Jun 17, 2024

There's Shadows In Life, Baby

Boogie Nights
Mahoning Drive-In Theater - Lehighton, PA
I've started using Letterboxd more frequently over the past year.  One of the features it offers is the ability to rate movies on a scale of zero to five stars.  Most of the movies I see end up getting between 2.5 and 3.5 stars, with the ones that I really love getting 4 or 4.5 stars, but I'm pretty stingy when it comes to a five star rating.  For me, five stars means that a movie is absolutely perfect... a movie that I can't imagine ever getting tired of seeing and would enjoy no matter what kind of a mood I'm in... a movie that I would go out of my way to see on the big screen when the opportunity presented itself.  Boogie Nights is one of my five star movies.

Show banner designed by Andrew Kern

The Mahoning Sunday Essentials series has been incredible up to this point, and there's a lot of great films scheduled for the rest of the summer.  If you've never been out to the lot before and you're not sure if you want to dive in with a double or triple feature, I highly recommend coming out on a Sunday night.

The Diggler Dog.  If you wanna see me eat it, it's ten. But if you just wanna look at it, it's only five.

Beth ordered jumbo hot dogs for last night's screening, which were sold at the concession stand as "Diggler Dogs".  If you've seen the movie, you know.  They were actually pretty darn tasty hot dogs, and I hope that John Brenan would have been proud that I didn't put ketchup on it.

This is a beautiful movie, and I don't mean that as a joke or as a half-assed perverted comment.  The setting is the porn industry of the late 70's and early 80's, and it has a lot of sex scenes and nudity, but that's not at all what I'm talking about.

I've tried writing this out a few times and I'm having a difficult time finding a way to say it that won't be misinterpreted, but I'll do my best.  This is a movie about a bunch of flawed people who live life on their own terms, and who have all found each other to form an unconventional family.  Despite the fact that Dirk Diggler has sex with Amber Waves and Rollergirl both on and off camera, their relationships are more familial than anything else.  This is especially true of Dirk and Amber, whose bond is closer to a mother/son than anything sexual.  Sex just happens to be a part of that relationship because it's how they earn their living.  It may be the most genuine feeling family dynamic that I've ever seen brought to film.

This movie has a lot of drama and a lot of laughs, but there are three scenes that stick out in my mind.  The first is the scene where Dirk's mother (his real mother, not Amber) kicks him out of the house towards the start of the film.  The character of Dirk's mom reminds me so much of my grandmother that it's scary.  The second is the scene where Amber and Rollergirl are doing coke in the bedroom and Rollergirl asks Amber if she can call her mom.  This scene is so powerful and real that it damn near brings me to tears.  The third is when Dirk comes back to Jack Horner and asks him for help.  They hug and when Dirk apologizes, Jack whispers "I'm sorry too, kid".  It's perfect.

I'm going to quit while I'm ahead here, because I'm much too tired to properly explain why I love this movie as much as I do.  Maybe I'll edit this later and try to do a better job when I'm more awake and thinking more clearly.  Suffice to say that the story, the performances, the cinematography, the use of music, and the ending are absolutely flawless.  Paul Thomas Anderson is a genius.