In the wake of DVD’s and special features came the loss of film commentaries from directors, actors and more, revealing crucial nuggets of information about a particular film or sometimes providing for unintentionally hilarious moments of spontaneous comedy. From This is Spinal Tap, which includes a commentary from the fictional band themselves, to Tropic Thunder that features Robert Downey Jr. in constant controversial character, such films have become cult favourites almost for their iconic commentary tracks alone.
Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights is both a film worthy of cinematic deconstruction and open to a comedic ribbing, with the film starring Mark Wahlberg, Julianne Moore, Burt Reynolds, John C. Reilly and Philip Seymour Hoffman, in a frenetic examination of the 1970s porn industry. Arguably Paul Thomas Anderson’s very best film, Boogie Nights is a powerful evaluation of the hedonistic excess of the ’70s, taking us to the trashy world of the emerging adult industry of Southern California.
A favourite film of iconic filmmaker Quentin Tarantino, Boogie Nights, is a staggering work of early brilliance. A passionate and painfully honest depiction of the American soul by a precocious filmmaker elicits something similar to a punk band’s first records — pure fiery brilliance. Echoing a snappy energy to the films of Quentin Tarantino, it’s no wonder that the filmmaker found so much joy in Anderson’s film.
There’s much to glean from Boogie Nights’ DVD commentary, too, revealing that Anderson initially wanted Leonardo DiCaprio for the lead role of Dirk Diggler after seeing him in The Basketball Diaries. DiCaprio would fatefully turn down the role for James Cameron’s Titanic, with Mark Wahlberg filling in instead, completing the ensemble cast that Anderson loved directing. Featuring a sincere and deeply passionate young filmmaker, Anderson’s love for the landscape of cinema, as well as for his own Boogie Nights is self-evident.
Discussing the film’s impressive cinematography, Anderson states, “This is a good story for a lot of show-off moments, and hopefully I took advantage of every single one of them,” before going on to comment on the film’s real-life inspirations. “Most of the people stay in the industry…erm, and I dunno,” he pauses before hastily revealing, “You know what, I gotta take a fucking piss so bad that I can’t even think”.
Labelled as ‘The Greatest Moment In The History of Director’s Commentaries’ in the title of the Youtube video, Paul Thomas Anderson’s immediate, brash announcement is certainly hilarious and ranks highly among our own list of favourites.