It’s hard to believe, for us olds anyway, that it’s been 15 whole years since we were first introduced to Mark Wahlberg’s (disappointingly prosthetic) Dirk Diggler in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights. Although, when you think about Wahlberg producing Oscar-nominated movies like The Fighter and Anderson directing serious fare like The Master, it does seem a long time ago that they were making this darkly comic look at the ’70s porn industry. If only Roller Girl Heather Graham had learned how to evolve her career in the same way.
As started to look back at the 1997 flick this week, we realized it’s part of a continued Hollywood tradition of taking advantage of the public’s lust for X-rated stories … that they can pretend to be watching for more, intellectual reasons. From movies about strippers — Flashdance, Striptease, Showgirls, Magic Mike — to “behind-the-porn” flicks like Boogie Nights, Inside Deep Throat and the upcoming biopic Lovelace, these flicks give their sexxxy subjects sad back stories, economic hardships and unfulfilled dreams. And doesn’t that make you feel better about going to the theater to watch really, really attractive people get naked?
By the way, people, there actually is nothing wrong with watching real porn and/or live exotic dancing, as long as you’re of age. Just so you know.
[Photos: New Line Cinema, Millenium Films, Columbia Pictures, 20th Century Fox]