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Philip Seymour Hoffman was a bravura actor who made his pain a timeless expression of us all

I’ll never forget the moment I first sat up and took notice of Philip Seymour Hoffman — the moment that I knew I loved him as an actor and knew, as well, that he was a different kind of great actor from anyone I’d ever seen. It was the moment in Boogie Nights (1997) when Hoffman’s Scotty J., the boom-mike operator who has spent most of the film hanging around the sidelines of the porn set, a sweetly insecure dude in long red hair, his gut poking out of his ’70s tank tops, confesses to Dirk Diggler that he’s got a crush on him. This comes as news to Dirk — and news to the audience as well, since we didn’t know that Scotty was gay, because it’s clearly something that he was hiding from the world. Drunk, and a little less shy because of it, Scotty shows Dirk his new sports car, which he thinks will impress him (it doesn’t), and he then tries to lay a smooch on him, which Dirk, in this paleo-days-of-gay-liberation era, thinks is beyond weird. But that’s the rejection that Scotty’s been living in terror of, and now that it’s happened, he breaks down. READ FULL STORY

'Boogie Nights' live read: Taylor Lautner, Don Johnson, and cast giggle through the racy script

“This is a very profane screenplay,” Jason Reitman warned the audience at LACMA before staging his latest Live Read, a recitation of the Paul Thomas Anderson masterpiece Boogie Nights. “It’s one thing to see it. It’s another thing to hear it. If you’re young or religious, you probably should leave now.”

The laughs in the audience suggested everyone knew what they were in for and cheered uproariously as Reitman introduced his cast, which included Taylor Lauter as Dirk Diggler, Don Johnson as Jack Horner, Judy Greer as Amber Waves, Mae Whitman as Rollergirl, Nick Kroll as Reed, Jim Rash as Buck, Nat Faxon as Scotty J., and Kevin Pollack as The Colonel.

Boogie Nights is of course about porn, the transition from film to video and the perhaps forgotten art of the well-crafted pornographic movie, a young lost soul looking for a mother figure, and Dirk Diggler’s penis. His very, very large penis. At one point Reitman even said “d-ck” instead of “Dirk” while reading the stage directions. As everyone laughed, Reitman jumped in to explain: “It actually says that.”

If you’re squeamish about penis references you probably shouldn’t continue reading. Or see Boogie Nights. But, you’d be missing out.


Why I fell out of love with the films of Paul Thomas Anderson

\If I were to compile a list of my ten favorite movie experiences in the time I’ve been at EW, for number one — just edging out the night I spent drinking into the wee hours with Russell Crowe — I’d probably have to choose the first time I saw Boogie Nights at the 1997 Toronto Film Festival. It was a little like the first time I saw Pulp FictionBoogie Nights had that kind of virtuoso rock & roll Gen-X Scorsese dazzle, and it gave you that kind of brain-spinning cinematic high. Its writer-director, Paul Thomas Anderson, had taken on the most daringly degraded subject matter imaginable (he made a movie about beautiful dumb clucks who “acted” in porn films and thought that they were real stars), and out of that audacity he spun a story that was dark, exhilarating, moving, scary, and true. READ FULL STORY

'About Cherry': Roller Girl Heather Graham calls all the porn shots -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO (NSFW)

Ever wonder what Boogie Nights’ original porn queen Roller Girl would be like behind the camera, calling the shots instead of following them (naked)?

Check out this exclusive video clip, below, of one such scene that’s definitely NOT SAFE FOR WORK from Heather Graham’s upcoming IFC movie about the San Francisco porn industry, About Cherry. Graham plays a performer turned adult film director, coaxing Ashley Hinshaw as 18-year-old blonde pixie porn newbie Angelina. Angelina’s porn vid name is, aptly, Cherry.

Normally sex kittenish Graham looks downright unpornographic in the scene, wearing a simple striped tank top and standing next to a video camera as she purrs directions to Hinshaw’s Cherry, who squirms in pigtails and a cheerleader jacket, seated on a teacher’s desk.

“Hi cutie? You stopping by on you way home from school? You can stay with us until your parents come pick you up. Is this your first time shooting for Bod?” asks Graham.

“Yeah,” churps Hinshaw.

“You’re so sweet. Such a sweet innocent little girl,” coos Graham as if she’s about to eat a canary.

What comes next involves legs being spread and references, ahem, to cherries – and not the farmer’s market kind.

The film, also starring James Franco as a lawyer who introduces “Cherry” to the industry, is available now on SundanceNOW, iTunes, Amazon Streaming, PS3, XBOX, Google PLAY and YouTube, and opens in theaters on Sept. 21.

Read more:
‘About Cherry’ trailer: James Franco romances a very young porn star
Stars who played strippers

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