Boogie Nights (USA, 1997)

boogie-nights-poster-artwork-mark-wahlberg-heather-graham-burt-reynoldsDirected by: Paul Thomas Anderson. I had seen most of this movie several years ago and there was something about it that failed to live up to the expectations. This time around, though, I think I get it. I’m not sure that there’s a whole ton to get, and what it is that I’m getting still doesn’t blow my mind, but I think I get it. This one is a fairly textbook, exemplary demonstration of what modern filmmaking is like in a post-(mid-?)Scorsese cultural environment: a quick pace that never slows, and even speeds up to convey the 70’s/80’s coke buzz; lots of grandiose, sweeping crane shots and long takes in order to convey tremendous grandeur and majesty onto these relatively mundane scenes (porn stars chatting to each other about their hair, etc)…If it sounds like I don’t like this movie, I don’t mean to mislead you. This is a thoroughly enjoyable movie—I liked watching it, and I want to watch it again (this movie is enjoyable based on Don Cheadle, William H. Macy and Alfred Molina’s parts alone). But I just can’t shake this feeling, implanted from my old film prof, that a lot of contemporary Hollywood is just plain old postmodernism—empty gestures pointing at nothing, pointing to the pointers of yesterday and relying on their former gravity, or their inherited, remembered substance, in order to derive meaning. I’m open to the idea that I’m just missing that special, crucial, important Something that makes this a great film instead of just a good, entertaining film—maybe I actually just don’t get it. Ah well, not every film must be a Great film in order to be enjoyable. I mean, I thought The Grey was great, and it’s probably not even very good. So there you go. This is a thoroughly enjoyable film and perhaps one of the top 10 films of the 1990’s, for what that’s worth.

2 responses to “Boogie Nights (USA, 1997)

  1. Pingback: List of Judgements, Anno Domini 2013 | Offhand Reviews·

  2. Pingback: Behind the Candelabra (USA, 2013) | Offhand Reviews·

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