bandit, The Crew, The Longest Yard, Paternity, City Heat, Driven, Semi-Tough, The Man Who Loved Women, Shamus, and The Hollywood Sign) Oh, and check out my review of the semi-related Wonderland.

Synopsis: Man with huge dick a huge dick. 

Blurb From the VHS Jacket: “From Hollywood’s hottest new director comes the outrageous epic that throws the covers back on California’s adult entertainment industry in the swinging seventies.” 

What Did I Learn?: In the 1970s, the adult film industry was a vibrant, creative enterprise peopled with warm and caring individuals... and then videotape destroyed everything.


Really?: 1) Is Dirk's mom secretly in love with him? Does he maintain any sort of relationship with his hen-pecked father? How does he feel about his girlfriend? I have no idea because all of these characters exit, stage left after the first 20 minutes. 2) So, is it legal in California to pick up a complete stranger and then beat the shit out of him? Wouldn't Jack and Rollergirl face criminal charges, or a lawsuit, or something? 3) I realize that a scene of Dirk crashing his 
Corvette was omitted from the movie, but shouldn't somebody have provided some sort of explanation for the damage? 4) Funny how the film ends in 1984, and there isn't a single mention of the AIDS virus.

Rating: Boogie Nights is a clever, often-funny, and very stylish look at the late 1970s / early 1980s pornography scene. The movie is loaded with great music and fine performances, but it's marred by some decidedly mixed messaging: Boogie Nights romanticizes and sentimentalizes the adult film industry while also portraying it as scummy, drug-infested and exploitative. Seriously, are we supposed to feel sorry for Amber Waves when she's denied custody of her kids? Should we cheer for Dirk when he goes back to making porn for Jack? 8/10 stars.

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