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Movies of 1997 Bracket Game Final!: Austin Powers vs Boogie Nights

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Yep. Here we are in the championship round of our 1997 movie bracket, and obviously we all knew that this matchup was coming from the start…right?

Certainly nobody here was foolhardy enough to think there was any chance we’d see something like Titanic against Men In Black in the final. What kind of numb nut would have entered this exercise with that sort of expectation? Such a person would surely have been underestimating our fine readers at LeBlog.

>Ahem<

So how did we get here? What sequence of events has led us into this state of affairs? I’m glad you asked! If you’ve been reading along for the past two weeks, you’ll probably recognize the bracket we’ve been working on this whole time. As it turns out, in our most recent contest Mike Myers’ Austin Powers beat out Luc Besson’s eccentric sic-fi confection The Fifth Element, putting his spoof of James Bond spoofs (that’s what Myers calls his trilogy of movies) against Paul Thomas Anderson’s investigation of the pornography business of the late 70s and early 80s, Boogie Nights.

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The relatively low percentage chance of these two movies facing off against one another perhaps resulted in me wondering what they could possibly have in common all the way up until the moment when I saw their posters next to one another. On some level, they both inspect the results of the sexual revolution. While Boogie Nights can be argued to be positing that participation in the production of pornography leads to tragedy or impotence unless you can find a way out of the life, while Austin Powers simply holds up the swingers of the sexual revolution of the 1960s to ridicule as foolish products of the Cold War that dominated world politics after the Second World War.

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It could be argued that our task here is to decide which of these artistic reactions to the cultural environment of the post-war world is most valid. It could be argued, but as the person running this bracket game I’m saying outright that we are definitely not doing that. At least not as a unified group. What we’re doing is using this one-and-done competition form as a strategy for selecting an agreed-upon favorite movie for the year 1997…among just the people who stumble across our game…and decide to vote. It’s fun, right?

Go ahead and have some more fun. Vote between these two movies here and then tell us how you interpret their themes or what it is that makes you giggle about them in the comments section.

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Posted on February 1, 2017, in bracket game, Movies, poll and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 21 Comments.

  1. Ha, I guess both of these films have a sexual theme to them: one light, one heavy. I’ve been boogying with “Boogie Nights” so far, so I’ll stick with the serious theme. I really like this final here overall.

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  2. Went with Boogie Nights. It’s always been my pick for best film of 1997 so it was easy. Austin Powers in some ways may have been the most purely fun.

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  3. Austin and it’s not even close.
    Women want him, men want to BE him…. it’s about quotable lines, recycled GIFs and an enduring place in pop culture.
    The killer soundtrack didn’t hurt either.
    Do I make you randy?

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  4. But Vanessa…
    It’s all right, Austin. I believe you.

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    • One thing I don’t think the first movie gets enough credit for is that it is sweet. The movie itself is a loving send-up of 60’s spy movies. Myers’ affection for the genre is obvious (the fact that the movie was an ode to his father is probably a factor). And of course the love story at the center is also surprisingly sincere for such a silly movie. Time and sequels have tarnished Austin’s legacy a bit. But the original movie taken on its own merits is pretty wonderful.

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      • It’s easy to overlook the sweet romance, but it’s definitely there. Like the rest of the film, it’s nice, and that’s a good thing, because it showed that a film could be funny without hurting anybody’s feelings.
        With this franchise, I like that first two films, but I’n pretty indifferent to the Goldmember one.

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        • Yeah, I had fun watching Goldmemeber in the theater. I especially liked the star-studded opening credits. But there wasn’t a lot of gas left in the tank by #3. It’s not a crime against the franchise or anything, but there are definitely diminishing returns.

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  5. Go BOOGIE NIGHTS! It’s my second favorite movie of 1997 anyway. My favorite lost to JACKIE BROWN in round 2.

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  6. Your write-up cracked me up several times. I expected to see Boogie Nights here, but not Austin Powers. A Boogie Nights/Men in Black finale seemed likely to me. I figured Titanic would struggle against about half of the movies in the game. What I did not see coming was the strong support for the Fifth Element. I’m still surprised by that.

    I like both of these movies a lot. It’s hard to compare because they scratch different itches. If I am looking for a light-hearted laugh, Boogie Nights isn’t going to do that for me. But Austin Powers is purely empty calories. It’s not going to do the trick if I’m looking for a movie that eats like a meal.

    I think Boogie Nights is inarguably the better movie in the sense that it has higher ambitions than sight gags and catch-phrases. On that basis, I’m giving it my vote. It’s a pretty easy decision. But hats off to the first Austin Powers for all the laughs it provided over many, many viewings. Probably too many.

    Sidenote: This was the original Austin Powers poster. Pretty sure I still have it.

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    • Glad you enjoyed it! As you know, once you get to the final matchup you’ve often used up most of the best material about a movie that can be extended into a full length article and your lead time in writing the thing basically goes down to nothing. As one run-on sentence may attest I pretty much was just winging it at this point.

      I sure wish that poster had come up when I Googled for an alternate Austin Powers poster. I definitely would have used it.

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  7. Definitely Austin Powers for me. One of my good friends and I used to watch the first two films endlessly, learning just about every line in the movie. We had a great time.

    Mike Meyers is one of my favorite comedians of all time. Possibly my favorite person to come out of SNL aside from maybe Bill Murray. Its too bad that he’s apparently difficult to work with to the point where one bomb pretty much killed his career. If someone like Mel Gibson has been allowed back in from the woods, certainly Meyers should get a chance too.

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    • Myers has been talking about Wayne’s World 3 and Austin Powers 4. It’s possible. Part of his exile is self-imposed. Even when his career was in its prime, he tended to retreat after rejection.

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      • There was a time where I was completely open to another Austin Powers movie. But as time goes on, you realize more and more what a lousy idea that actually is. I absolutely love the first movie, but it really was an example of diminishing returns with those sequels.

        Also, I’ve been around the block enough times to finally realize that when it comes to long-delayed sequels, it’s almost always a disappointment. Look at Dumb and Dumber 2, or Anchorman 2, or Mummy 3, or Indiana Jones 4, and the list goes on. Nostalgia may offer a couple easy chuckles with a few familiar catch-phrases and jokes, but if you’re not offering anything new then you get an instant flash-in-the-pan moment like Dumb and Dumber 2.

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        • Agreed. If I want to revisit Austin Powers, I’ll put the first movie on. Maybe the sequel. I like Mini-Me, Fat Bastard and Heather Graham. But that’s where it should have ended. There’s no reason to go back to that well.

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      • I always believed Myers’ backing away from the public eye was his choice. I guess he’s in a film titled “Terminal” that’s supposed to be released this year.

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        • Yep. A thriller starring Margot Robbie. Looks pretty indie.

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        • Yeah it does, and there isn’t a ton of info about it either. Nevertheless, it may still be a better idea than a 4th Austin Powers or a third “Wayne’s World” (now, the sequel there didn’t really wow me either, but then again I didn’t think that whole concept could stretched as far as the Austin Powers stuff, or was never nearly as funny to begin with).

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      • Mike Myers was/is apparently, a huge perfectionist with a otherwise fragile ego, who likes to only do projects in which he has a significant amount of control (instead of simply being an actor for hire). In a sense, he could be regarded as the Warren Beatty of comedy.

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      • I remember reading an interview with Daniel Craig where he said that one reason why the Bond movies post-Pierce Brosnan became so “realistic” and grounded was because Austin Powers made all of the classic tropes of the Bond franchise hard to take seriously anymore.

        The Austin Powers franchise was rooted or got most of its inspiration from Sean Connery and Roger Moore’s decidedly campy or more comic book Bond films of the ’60s and ’70s. But w/ grittier, darker spy franchises like the Jason Bourne series and Daniel Craig’s version of Bond, that sort of tongue-in-cheek approach that Austin Powers took simply isn’t relevant or potent anymore.

        What probably didn’t help was that Mike Myers by the third movie was more than likely, really running out of ideas/ways to keep things fresh.

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        • I never looked at it that way, as the Austin Powers films having an accidental effect on future Bond films, but now that the theory has been presented, I can buy it.

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  8. I hate to brag, but I did predict this very outcome of Boogie Nights vs. Austin Powers early in the bracket game. If there had been some way to place a monetary bet on this in the early stages, I would be a modestly wealthy man right now…..

    Liked by 1 person

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