When Boogie Nights was released in 1997, Mark Wahlberg was still known to most audiences as rapper and underwear model Marky Mark. This is the movie that started his career and led to brilliant performances in movies such as The Happening and Max Payne. I’m only kidding, but Wahlberg has given some great performances in his career. For every The Happening and Max Payne he stars in, we also get The Departed and I Heart Huckabees. You could say Wahlberg is very hit and miss when it comes to choosing films.
Boogie Nights was directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, and for me personally, this film along with There Will be Blood are his finest efforts to date. Boogie Nights is the story of young Eddie Adams (Wahlberg), a high school dropout with a very big “hidden” talent. This so called “talent”of his leads him to film producer Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds) and the adult entertainment business. After Eddie becomes a big star under the name Dirk Diggler, he falls into the star cliché of sex (obviously), drugs, and rock ‘n roll. With all these factors in the mix, Dirk falls into the next logical step: rock bottom.
In the scene below, Dirk and a couple of friends (including Thomas Jane and John C. Reilly) who are desperate for money, try to sell some baking soda disguised as cocaine to Rahad Jackson (Alfred Molina), the one guy they probably shouldn’t try to screw over, as he has a tendency to play Russian roulette and shoot firecrackers off in his own home. This is a superbly acted scene by everyone, especially Molina, who is truly unpredictably terrifying here. Paul Thomas Anderson has crafted a memorable scene through the use of music on the stereo and the sound of fire crackers in the background, which are very effective at racheting up the tension felt by Dirk and his cohorts. Behold this scene that is well worth its running time. (Note: the audio on this isn’t the best, and trust me, we have poured over several videos trying to find one as good as this has.)