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Laramie Movie Scope: 54

Boogie Nights east

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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August 29, 1998 -- "54" reminded me a lot of the movie "Boogie Nights," it was about the same period of time, the late 1970s and early 1980s, disco music was prominent and the theme was similar, that is, young man rises to the top and is corrupted by power, sex and drugs. It is also a good movie.

The story revolves around a handsome young man, Shane O'Shea (Ryan Phillippe), who finds a way out of New Jersey by getting a job at the legendary night club Studio 54 in Manhattan. He gains favor with the club's wild owner Steve Rubell (Mike Myers of "Wayne's World").

The naive O'Shea is immediately caught up in games of power, sex, money and drugs. He spins out of control, along with his young friends, Anita (Salma Hayek) and Greg (Breckin Meyer). All are brought down when Rubell himself is cornered by the IRS.

Myers gives a standout performance as the drugged out Rubell, a guy who wants to be loved by everybody. He's at once a savvy businessman and a dreamer who creates a magical place where the common folk can mingle with the rich and famous, as long as the poor folk look good, of course.

As in "Boogie Nights" the story is about the seamy side of the 1970's and 80's, about how power and drugs corrupt everyone they touch and how fast people can fold when money is the only thing they value. There's a nice love story between O'Shea and soap opera star Julie Black (Neve Campbell of the "Scream" movies) who is also a refugee from Jersey

Although the movie doesn't have the hard edge of "Boogie Nights," there is a certain amount of gritty realism in it. To me, the story was also more compelling and I liked the fact there wasn't any gratuitous violence as in "Boogie Nights," just sex. It rates an A.

Click here for links to places to buy this movie in video and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 1998 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)