Boogie Nights (1997)

boogie nights poster 1997 movie
9.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 10/10
Visuals: 9/10

Great acting, visuals, strong story

Gets a bit slow at the end

Movie Info

Movie Name: Boogie Nights

Studio: New Line Cinema

Genre(s): Drama

Release Date(s): October 10, 1997

MPAA Rating: R


Sweet threads!

Eddie Adams (Mark Walhberg) has a future in films…but not as Eddie but as Dirk Diggler. Blessed with a giant penis, Dirk is making his mark in the 1970s Los Angeles porn world. With the great filmmaker Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds), costars like Reed Rothchild (John C. Reilly), Amber Waves (Julianne Moore), Rollergirl (Heather Graham), Jessie St. Vincent (Melora Walters), Buck Swope (Don Cheadle), and Becky Barnett (Nicole Ari Parker) and co-workers like Scotty J. (Phillip Seymour Hoffman), Little Bill (William H. Macy), and Maurice Rodriguez (Louis Guzman), Dirk is out to make his mark on Hollywood, but sometimes being on top means a bigger fall.



Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, Boogie Nights was a period drama.  The film loosely adapts the life of John C. Holmes and is an expansion of Anderson’s 1988 short film The Dirk Diggler Story.  The film was released to positive reviews and received Academy Award nominations for Best Supporting Actress (Moore), Best Supporting Actor (Reynolds), and Best Original Screenplay.

Boogie Nights was breakthrough for Anderson. His previous movie Hard Eight while popular around the art circles, but it never crossed over to mainstream. Boogie Nights was released when I was out of the country, and I missed its original release…but I quickly caught up.

The structure for the film is almost identical to both A Clockwork Orange and Goodfellas. Diggler has fun on his rise to fame, finds challenge at the top, falls, and starts to rebuild. This makes for a problem (in all three films). When Dirk and his friends are behaving badly, the movie is fun, fast-paced, and exciting. As the characters problems mount, the movie drags a little. The inevitable fall takes too long, though the intense moment with Dirk, Reed, and Todd Parker (Thomas Jane) in the home of Rahad Jackson (Alfred Molina) is great and tense….plus Anderson’s bravery to hold the shot on Walhberg’s face for an excruciatingly long time shows a skilled director.


This is art!

The film looks great and Anderson combines ’70s style with modern editing, long shots, and flashy quick moments and cuts. The quick editing seems to borrow from Quentin Tarantino’s films which had popped up before, but Anderson brings his own style that can be seen in his other films like Magnolia and There Will Be Blood. Boogie Nights shows an improvement from Hard Eight but Anderson also seems to have a bigger budget for the film to make those improvements.  I was not a big fan of Punch-Drunk Love, but stylistically, it was a good film.


You’ve got the Touch! You’ve got the Power! (Thanks to The Transformers: The Movie)

Boogie Nights also has a great cast and amazing cast that work well together. I generally don’t like Mark Walhberg much, but here in this movie, he works. It helps that his character is a bit of a wimp and wishy-washy. John C. Reilly obviously made a great impression of his equally stupid friend with bravado, and Julianne Moore cemented her abilities as an actress as the motherly Amber Waves to Heather Graham’s fun Rollergirl. The stand-out star of course was Burt Reynolds as the aging porn king who is father to all the misfits in his films. Reynolds really came back with this film, but it didn’t maintain and he disappeared again after that. Except for Burt Reynolds, most of the cast became the who’s who of independent films.

Boogie Nights is a fun movie that gets long near the end. Anderson shows that his skill with actors and editing through the movie and really made me like him. Boogie Nights is about porn movies so that could turn off some that are squeamish to the subject.  Half the fun is watching the fake porn movies in which Anderson actually adapted most of the dialogue from real pornos. If you’ve never seen Boogie Nights…it is definitely worth wild…You’ve got the touch!

Related Links:

Wadd:  The Life & Times of John C. Holmes (1999)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

Leave A Response