Tag Archives: Mark Wahlberg

Boogie Nights (1997)

For my part, Paul Thomas Anderson is the most exciting director working today. I’ll even go so far as to say that he could end up one of the best directors of all time. Now you and I both know how absurd it is to make this claim about any director, and that it’s nothing more than an opinion. Still, it gives a pretty clear indication of my feelings on the man and his work. In fifteen years, P.T. has directed five features; one a solid genre flick which nobody has seen, another holds the clear frontrunner for Adam Sandler’s best performance of all time, and the other three are Oscar nominees, the last of which won two, despite losing Best Picture. It’s hard to appreciate this sort of success while still in the heart of a man’s career, but assuming the trajectory holds we’ll all surely be talking about it years from now. Anderson may fly a bit under the radar of the standard film goer; he doesn’t have the recognizable aesthetic of a Wes Anderson, or the Tarantino excess of personality. But there’s no denying that these are his contemporaries, and making a case for P.T. as the best of the bunch isn’t terribly difficult. That case would surely begin with an examination of Boogie Nights, Anderson’s dark and hilarious pornographic melodrama. In the shadow of his later, better films, Boogie Nights is only slightly less fantastic, less impressive, less finished. Nonetheless, it is an alarmingly great flick from a sophomore director, and properly kicks off the career of our generation’s Martin Scorcese.

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The Fighter (2010)

It seems that every year there’s a film like this.  A film that ends up feeling weighted more towards character portrayal than big picture.  A film with at least one performance almost guaranteed to bring home the Oscar.  Last year it was Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart. Before that Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight. Before that Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood.  The list goes on.  It’s not that David O. Russell‘s The Fighter is an incomplete film as much as it’s so entirely driven by its actors.  This based-on-a-true-story is clean and concise, and doesn’t require much sifting to get at a core comprised of an underdog vs. the world and the massive weight of his family.

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