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10 lessons learned from “Boogie Nights”


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“Boogie Nights,” Paul Thomas Anderson’s devastating look at the porn industry at the end of the 1970s and into the 1980s, has earned an enduring place in the zeitgeist. Also, I just like using the word “zeitgeist.” The story of dim-witted Eddie Adams’ transformation into porn legend Dirk Diggler, thanks to the mightiness of his immense wiener (I also enjoy using the word “wiener”) fulfills his dreams of becoming a star, but like any story of success in the bright lights of California, the crash and burn is never that far off. Anderson’s film is funny in spots, twisted in others, and when it veers into the truly dark, those are the scenes that really stick with you. Well, those, and Heather Graham on roller skates casually flinging her clothes off. It’s certainly a cautionary tale as much as it is a retrospective drama, so here are ten lessons to be learned from “Boogie Nights.”

1. Porn stars tend to come from bad parents

Chris Rock once said a father’s job is to keep his son off the pipe and his daughter off the pole. In this case, Eddie’s mother is so verbally abusive and alcoholically crazy that she drives her son to make a living off of his pipe/pole. The stories of those in the sex industry with histories of virulent, unconscionable mistreatment from their parents are omnipresent, although a goodly number of them claim to simply be exhibitionists. The odds are good, however, that if this is your child’s chosen field – however noble a cause it might be to provide vicarious release to the anonymous lonely folk of the world – you may have messed up somewhere along the line.

2. Porn stars also tend to make bad parents

It seems that Amber Waves was born a few decades too early. In the early 1980s, being a porn star with a history of drug abuse and trouble with the law meant that you would be denied custody of and probably even visitation rights to your child, forcing you to cobble together what family you could amongst the people drifting in the same morass of emotional wreckage that you are. These days, it would probably land you, your child and your entire extended family a reality show on E! for fourteen seasons.

3. Do not repeatedly cheat on your significant other in public

Marital fidelity is a tricky thing to navigate in the porn industry, naturally, but it’s perhaps not a good idea to treat your partner’s concerns like this, as if they’re nothing more than the inconvenient distraction of a noisy yap-dog watching you have sex with other people as a form of public entertainment. Sooner or later, your henpecked Little Bill may deny you the chance to experience the 1980s, or anything else ever again.

4. There has to be a better way to come out than this

It’s certainly never easy to let other people know that you like them, and it’s much less so when you’re gay and you have no idea if they are. Although Scotty had plenty of filmed evidence to the contrary, he nonetheless bought a car because he thought Dirk would like it, all as an excuse to try to force a kiss onto him. If that’s the way you choose to come out of the closet, it will probably leave you believing that you’re a fucking idiot, too.

5. Crime doesn’t pay the people it’s supposed to

The allure of the gun-toting, fast-paced world of crime is that it seems like easy money, but you can never underestimate the chaos of gunplay. Buck Swope just went into Dunkin’ Donuts to get his pregnant lady some bearclaws, and thanks to an inconveniently-timed robber and an inconveniently-timed vigilante resulting in an all-too-convenient bloodbath, the only person that crime wound up paying was Buck, who happened to need some stereo equipment store capital.

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Final Countdown

The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at


Rev Up

Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.


Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.

Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…