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Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").



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   Boogie Nights
Saturday, August 15 1998
I

  lay in bed moaning from hangover yet again while Kim went off to deal with the fire aftermath at her mother's house. I was, again, the lucky one.

I couldn't accomplish much once I finally got out of bed.

When Kim came home in the evening, she brought lots of groceries. For dinner she fixed us up a shrimp pasta dish, which we had with Hickory Ridge Merlot (product of Yugoslavia; a 1.5 litre bottle was had at a surprisingly inexpensive $10). I feel a little guilty with Kim doing all the running around and me lying in bed suffering for my indiscretions.

"Have you seen that movie Star Wars?"
(from Boogie Nights)

Of course, now everyone has seen Star Wars, and it is such a part of our common culture that we refer to "Wookies," "Storm Troopers," "Death Star" and "Darth Vader" without ever mentioning the name of the movie. But in the late 70s, Star Wars was still forming its place in our culture and people had to be sure their movie references were well understood.

A

fter dinner we watched Boogie Nights on videotape. I'd read a bit about the revolutionary cultural significance of this movie in the Jon Katz column at HotWired and had wanted to see it. But it was much better than I expected. I have to admit that some of my appreciation was purely generational. The movie did an astoundingly good job of recreating the America of my youth, complete with the background pop radio music (now almost forgotten) that evokes nostalgia as powerful as any biologic drive.

Star rockets in flight, afternoon delight.
Ahhhhhhhh.....afternoon delight.

I've been hanging out with a much younger crowd for the past five years, and had grown used to my friends being unfamiliar with the pop music of my youth. Suddenly, though, I'm with a girl only two years younger than me. We know all the same nostalgia-inducing music and can sing them back and forth to each other for surprisingly delightful kitsch entertainment. In a way it's like I've finally found someone who is actually from my culture.

Another great thing about Boogie Nights was the way it poked fun at 80s pop music. Here was the big drug dealer calling everyone to a halt to listen to the now-cliché transition to heavy in "Sister Christian." And there's Dirk Diggler croaking ludicrous macho love-lyrics to dreadful over-the-top early-80s hair rock instrumentation, completely unaware of how foolish it looks from the film's late-90s perspective. Movies actually made in the late 80s had that same sort of music swelling deafeningly over the dialogue, and (for me) thinking about the comparative lack of perspective evident in those movies is a highly entertaining cognitive exercise.

one year ago

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