Can You Pass the "Boogie Nights" Quiz?


By: Ian Fortey

5 Min Quiz

Image: Lawrence Gordon Productions / Ghoulardi Film Company

About This Quiz

Paul Thomas Anderson released a movie no one was ready for in 1997, including the actors in it. "Boogie Nights" was a serious albeit quirky drama about life in the porn industry as the '70s rolled into the '80s. It became an instant cult classic and made a star out of Mark Wahlberg while resurrecting the career of Burt Reynolds. The mix of stellar performances with seedy subject matter makes it a standout film that refuses to follow any rules. 

By the time the movie is over, Anderson has thrown out the rulebook for narrative structure and dramatic plot development. His characters have no major arcs in the film; no one learns or grows as a person; they stagnate and return to what they know in a painful cycle of depressing acceptance. And yet, somehow, you really connect with the ragtag group of weirdos despite the fact they're all making porn in the '70s, doing drugs and generally not being the best people. You like them because the performances are so good. The writing is strong and raw, and just light enough to keep it from being depressing. Let's see how much you remember about this cult classic. Just keep scrolling!

What song does Alfred Molina sing when Mark Wahlberg's character comes to visit?

Alfred Molina's character actually sings along to both "Sister Christian" and "Jessie's Girl." Oddly enough, Molina had never heard either one of those songs before. The reason? Molina is British and neither of those songs made to the radio in Britain when he was younger.


Do you know which actor tried to distance themselves from the movie immediately after making it?

Burt Reynolds refused to campaign for an Oscar award and even fired his agent, feeling the movie had been a terrible mistake. Ironically, he went on to be nominated for numerous awards, proving his impressions of the film unpopular.


Heather Graham has a memorable role as Rollergirl. What's her character's real name?

Rollergirl is the stage name of Heather Graham's character, who is also known as Brandy. Heather Graham wasn't the first choice for the character and several other actors were considered including Gwyneth Paltrow.


Do you remember the name of the nightclub that Luis Guzman's character opens with his brothers by the end of the movie?

Luis Guzman plays the character T.T. Rodriguez, but he and his brothers open a place called "Rodriquz" in the movie. Why is it misspelled? The director made a typo in the script, and when they made the sign for the night club with the wrong spelling, he thought it was funny.


Dirk Diggler records a version of the song "The Touch." What '80s movie featured that song?

The Stan Bush song "The Touch" was originally recorded for "The Transformers: The Movie" in 1986. Not that "Boogie Nights" is 100% historically accurate, but it uses the song well before it was originally recorded, based on the timeline in the movie.


There was never a real Dirk Diggler but he's based loosely on a real adult film star. Who was it?

John Holmes' life had a lot in common with Dirk Diggler's, though "Boogie Nights" is by no means a biography. Holmes had been an extremely popular performer back in the day but is sadly best remembered for contracting AIDS as a result of his career.


What year is it at the beginning of the movie?

"Boogie Nights" starts in the year 1977 in Torrance, California. Mark Wahlberg's character, who's name is Eddie Adams before he changes it to Dirk Diggler, works at a nightclub in Reseda at first before his life takes off.


Robert Ridgely plays the Colonel in the movie. How was he involved with the characters?

Colonel James is a rather objectionable character in the movie who starts simply as the financier of Jack Horner's films, but who we come to learn later is a very despicable man who is sent to prison for his crimes.


Which unexpected character tries to kiss Dirk?

Scotty, played by Phillip Seymour Hoffman, is secretly enamored with Dirk in the movie. When he asks Dirk if he can kiss him, Dirk is not cool with it and runs off. Scotty has a bit of an emotional breakdown afterward in what is one of Hoffman's most memorable roles.


Why does Mark Wahlberg's character go to Alfred Molina's house?

Alfred Molina plays a drug dealer named Rahad Jackson. Dirk and a couple of friends are there to sell Molina some baking soda pretending it's cocaine.


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