1. ego trip Movie Night Double Feature: The Dirk Diggler Story (1988) / Cigarettes & Coffee (1992).

    Long before Boogie Nights there was The Dirk Diggler Story , celebrated filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson ‘s shot-on-video, edited-on-VHS (that’s some real hip-hop shit, yo) faux documentary about a fictional porn star with problems. Made while he was still a teenager, it was a raw-dog, no-budget effort with plenty of things still going for it, namely, a humorous script, the top-notch narration by his father Ernie Anderson , as well as the seeds for several elements that eventually made it into the brilliant Boogie Nights , like when Dirk hits the studio to record the ’80s Transformers movie smash hit, “The Touch.” It’s also dope seeing the late Robert Ridgely here lending his talents, only this time he’s in the role of porn auteur Jack Horner (who was played by Burt Reynolds) instead of the creepy-ass The Colonel. ( Michael Stein , who stars as Dirk, also appeared in Boogie Nights as Buck’s reluctant stereo shop customer who is not sure he needs all that bass). It’s interesting to note the heavy gay theme in this early version, as Diggler is portrayed as a bisexual performer who has an on-and-off-camera relationship with co-star Reed Rothchild. (For the less adventurous, be warned: Speedos and oiled chests await.) Again, this is a rugged affair, made by a teen PTA just starting out, so don’t expect mainstream Hollywood budget quality. But we bet enough cinema lovers will want to satiate their curiosity with this one.

    Cigarettes & Coffee , by comparison, is a far more polished effort, made with the money an older Anderson would have used to pay for film school. It’s a test run, if you will, of his first feature, Hard Eight . It stars the reliable Philip Baker Hall and Kirk Baltz (the tortured ear victim in Reservoir Dogs ) and takes place in a diner with bad luck and a $20 bill connecting all the characters. The acting, dialog, and camera movement come together quite nicely. (Shout out to the underrated Miguel Ferrer , who has always had the knack for playing grouchy motherfuckers.) With Cigarettes & Coffee , it ain’t hard to tell that PT Anderson was on his way to bigger things.


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    The Dirk Diggler Story (1988).

    Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson.


    (Props to DonRMB for the upload)

    Cigarettes & Coffee (1992).

    Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson.


    (Props to Thom Yorke for the upload. No, not that Thom Yorke)

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