Author Topic: Character Motivations in "Boogie Nights"  (Read 321 times)

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wilberfan

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Character Motivations in "Boogie Nights"
« on: June 24, 2018, 07:08:40 PM »
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[As always, if this should be in an existing thread, please move accordingly.]

Something I've been trying to make sense of (or have been overthinking) for quite awhile now:

Why does Eddie Adams ride the bus for 2.5 hours (each way) to work at Hot Traxx?

Jack Horner specifically asks him that ("Couldn't you get a job like this in Torrance?") but Eddie's only response is "I don't want to."   

Eddie clearly wants to actually become the star that he keeps telling himself that he is.  But does he specifically want to work in porn?

He doesn't recognize Jack--but he admits he does know who Jack is after Jack introduces himself.  But Eddie doesn't seem very ambitious:  He declines to join Jack for a drink while he's working (that could just be a fine work ethic), but then he declines (initially) to join Jack and Amber and Rollergirl after the club has closed for the evening.  When The Colonel tells Eddie, "Jack tells me you have a great big cock.", Eddie shyly replies, "I guess so...".   The kid doesn't seem to be trying very hard, nor does he seem to be very excited about being "on the inside".  Granted, Eddie's not that bright, but if he's working in the Valley in hopes of being discovered by a porn director, once he knows he's met the Jack Horner, why isn't he more excited? 

If Eddie knew who Jack was, wouldn't you expect he'd be familiar with some of Jack's films?  (Although, at only 17 years old, technically too young to legally be admitted to any of the adult theaters in his area.)  If Eddie was familiar with Jack's films, why doesn't he recognize any of Jack's stable of actors that are at the house that first day Eddie shows up?  Reed, Buck, Jessie...Amber, for Christ's sake, are all there...

So, why does Eddie want to work in Reseda?  If it's not to be discovered and specifically become a porn star, then what?   Just to be discovered by...whom- or whatever? 
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Drenk

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Re: Character Motivations in "Boogie Nights"
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2018, 07:41:11 PM »
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Maybe because he's showing his dick for money and wants to be as far away from "home" as possible to do. He might feel a little bit shameful. Showing his dick doesn't mean that he wants to be a pornstar—he just needs the money. Once again: to get away, maybe.

And then he's being talked into becoming something, that something being a porn star. He takes the opportunity. He would have taken anything.
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swopula

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Re: Character Motivations in "Boogie Nights"
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2018, 07:04:52 PM »
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This has always seemed rather unambiguous to me: his home life is extremely toxic and he's doing everything he can to spend every waking moment away from this mother. I don't know that he got the job at Hot Traxx in Reseda because he thought he could make in-roads, as much as it was probably the last place on earth his mom would ever poke her head in.

wilberfan

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Re: Character Motivations in "Boogie Nights"
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2018, 07:16:09 PM »
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This has always seemed rather unambiguous to me: his home life is extremely toxic and he's doing everything he can to spend every waking moment away from this mother. I don't know that he got the job at Hot Traxx in Reseda because he thought he could make in-roads, as much as it was probably the last place on earth his mom would ever poke her head in.


I'm becoming persuaded to that line of thinking.  I watched the sequence again today, and I think what's thrown me off all this time was the serious eye contact that Eddie is throwing Jack.  For some reason I read that as Eddie recognizing him and giving him a signal to meet in the kitchen so Eddie could try and make some inroads.   But now I think it's probably just Eddie sensing Jack's eyes on him and thinking he can work his side hustle again that night.  Of course, this is the first time we're meeting these characters.  We're not really sure what either of them are up to.
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Fuzzy Dunlop

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Re: Character Motivations in "Boogie Nights"
« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2018, 07:48:05 PM »
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He's young and not terribly bright so it's hard for me to imagine him having anything like a plan, but I think Eddie wants to be as close to the bright lights of Hollywood as he can get. While I'm sure they had discos in Torrance, as Jack mentions, no one from showbiz would be caught dead there. The Valley and the porn industry booming there at the time was a lot more glamorous than anything going on in his neighborhood, maybe not as A-level as actual Hollywood, but certainly a step up for him.

Its possible he tried to get jobs in the more legit clubs but was turned away from being underage and unskilled, and Maurice was the only one who was unjudgmental and unscrupulous enough to hire him.

I'm also not sure if its entirely accurate to say that he didn't want to be in porn. At that time, porn was being shown in theaters and people would go there on dates, it was close to being mainstream, so being a porn star maybe just seemed like a legit avenue for him along with making it as a movie star/rock star whatever. He seems to know that his one special thing is actually his cock and that's his ticket out of Torrance, so he leans into it.

His shyness at the beginning is, to me, a sign of his youth and uncertainty, and makes him more likeable because he's sweet and dumb and doesn't really have ulterior motives. He knows he's got something special but has no idea whether he can hang with the pros. He may also be guarding himself a bit around Jack, I'm sure its not the first time an older man has tried to invite him into his car or whatever, and he's not sure what he's actually comfortable doing just yet. More than anything, it gives him somewhere to go in the movie, it makes his journey to full-on egomaniacal coke monster that much more interesting.

 

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