There’s a brilliant and crucial, nearly 6-minute scene from “Boogie Nights” that was deleted before its theatrical release set to Fleetwood Mac’s “Tusk” that should be seen by any fan of the film. In it, Becky Barnett (played by Nicole Ari Parker), the porn actress that got married to a Pep Boys manager, finds her new life outside the industry to be a nightmare of domestic violence, a scene all-too-common when a porn star marries a “civilian.” The civilian, in question, is turned on by the notion of being with a porn star, but paradoxically, can’t handle that person’s past. It’s the Madonna-whore complex at its ugliest. Becky calls on Dirk Diggler (played by Mark Wahlberg) to rescue her, but he’s so far gone on cocaine to be an effective savior for Becky, wrecking his car on the way to saving her.
It’s likely Anderson deleted the scene from the final film because of the film’s overall length (already at over 2.5 hours), but he also mentioned (in the DVD commentary) he thought this was too depressing a scene for a film that has enough dark moments in its last third and that by deleting it, he wanted to give at least one of his characters a happy ending (Becky’s wedding earlier in the film). While I don’t think the scene’s deletion detracts from the film, its inclusion would have made the final third more powerful, albeit more depressing. Still, at the end of the scene, there’s no clue what happens to Becky after she confronts her husband. So … as much as I admire this scene … Anderson probably made the best choice in deleting it. Given that, it’s still worth seeing. Please note that this is a very unpleasant scene to watch and is not safe for work or delicate sensibilities.