Up until now I have enormously enjoyed Eddie Dean’s pieces on the fading redneck subculture of the Washington area, but I feel he was out of his depth with his article on Boogie Nights (“Boogie ‘Til You Puke,” 11/14). I felt he was grasping at straws with his assertion that the amateurish Of Flesh and Blood was the main influence on the cinematic treasure that is Boogie Nights. Two disparate people, Jeff Mentges and Paul Thomas Anderson, read a Rolling Stone article on John Holmes, and both decided to make two dissimilar filmsend of story.
I would have applauded if you went after Quentin Tarantino for plagiarizing Martin Scorsese’s American Boy. The adrenaline injection scene in Pulp Fiction came directly from an anecdote told by Steven Prince in American Boy.
I’m sorry that the director of Of Flesh and Blood is a bitter man nursing theories on why his film was not a success. It wasn’t because, as he claimed, he didn’t have a rich uncle. His film failed because it was horribly made. Jeff Mentges may not have a rich uncle, but he might have a patron in Ted Nugent: “DudeI mean, Mr. Nugent, I want to make an epic film on bow-hunting UPS delivery men of the Eastern Shore.”
Dean tries to back up Mentges’ claim that, “I’ll bet [Anderson] got some rich uncle in Hollywood that helped him out,” by noting that “Anderson’s father is a success in the industry.” That should be “was,” not “is.” Eddie Anderson, the father of Paul Thomas Anderson, passed away this February. Eddie Anderson, who was the voice of ABC promos, the former comedy partner of Tim Conway, and Cleveland film show host Ghoulardi, didn’t even finance his son’s first feature. The Sundance Institute helped raise the capital for Paul Thomas Anderson’s first feature, Hard Eight.