Boogie Nights: Paul Thomas Anderson’s excellent screenplay tells the story without pulling punches; it’s not supposed to be a gentle journey. However, the characters are treated with great tenderness, respect and humanity; it’s a flawed, but close-knit family that doesn’t feel any less real because of the lack of blood ties. The extensive, good-looking cast is a veritable who-is-who of great actors, and they are all equally great, even when playing bad acting; to mention one or two names would be a disservice to the notion of an ensemble, and to mention them all, a disservice to brevity. The film makes great use of music, both original and old classics, and it looks great. Robert Elswit’s camerawork is great (if, sometimes, almost showy); the opening shot of the film, to name the most impressive of them all, is a thing of beauty.