Boogie Nights (1997)
From the showy but effective continuous shots, via the attention to details from the times in question, and to the sometimes (over)elaborate scenes of Tarantinoesque quality, what is beyond all doubt is Paul Thomas Anderson's remarkable ambition in bringing his story about the golden age of adult cinema and his very well-endowed John Holmes imitation to life. Anderson's large array of characters and subplots here require vision and a steady hand, and he demonstrates that he has just that in abundance. The director also does very well in balancing and getting top-notch performances from his highly talented acting ensemble consisting of everything from old semi-washed up stars to up-and-coming ex-juvenile delinquents. It's a diversified bunch, which actually is much of the appeal, along – of course – with the probing and always unprejudiced look at a business and a sub-culture that up until this had not been seriously portrayed in the movies. In Boogie Nights, Anderson was young, bold and not afraid to go up unexplored alleys, and the freshness and wittiness he did it with rubbed-off on his actors, who all seem to believe that they are in on something new and a little bit special. That even makes pissing off Burt Reynolds worthwhile. And wouldn't you believe he finally got his Academy Award nomination for his suffering.