• ZoeZ

    A great write-up of a great movie, and I’m glad you pointed out how eloquent Moore’s facial expressions are here. Maggie radiates vulnerability, and some of the most quietly heartbreaking scenes of the film deal with her separation from her son, one way or another: not just the hearing but the sadness of her “adopting” Dirk even as their jobs continue to require them to have sex or the rare, sweet intersection of her need with Rollergirl’s.

    I like your point about how the rougher, more openly selfish culture of the eighties is already seeded in the film’s first party. The movie does a few revisited set-ups that I love, but my favorite might be Rollergirl’s. In the seventies, she has classmates who are happy to watch her porn but will then mock her for doing it; in the eighties, one of them reappears to be brought into the porn, but again more as consumer than participant, a guy being offered a free fuck and not taking much direction about it. There’s a skewed pathos in Jack repeatedly saying, “Show some respect, this is Rollergirl,” because for all the end was buried in the beginning, Jack still views Rollergirl as someone fundamentally deserving of respect–as a star who should be loved–whereas to the guy, her being Rollergirl just means she’s a commodity, means he doesn’t have to show respect.

    • Son of Griff

      The Nerds comments regarding of the characters’ inherent selfishness was a terrific observation here. There are a variety of contexts for this Amber’s not taking her son’s phone call, and transference of her maternal affections towards Eddy, lies with her addiction. The Colonel’s callousness towards his date who OD’s is a lot more cynical, tied to his viewing minors as sexual commodities. Jack’s looking the other way at his financier’s proclivities enhances his fantasies of becoming a porn autueur. Anderson has been acclaimed for the warmth that he has displayed for his characters, but there is a toughness, and a definite sense of a lack of resolution at the end, where paradise has become a form of purgatory.

      • ZoeZ

        There is a kind of dollhouse feeling to the end, for me, and I think you perfectly encapsulated that in your last line here. I’m moved by the familial warmth, but troubled by how there’s the sense that all of this will go on and on, as if even if the world ended, they would keep making these movies and clinging to what are, ultimately, not necessarily the most important relationships they have but the most important ones they had while they were at the height of their glory. And that’s most tragic with Amber, because it means she winds up settling for the substitutions. It’s part of PTA’s greatness that all of that comes through even as I’m touched by “God Only Knows” and the family barbecue vibe of the end. Empathy, but clearsighted empathy.

    • clytie

      I love it when actors act with their eyes and Moore nails in here.

  • Son of Griff

    BOOGIE NIGHTS has become one of my favorite films of the 90s, one that uses a tremendous amount of liberty with the facts surrounding the “Golden Age of Porn” in order to address larger issues related to family and the pursuit of happiness as the tide of the sexual revolution receded. Much of this movie deals with the commodification of liberation, and the mythologizing of how the libidinal energies of the id could reconstitute the family. This notion never really animated the actual industry, but plays into a broader theme relating how the counterculture became more acceptably middle class.

    Anderson treats this era’s reverence towards sex with a great deal of skepticism. In actuality, his films tend to view modern attempts to reconcile the ecstastic and spiritual comfort in a critical light. Paul Schrader called BOOGIE NIGHTS screenplay one of the best in modern times, and I wonder if he sees a fellow Calvinist at work.