Owen Gleiberman
October 24, 1997 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Boogie Nights

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
runtime
155 minutes
Wide Release Date
10/10/97
performer
Julianne Moore, Burt Reynolds, Mark Wahlberg, Don Cheadle, Heather Graham, Luis Guzman, Philip Baker Hall, Philip Seymour Hoffman, William H. Macy, Alfred Molina, John C. Reilly, Ricky Jay, Melora Walters
director
Paul Thomas Anderson
Producers
Ghoulardi Film Company, Lawrence Gordon Productions, New Line Cinema
distributor
New Line Cinema
author
Paul Thomas Anderson
genre
Drama

We gave it an A

Paul Thomas Anderson’s epic tale of porn, pleasure, and excess, offers a purer hit of exhilaration than any movie this year. Anderson traces the rise and fall of Eddie Adams (Mark Wahlberg), a 17-year-old San Fernando Valley busboy who becomes Dirk Diggler, the hottest name in the adult-film business. Dirk’s fortunes parallel the shifts in the porn industry, from the bedazzled hedonism of the late ’70s to the capitalist narcissism of the ’80s. For all its bravura, the most shocking aspect of Boogie Nights is its tenderness. Anderson sees the humanity of everyone on screen. At the climax, he stages the most hypnotic scene of the decade, as Dirk and his buddies attempt to rip off a rich, drugged-out jerk. It’s a vision of how pleasure itself became our ultimate addiction. A

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