Film & Water #136 – Boogie Nights

THE FILM & WATER PODCAST

Episode 136: BOOGIE NIGHTS

Rob welcomes back bright, shining star Ryan Daly to discuss Paul Thomas Anderson’s 1997 classic BOOGIE NIGHTS! This episode definitely NSFW!

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11 responses to “Film & Water #136 – Boogie Nights

  1. I will be listening to this episode of “Film & Water: After Dark” with great anticipation. I still think this is PTA’s best film. I know some are reluctant to give this one a chance due to its porn setting, but it’s worth it. The film this most reminds me of is Robert Altman’s Nashville (1975). Both movies capture and present completely realized worlds with which most of us are largely unfamiliar. In Altman’s film it’s the country music industry. Each film presents a good cross-section of characters from these various domains so you get a real sense of what they must be like.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZGpaVZdGlo

    The other film that must have been an influence here on PTA has to be Smile, also from 1975. This one captures all the drama, intensity, and tackiness of a small town beauty pageant & stars Bruce Dern and Barbara Feldon (Agent 99):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbdKZQcxKYM

    The first scene I always think of with Boogie Nights is that intense meeting with Alfred Molina. I still recall how uncomfortable and unnerving it made the folks feel in the theater.

    Another really strong element of Boogie Nights is the excellent soundtrack. Lots of 1970s classics.

  2. My favorite part of this episode was Rob sounding like a nervous parent having “the sex talk”, while Ryan was just matter of fact about it. The teenager who already knows more than the parent, and knows all the new slang.

    I think I’ve only seen Boogie Nights once. I really enjoyed it, but its not the kind of movie I personally go back and re-watch for whatever reason. Having kids shortly thereafter who are constantly around is probably one reason. 😉

    I was surprised by how…sweet the film is. I know that sounds odd, but the general affection for these people, and treating them AS real people, really won me over.

    Is this Film and Water’s first Burt Reynolds film? Let’s hope it’s not the last…

    Great show fellas!

    Chris

    1. CFranks – Rob told me in semi-confidence that he’s featuring only Reynolds movie per year – that includes any cameos or supporting roles.

  3. Listening to Ryan and Rob talk about how much the characters came together as a family and how normal all of the things we would consider kind of weird I realized why this movie resonated with me so much. It felt real. I have been in a number of friend circles that came together because of a need to feel like you are part of a family. None of them involved porn (sadly?) but whether it was the Renaissance Club in college or a pagan group my wife and I were part of at one point there was always a sense that we came together because we wanted to feel like we were part of a family unit. Given how lost most of the characters in this film are that’s not surprising and I think one of the most realistic parts of this movie is watching that family fall apart and then come back together because that’s usually how these things play out. Everyone feels really close and you’re tight with your friends and then something happens and it all just goes to crap but down the line the family comes back together.

    There’s a lot to like about this film from the cinematography to the performances to the music and just the overall feel of the piece but I think what really makes it special is that these people we’re watching feel like they are real.

    And I also liked how matter of fact everyone in the film was about the business they were in. Things that may seem weird can get normal in a hurry. It’s just human nature.

  4. Torrance is a different planet from the Valley. A completely different world. Torrance is suburban , and at the time, the Valley was both suburbia and where the film/tv studios were (before everything fled to Canada and the south).

    Maybe Vince’s gym is synonymous with Gold’s Gym in Venice Beach. If you had bulk, you could work out there alongside Mr Universes like Schwarzenegger and Ferrigno.

    Great coverage on one of my favorite movies of the 90s. I remember reading about it in Premiere magazine. It was a huge deal at the time that there was a film covering the porn industry. Boogie Nights and Showgirls were ushering in an age of examination of the underside of sex. Obviously, BN is a fucking masterpiece (no pun intended) and Showgirls is a monument to strange decisions. There’s an okay movie called “Rated X” about “Behind the Green Door” which is okay, but worth checking out. And if you’re interested in the tragedy that is John Holmes, “Wonderland” with Val Kilmer deserves a look.

    Leave it to VHS to inadvertently kill Betamax.

    1. When I was rewatching the movie, I wrote “reference Wonderland” in my notes… or rather, I meant to. Instead, I wrote down “Tigerland” and when I sat down to record with Rob, I couldn’t figure out why I was supposed to mention a Joel Schumacher film about training camp during Vietnam.

    2. “Showgirls” is a great film!!! I saw the director at an introspection at Lincoln Center recently and they screened the film. So much of it was done for comedic effect.

      I hope “Showgirls” might be in an future episode of Film and Water.

      1. As anirregularly appearing guest, were I asked to cover this, I would insist on a gin per diem.

  5. Great episode guys! I saw this when it came out and I agree with Rob, there were scenes of the film that the audience was in shock. I remember the colors were really intense in the film and Burt Reynolds appearing was the second comeback of a famous actor who had a career that was waning (John Travolta ‘Pulp Fiction’ was first. When Burt appeared a lot of people had a new found admiration for him playing his own age, wig etc.

    That tracking shot where it went into the pool and out of the pool guess when that was invented? “Wings” 1927. (You might have talked about it in that episode) where the camera tracks through people https://youtu.be/d1H699088FI
    Another recent example which they copied “Boogie Night” was the swimming pool scene in “La La Land”.

  6. Nice to see one of my favorite movies discussed. There are so many character details to be seen on repeat viewings, like Rollergirl having scratched an “R” into her camera to make it a “Rolaroid,” or Little Bill getting a parking ticket when the characters are leaving the niteclub. Every actor in it seems perfect in their role. Joanna Gleason (and does it blow anyone else’s mind that she’s Monty Hall’s daughter?) was a force of nature. She deserved one of those Beatrice Straight-style “high screentime-to-impact ratio” Oscars. BTW, the John Doe that plays Amber Waves’ ex-husband isn’t a former adult film star, he’s a musician – one of the founding members of X (Los Angeles, Wild Gift)- and character actor. He can be seen in Road House, Wyatt Earp, Roswell, and a bunch more. And I think the way you figure out your “porn name” is your middle name + the name of the street you grew up on. Not that it works for everybody; “Jay Creekside” doesn’t sound very impressive.

  7. I enjoyed your discussion. I’ve seen the film, but I remember feeling quite dissatisfied with the ending. Nevertheless this was a fun listen! Except, that we never heard Ryan’s story of the first time he saw the film!

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