Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Screenwriter: Paul Thomas Anderson

Boogie Nights chronicles the changing climate of the adult film industry in its Mecca, the San Fernando Valley. Despite the robust cast of fucked-up characters—a veteran adult actress in a custody battle (Julianne Moore), a perpetual play thing named Rollergirl (Heather Graham) who is so objectified that she doesn't even have a real name, a struggling porn king (Burt Reynolds) losing his grip on his empire—the pulse of the film is Mark Wahlberg's Dirk Diggler, a rookie whom we watch go from innocent newbie to coke-addicted lead actor to self-absorbed mega-star.

The film is ultimately about the staying power of Diggler's penis, so to speak. A mystery until the very end, the final moment shows Diggler, a new man despite the drug issues and prostitution we see him edure during the film, whip his dick out to reassure himself before his next sex scene. It's as massive and impressive as everyone had talked about. It's the beacon of hope for the porn industry. This is his Raging Bull moment. He's a boss. He's a bright shining star. —TA