Thursday Screener

Boogie Nights, Bullit and Amores Perros
Film+TV | 28 May 2020
This article is part of HERO Dailies – Essential culture, curated daily and also part of Thursday Screener

HERO DAILIES: Essential culture, curated daily
THURSDAY SCREENER: Three films that should be in your watchlist

Boogie Nights by Paul Thomas Anderson, 1997

Paul Thomas Anderson knows how to do sexy. He also knows how to nail a killer 70s vibe. Both of these attributes are ‘full-frontal’ in Boogie Nights, his stylish 1997 epic.

Boogie Nights tells this story through the life of Eddie Adams (Mark Wahlberg), a kid from the San Fernando Valley working as a dishwasher in a Hollywood nightclub when he’s discovered by Tiparillo-smoking porn director Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds). “I got a feeling,” Jack says, “that behind those jeans is something wonderful just waiting to get out.” His epiphany was correct, and within a few months Eddie has been renamed “Dirk Diggler” and is the hottest new name in porn.

Examining the business of ‘catering to lust’, Anderson gathers together all the key ingredients; fame, envy, greed, talent, sex, money. Not plainly a tale of sex and lust, the narrative also has a basis in family, Eddie’s own childhood was broken. He finds solace in his new porn family who take him under their wing and give him the support and confidence he ultimately craved.

And then there’s that final scene, the one Mark Wahlberg has to thank for years of female attention.

Boogie Nights is available to stream on BFI Player.

Boogie Nights by Paul Thomas Anderson, 1997

Bullitt by Peter Yates, 1968

What does it take to separate a masterpiece from a B-movie? Is an actor enough to carry the weight of a film on his shoulders, or is it just a car? It’s all and none of this when it comes to Bullitt. Although ticking all the boxes of 60s/70s cop movies, Bullitt is a ride that shifts gears in the blink of an eye – from smooth rides to breath-taking peaks.

San Francisco detective Frank Bullitt (Steve McQueen) and his team are appointed by Senator Walter Chalmers (Robert Vaughan) to surveil Johnny Ross (Felice Orlandi) a Chicago Outfit mobster due to appear in front of a Senate subcommittee hearing on organised crime.

The night before the trial, though, two hitmen attempt to take the life of Ross, suspected of fleeing the Outfit with a conspicuous sum of money. Ross dies in hospital, but Bullit senses deeper motives and, despite Chalmers’ adversity, leads his own investigation that will eventually guide him to a corrupt senator and misleading doppelganger.

However there’s one scene that underlines Bullitt‘s cult status: a ten-minute car chase through the hills of San Francisco between Bullitt’s green Ford Mustang GT and the hitmen’s Dodge Charger. The chase, entirely performed by the petrolhead McQueen with no use of stuntmen, marked a revolutionary approach to film-making and is possibly the greatest car chase on film. Set to Lalo Schifrin’s Latin jazz soundtrack, you can’t beat it.

Bullitt is available to stream on Amazon Prime.

Bullitt by Peter Yates, 1968

Amores Perros by Alejandro González Iñárritu, 2000

Dogs have always been man’s best friend but for Iñárritu they are something more than just loyal companions. In the story’s triptych of narratives, each interlinked by the same fateful car crash, dogs come to embody the worst and best of humanity, the physical projections of our fears and dreams.

Flitting between story arcs and multiple narratives, this Oscar-nominated film pulls back the curtain on Mexico City’s criminal underworld and the grim spectacle of dog-fighting. The first of our three protagonists (Gael Garcia Bernal) finds himself sucked in, hoping for the payday that will buy him and his loyal hound a permanent escape.

On the other side of town, a supermodel (Goya Toledo) is recovering from the crash that has left her with a broken leg. Cooped up in an apartment with only her dog for company, she dreams of resuming her glamorous life, yet the more she dreams the more it slips through her fingers. Somewhere between these two stories is that of a mysterious hitman (Emilio Echevarria), a former revolutionary turned vagrant who wanders the streets looking for scraps to feed his pack of stray dogs. With quick cuts and an excellent soundtrack, Iñárritu shows them as belonging to the same world, connected by coincidence and fate.

Amores perros is available to stream on Amazon.

Amores Perros by Alejandro González Iñárritu 2000

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