Tuesday, May 7, 2013


"The Big Top" by Michael Peen & Patrick Warren
"Best of My Love" by The Emotions
as seen and heard in
Boogie Nights (1997)

Paul Thomas Anderson's first epic begins with a considerable amount of blackness before the movie kicks off. To lull us into the melancholy of this decade-spanning tale a sad and broken circus tune - "The Big Top"- fills the air. We only hear the beginning of that lengthy track as it is soon interjected with the good time bursts of The Emotions' "Best of My Love" and the film's opening scene. The song's first stings correspond with a fanciful crane shot on a movie theater marquee: "Boogie Nights" in an electric pink. The song continues playing as the camera lands on the street surface and enters into the Hot Traxx dance club, introducing us to the film's ensemble cast in the process. 

While the song can be heard the entire time it becomes a background/atmosphere piece overshadowed by all the sights and sounds, not least of which is Anderson's dialogue. The song grows to full effect once more as the camera settles (ending a most robust long take) on young Eddie Adams (a young Mark Whalberg), a busboy at Hot Traxx, who meets eyes with VIP patron and pornographer Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds). It's an initial interaction that will define the rest of the film and the start of the film that put P.T. Anderson on the map forever more. I consider this one of the best film openings in my lifetime and the music is so much to thank for it.

What do you think of this, or any other Movie Music Moment, from "Boogie Nights"? Share your thoughts below or a Movie Music Moment all of your own. Until next time, keep watching but stay listening.

No comments: