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  • Award Snub: The film went relatively unnoticed outside of commendations for Burt Reynolds (ironic, given how much Burt disliked working on the film), Julianne Moore, and the Screenplay. Many now cite Moore's loss for Best Supporting Actress as an unfortunate Academy decision. Perhaps even more mind-boggling is the film not getting nominations for Best Director or Cinematography, or a Best Picture slot.
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  • Awesome Music: Several, but Rahad Jackson getting high to "Sister Christian" and "Jesse's Girl" is by far the best.
  • Best Known for the Fanservice: Even amongst the copious nudity in the movie, Heather Graham's nude scene and Mark Wahlberg's fake wang stand out. Both induced a lot of sucking noises in theatres.
  • Ear Worm: "You Got the Touch". Unfortunately.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Reed Rothchild, who's basically Dr. Steve Brule if he worked in the porn industry.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: A deleted scene shows Becky dealing with an abusive husband who’s played by Michael Jace, who in real life ended up shooting his wife April in 2014.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Thomas Jane running around with a gun, blasting everything in sight. Sound familiar? And then getting blown away by Doc Ock.
    • The songnote  performed by Mark Wahlberg, now that he's the human lead in a Transformers film.
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    • Film critics Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel had differing opinions on this film when they reviewed it on their television show Siskel & Ebert. Ebert praised the film, naming it one of his favorite films of 1997. Siskel, while praising the film's excellence, was more critical, feeling that it lacked substance and failing to find anything meaningful behind the story. Flash forward fifteen years later. Ebert gave a review of Paul Thomas Anderson's film The Master that was, more or less, identical to the review that Siskel gave for Boogie Nights, praising the film's craftsmanship, but failing to find any larger meaning behind it.
  • Jerkass Woobie: All the main characters spend a little time being this, but Little Bill is probably the prime example. It helps that he's played by William H. Macy.
    • Eventually, Little Bill becomes Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds.
    • For that matter, the dude who got badly beaten up by Rollergirl. Would be an Asshole Victim had the beatdown not been so disproportionately brutal.
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  • One-Scene Wonder: Alfred Molina as Rahad Jackson, though Anderson said he intended for the part to be larger.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: We're supposed to side with Amber Waves (Maggie) when she does not get custody of her son, and the scene of her sobbing outside the courtroom is a tearjerker. But we know absolutely nothing about her ex-husband, who, for all we know, may be a wonderful father. And even though her career choice should not be a factor in judging her fitness for motherhood, she is a heavy drug user and lives in a house with a man who frequently throws drug fueled parties and has some other questionable ethics.
    • Alternatively, we are supposed to sympathise with her desire to be reunited with her son and recognise that she does, on some level, want to be a good mother, while simultaneously acknowledging that she nevertheless is should not have custody over a child.
  • Values Dissonance: This being the 1970s Los Angeles porn scene, attitudes towards sex and gender are in several ways quite different to the modern standard. On the other hand, the porn crew's lax attitude towards sexuality comes off as more relatable today than the more conservative standards of the time period.
  • The Woobie: Scotty J.

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