See the article in its original context from October 8, 1997 Section Page Buy Reprints View on timesmachine TimesMachine is an exclusive benefit for home delivery and digital subscribers. Everything about ”Boogie Nights” is interestingly unexpected, even the few seconds of darkness before the film’s neon title blasts onto the screen. The director, Paul Thomas Anderson, whose display of talent is as big and exuberant as skywriting, seems to mean this as a way of telling viewers to brace themselves. Good advice. Some of the most distinctive American films of recent years — ”Pulp Fiction,” ”The People vs. Larry Flynt,” ”L.A. Confidential” and now this one — have invoked a sleaze-soaked Southern California as an evilly alluring nexus of decadence and pop culture. ”Boogie Nights” further ratchets up the raunchiness by taking porn movies and drug problems entirely for granted, and by fondly embracing a collection of characters who do the same. The film’s unofficial family group is immersed in exploitation movies, which becomes the same collective eccentricity that country music was for ”Nashville.” Mr. Anderson, who begins his film spectacularly with a version of the great Copacabana shot from ”Goodfellas,” has no qualms about borrowing from the best. As… Read full this story
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