Boogie Nights

Dom Robinson reviews

Boogie NightsDistributed by

Entertainment In Video


    • EDV 9004
    • Cert: 18
    • Running time: 148 minutes
    • Year: 1997
    • Pressing: 1999
    • Region(s): 2 (UK PAL)
    • Chapters: 26 plus extras
    • Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1
    • Languages: English
    • Subtitles: English
    • Widescreen: 1.85:1 (original ratio: 2.35:1); 4:3 Pan-and-scan
    • 16:9-enhanced: Yes
    • Macrovision: No
    • Disc Format: DVD 9
    • Price: £19.99
    • Extras : Scene index, Interviews


      Paul Thomas Anderson

    (Cigarettes And Coffee, The Dirk Diggler Movie, Hard Eight, Magnolia)


    Lloyd Levin, John Lyons, Paul Thomas Anderson and Joanne Sellar


    Paul Thomas Anderson


    Michael Penn


    Eddie Adams/Dirk Diggler: Mark Wahlberg (The Big Hit, The Corruptor, Fear, Traveller)
    Jack Horner: Burt Reynolds (Bean, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, City Heat, Cop and a ½, Crazy Six, Deliverance, Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex But Were Afraid To Ask, Rough Cut, Sharkey’s Machine, Smokey AndThe Bandit 1 & 2, Striptease, Trigger Happy)
    Amber Waves: Julianne Moore (Assassins, The Big Lebowski, Body of Evidence, Lost World: Jurassic Park, The Myth of Fingerprints, Nine Months, Safe, Short Cuts, Vanya on 42nd Street)
    Maurice T. Rodriguez: Luis Guzman (The Hard Way, The Substitute)
    Floyd Gondolli: Philip Baker Hall (Hard Eight)
    Buck Swope: Don Cheadle
    Scotty: Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Big Lebowski, Bonfire Of The Vanities, Interview with the Vampire, Jumanji, Little Women, New York Stories, Scent of a Woman, Twister)
    Little Bill: William H. Macy (Air Force One, A Civil Action, The Client, Fargo, Murder in the First, Wag The Dog)
    Rollergirl: Heather Graham (License To Drive, Lost In Space, Midnight Sting, Mrs Parker and the Vicious Circle, Shout, Swingers)
    Reed Rothchild: John C. Reilly (Boys, Dolores Claiborne, Hard Eight, The River Wild, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape ?)
    The Colonel: Robert Ridgely
    Rahad Jackson: Alfred Molina (Before and After, Dead Man, Hideaway, The Man Who Knew Too Little, Maverick, The Perez Family, Species, TV: Hancock)
    Little Bill’s wife: Nina Hartley

Boogie Nightstells the story of seventeen-year-old busboy Eddie Adams (Mark Wahlberg, brotherof New Kids On The Block member Donnie and once better known as rapper ‘MarkyMark’ who had a single Top 40 hit in 1991 with “Good Vibrations” when it made No.14)working in the kitchen of the Hot Traxx nightclub in the San Fernando Valley in1977, who is discovered by veteran adult movie-maker Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds,putting in an engaging performance which makes you wonder why he’s spent the last decadethrowing his career down the toilet) after he learns of Eddie’s “talent”, whichis alluded to by one’s “donkey-dick” reference.

Yes, Eddie has a great big penis and it’s no secret. It’s also going to net him a lotof money once he enters the adult film world as Dirk Diggler, but with the freedomthat money provides comes responsbility – something he steers shy of as his socialcircle expands to include narcotics which disappear up his nose faster than the friendshe acquires once he becomes too big for his boots and his career takes a devastatingtumble, leading him to wonder if he’ll ever find a way out.

If there’s one thing this film does have in spades, it’s a great cast. (JulianneMoore) plays Amber Waves coming to Eddie’s aid as an experience porn starwho becomes his first on film and sees him as someone she wants to ‘mother’ over.William H. Macy has made a career of being the ‘down-trodden man’, this timebeing no different as one of Horner’s employees with an unfaithful wife – another pornstar, but one who doesn’t care whether it’s for money or pleasure as she sleeps withevery guy in town, even right under her husband’s nose. Her character is played by areal porn star too, Nina Hartley. The cast also includes Lost In Space‘sHeather Graham as another porn star, Rollergirl, John C. Reilly as Eddie’sbest friend Reed Rothchild and Alfred Molina in a cameo as a manic drug dealer witha firecracker-loving friend and a bouncer who makes Vanessa Feltz look anorexic.

Well, with a film that expertly weaves together many separate storylines, surely nothingcan go wrong? Sadly, it can. While the picture is anamorphic – giving an extra 33% ofresolution – and fairly free of artifacts, it’s in the completely wrong theatricalratio! The film was shot in Panavision with a ratio of 2.35:1, yet the imagepresented here is cropped to 1.85:1 (not 16:9 as quoted on the box) which destroysjust about every well-composed scene from the stunning sweeping opener, a one-take shotthat introduces us to the town that Dirk Diggler inhabits, to even basic static scenesthat cram several key people into the 2.35:1 frame, which, when cropped, loses someof them so you don’t get to see the reactions of everyone at that point. Oh, and thetitle of the film, emblazoned in a big neon sign at the start, is no longer what itreads above, but is: “oogie Nigh” !

To add insult to injury, the anamorphic version also suffers from the fat-heads syndromethat plaguedWag The Dog, a more completedescription of this problem being available with that review. To add insult to insultto injury, a pan-and-scan option is also available when playing the film but since itjust selects the central 4:3 portion of the widescreen image, it’s a waste of time.(“gie Nig“, anyone ?).

The average bitrate is 5.19Mb/s, occasionally peaking over 7Mb/s.

The sound quality, like the film content, is spot-on though. It’s presented inDolby Digital 5.1 and contains one classic track after another as the film runsfrom the late 70’s to the early 80’s includingBest of My Love (Emotions),Brand New Key (Melanie),Lonely Boy (Andrew Gold),Fooled Around and Fell in Love (Elvin Bishop),Jesse’s Girl (Rick Springfield),God Only Knows (The Beach Boys),99 Red Balloons (Nena),Livin’ Thing (Jeff Lynne)and my favourite from the whole film,Mama Told Me Not To Come (Three Dog Night).

It also includes a score from Michael (brother of Sean) Penn, of whom myonly experience is his unsurpassable 1990 album, March, featuring the radiohit, No Myth. However, Mr. Penn gets cut off his prime at the top and tailof the movie. At the start, his opening coda has been excised altogether. In the USrelease it is played while the New Line logo appears plays for nearly a minutebefore the Emotions kick in, while the logo has its own music burst followed almostinstantly by the aforementioned “oogie Nigh“. At the end of the closing credits,the music cuts out moments before it’s meant to, but that’s not the only DVD trackwhich loses out as there’s eight more to come.

Extras : Chapters :There are 26 chapters spread throughout the 148 minutes of the film, but while itcaptures some of the major scenes, it’s still not nearly enough. Don’t go lookingfor a trailer amongst the extras as you won’t find one. Languages & Subtitles :

The language and subtitles are in English only. Residents of other countries willhave to take their cues from Dirk’s body-language if they can’t understand the plot.

Interviews :According to the packaging there are interviews but I couldn’t find them. What I couldfind though are eight brief clips lasting between 16 seconds and 1:11 composing ofrandom stop-start soundbites from Wahlberg, Moore, Reynolds, Reilly, Graham, Macy,Cheadle and director Paul Thomas Anderson. However, none of these give youany real insight to the film and every single one sees the interviewee getting cut offin mid-flow! Other extras :Director’s commentary with additional words from the principal characters mentionedabove? No.

Nine deleted scenes not included in the final version of the film? No.

Cast and crew biographies? No.

A music video by Michael Penn, directed by Paul Thomas Anderson? No.

Well, do these exist? Yes and they’re on the American release. From this DVD,you wouldn’t even find that Anderson wrote and director the 1988 film,The Dirk Diggler Story

Menu :

The menu system is colourful and easy to navigate what’s there, but that won’ttake long. It’s also static and silent.

On inserting the disc, you see the Entertainment In Video logo and the copyright info,before the menu appears. Clicking on “Play Movie” brings up the New Line Cinema logowith its own music, as previously mentioned, before the film starts.

Overall, while the film itself is a classy mix of top-notch script, acting anddirecting, the sloppy presentation of the DVD has more bungles than an episodeof Rainbow and as such cannot be recommended when the American releasecontains so much more, not to mention the film as it’s meant to look.

VCI re-released Shawshank Redemption after initially leaving the publicwanting a widescreen version. Buena Vista re-released Armageddon aftertrying to palm off a non-anamorphic flipper. So, Entertainment In Video,please restore the balance and re-release Boogie Nights with the respectit deserves.FILM : *****PICTURE QUALITY : **SOUND QUALITY: *****EXTRAS: ½——————————-OVERALL: ***

Review copyright © Dominic Robinson, 1999.

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