Review by Don Weinman
This is an incredibly sophisticated and worthwhile film from yet another twenty something year old wonderkind, Paul Thomas Anderson.
We seem to be living in a renaissance "Golden Age" of young, talented filmakers who have obviously seen and even memorized the great films of the past.
Anderson has now made two films. His first, "Hard Eight, I missedbut read a very positive review from my friend Ben Hoffman. Well, having seen Boogie Nights I can understand that!
In this film the young director/writer has captured an era that he couldn't possibly remember much about since he was only seven years old at the time. But his touch is unerring down to the music and the costumes we wore in 1977. He follows a group of Hollywood outsiders involved in a growing industry in that year, porn films. Somehow Anderson manages to demonstrate life in that business without making a porn film himself. The technique is impeccable.
The little band of unapologetical sex exhibitionists are somehow made human and even likable. We follow them through the early, hopeful years when porn movies were seen in theaters, into the late 80s when the industry was doing nothing but grind out videos with endlessly repetitive sex acts. But the story is only a canvas on which Anderson hangs a brilliant memo about fame, excess, and desperation, and what they do to human beings.
There are at least three scenes that already rank with the best in my memory, a poolside sequence in which we meet most of the cast, a failed stick-up in a donut shop, and a remarkable, unforgettable scene in the home of a hollywood "dilitante".
The performances are nearly flawless, with special mention of Burt Reynolds (who seems to get better and better with age), William H. Macy, the young star of the film Mark Wahlberg, and Heather Graham as the endlessly desirable "Rollergirl'.
For cast and writing credits, see the IMDB
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