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Great Scenes – BOOGIE NIGHTS

In Paul Thomas Anderson‘s Boogie Nights (1997), actor Don Cheadle portrays porn star Buck Swope, who when he ain’t performing in adult cinema is selling stereos and stereo accessories to 70’s era audiophiles. We first meet Buck in mid-sale-pitch, with a customer (Michael Stein, the original Dirk Diggler) on the hook and ready to bite. But Buck tries too hard, pushing the TK421 (a sweet Star Wars reference) in a somewhat repulsive fashion that sums up his character’s earnestness. Easily one of the best all time on-screen fails, Cheadle’s performance is incredible – so damned determined to sell the product even as his naivete undermines his efforts: I mean, we in the audience know the fight is over before it begins – Swope’s the only one who doesn’t. So many little details crackle with inspiration: the slow push-in on the Boss as he watches a clueless Buck; Buck gyrating to his awful music while sipping coffee. I imagine PTA cackling away behind that camera, doing his best to get the scene. One of many films I wish I could watch again for the first time, Boogie Nights is packed with so many great moments it’s hard to single out one – but this is the one that speaks to me most, and best captures the sad, pathetic ambition of all the characters in the film.

[Rockie’s note: sorry in advance for making you hop on over to youtube, but it’s WORTH it.]

Buck Swope and The TK421

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November 21, 2011   No Comments

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