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Boogie Nights

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Paul Thomas Anderson’s sprawling, exhilarating, crazy-quilt love letter to late ‘70s excess is an epic story tracking the meteoric rise of a super-stud porn star through the golden age of the adult film industry. Eddie Adams, aka “Dirk Diggler” (Mark Wahlberg), is a high school dropout-turned-porn star whose “big talent” sets his career on a dizzying upward trajectory thanks to the guidance of adult-movie kingpin Rick Horner (Burt Reynolds). Featuring a brilliant, Altman-esque ensemble cast, Boogie Nights paints an expansive mosaic of life in the X-rated movie business, as Diggler’s new surrogate “family” – nurturing porn queen Amber Waves (Julianne Moore), sweetly pathetic boom operator Scotty J. (Philip Seymour Hoffman), not-so-innocent ingénue Roller Girl (Heather Graham), etc. – rides high in the anything-goes late ‘70s, before devastating personal narratives and historic shifts in the cultural landscape render them has-beens in the Reagan-era ‘80s. Both intimate and epic in tone, Boogie Nights is an electrifying homage to the art and chaos of making movies, a tribute to the families we create and a clear-eyed look at America’s slide from the innocent hedonism of the 1970s into the darker realities of the 1980s. (Dir. by Paul Thomas Anderson, 1997, USA, 155 mins., Rated R)

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