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Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson

United States 1997 155 mins.

With a script first developed in his teens and a story previously filmed as a short, Anderson delivered this wake-up call to the American cinema, weaving a poignant, tragic-yet-ultimately hopeful tapestry of lives in the late-70s Southern California “adult film” industry. Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds), patriarch of a small studio in the San Fernando Valley, discovers Eddie Adams (Mark Wahlberg), an aimless young man, who—once Horner convinces Eddie of his potential—transforms overnight into porn juggernaut Dirk Diggler. The rotating cast of characters surrounding Jack and Dirk include matriarch Amber Waves (Julianne Moore) and budding star Rollergirl (Heather Graham), among others, who form a makeshift family, having been cast adrift from their own. “One of the most ambitious films to have come out of Hollywood in some time.”—Emanuel Levy, Variety.