HOLLYWOOD, Calif.—It's likely that everyone who's anyone in the adult industry has seen Boogie Nights at least once in their lives. After all, besides Orgazmo, the Paul Thomas (dubbed "P.T." by Nina Hartley) Anderson-directed 1997 film tries harder than any mainstream film in memory to capture the adult industry as it was in 1977 Los Angeles, when one of the biggest stars out there was John C. "Johnny Wadd" Holmes, played in the film by Mark Wahlberg, the former frontman for the early '90s teeny bopper musical group Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch.
In Boogie Nights, Walhberg played strip club dishwasher Eddie Adams who's "discovered" by porn producer Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds) and his main squeeze Amber Waves (Julianne Moore).
"I got a feeling,'' Horner says, "that behind those jeans is something wonderful just waiting to get out"—and once the pair see Eddie's 13-inch (prosthetic) dick, they know they've got a winner on their hands. Horner renames his young star "Dirk Diggler," and Eddie goes on to star in a series of movies with Rollergirl (Heather Graham) and others until a life of drug use, drug deals and other criminal activities spell the character's end—not unlike his real-life counterpart.
Also in the film were several '90s adult actors and actresses, including Nina Hartley, who plays the wife of Horner's assistant director "Little Bill" (William H. Macy), as well as Veronica Hart as a judge, Skye Blue and Summer Cummings as "jacuzzi girls," Little Cinderella and Tony Tedeschi.
But that was 20 years ago, and much like the small coterie of adult performers who've gotten out of the business, regretted that occupation and joined various religious cults in an attempt to absolve themselves of their "sin," Wahlberg has recently been making the rounds of conservative Christian venues to apologize for having taken part in the movie.
For instance, late last month, Wahlberg attended a conference of Catholics at the UIC Pavillion in Chicago, where he was interviewed on stage by Cardinal Blase Cupich and said, "I just always hope that God is a movie fan and also forgiving, because I've made some poor choices in my past."
But when the Cardinal asked if he'd ever prayed for forgiveness for any movies in particular, Wahlberg answered, "Boogie Nights is up there at the top of the list."
That must be one hell of a list, since at age 13, Wahlberg was addicted to cocaine and several other drugs; was sued at age 15 from throwing rocks and shouting racial epithets at some African-American children; was arrested at age 16 for attacking a couple of old Vietnamese men, calling one a "Vietnam fucking shit" as he bashed him into unconsciousness, netting him 45 days in prison; and at 21, fractured the jaw of a neighbor in an unprovoked attack.
But as far as William H. Macy is concerned, it's all bullshit.
"That was a great movie," Macy told TMZ.com, whose reporter caught up to him as he was scurrying toward the baggage claim at an airport. "I rest my case. He doesn't need forgiveness for Boogie Nights. It's a great movie. It's a moral movie."
One hopes that Macy doesn't consider the part where his character shoots unfaithful wife Nina Hartley, then turns the gun on himself in a murder/suicide, to be one of those "moral" parts!