The Last Days of Disco
History is made at night.
The Last Days of Disco loosely depicts the "last days" at a disco palace, where drugs, sex and weirdness ran rampant. The story centers around a group of friends who frequent the disco and each other. All the characters are searching for something to make their lives more fulfilling. Some are searching for everlasting love and some are just wanting something different.
After finally getting around to seeing Damsels in Distress last week, I figured I'd give "The Last Days of Disco" another watch. To be honest, I was expecting to like it less than I did at first blush, but I found that the past fourteen years have been kinder to it than I expected. Or rather, aging fourteen years has allowed me to respect the film in an entirely different way.
When I first saw it years ago, I remember being strangely envious of the characters. I mean, I thought that disco was a joke and that they were all praying to a false idol in that regard. But, well, when you're a shy high school kid in Jerkwater, Louisiana,…
One of my favorite movies of all time -- every single time I watch it, which is often, I love it more. I first saw it when it was in the theaters. My brother and I bought a weeklong pass to a Warner Brothers festival - in between seeing Casablanca, JFK, Blade Runner, Errol Flynn's Robin Hood, The Maltese Falcon, and other films that week, we also theater-hopped into LDOD when the WB wasn't playing something we loved -- 4 times, it turned out. So, some rambling thoughts. . .
First, we should probably get the negative out of the way. The film's biggest criticisms are two:
1. Nothing happens -- absolutely true. In terms of plot, there's just not…
I like this movie, but it had a few serious flaws. First off is that a large portion of this film is set in disco clubs in New York. That isn’t a problem in its self, but this is the most sterilized disco that I can imagine. Think about if Woodstock was viewed as a wine tasting, instead of a grungy, muddy, festival of hippies and burnouts. I know that Whit Stillman was familiar with this world (far more that I am), so I wonder why he chose to represent this scene in such a disinfected manner? The second issue may tie into the first one. All the conversations in the club (and it is a Whit Stillman film so…
Whit Stillman not only captures a time but captures the exhilarations and letdowns of being a mid-twenties man or woman, with endlessly theorizing and analyzing every character thought very interesting and engaging conversations.
Chloë Sevigny is charming, likable and very effective, even Kate Beckinsale surprise me like the cold unsecured bitch friend, maybe the best film I have seen from Sevigny and Beckinsale.
The (disco) soundtrack is a great complement to this very enjoyable and clever film.
Those who didn't understand will never understand: disco was much more, and much better, than all that. Disco was too great, and too much fun, to be gone forever! It's got to come back someday.
Sometimes recording films on tv more or less on a hunch can prove just right, because I really liked this one. I haven't seen any of Whit Stillman's films before, but this one at least reminded me of Noah Baumbach. It was a bit like a his Kicking and Screaming meets Jane Austen in an American Psycho era. That's how I described this to myself while watching, anyway. Jane Austen? Yeah, probably unfair to everyone involved in the comparison, but especially Kate Beckinsale's character is…
It only took about three minutes into this movie before I realized I was finally at a familiar enough stage in the world of Whit Stillman to become an ardent and appreciative fan. Not only did I find myself fully understanding the rhythm and unique nuances within his words, but by the time The Last Days of Disco came to a close, I was suddenly wanting to call him a genius. I'm not sure if that's accurate, but what I can say with complete certainty is that he is one of the few American screenwriters who possess a distinct voice.
I think what makes this film Stillman's finest achievement is the brilliant execution of the casting for each role. Like…
I can't seem to get enough of this picture.
"Amazing grace, how sweet the sound."
The two things I noticed throughout "The Last Days of Disco" were that the dialogue was consistently strong and that Kate Beckinsale was sort of brilliant as the bitchy Charlotte. The script is intelligently written, with characters that are developed subtly throughout and dialogue that is funny and fun to listen to. That being said, the script also rambles quite a bit and lacks focus. There are too many characters and too many subplots, which certainly distracts from the screenplay's strong points. As for the performance, Kate Beckinsale steals the film. I never took Beckinsale seriously as an actress, perhaps because I don't have an interest in her other films, but she's fantastic here and steals every scene she's in.…
Why isn't Chris Eigeman a movie star? He is so fantastic in this picture.
Besides the great characters and witty, dry dialogue, what I love most about Stillman's films are their sense of community between people from different social groups. At the first, the groups seem to have this very elitist, snobbish sense to them. They are cautious about outsiders and weary about letting them into the group, but as the film goes a long, the characters become bonded to each other on a very human level of relatability. Not intelligence or class or good looks, humanity and the need for community is the key. I love this aspect of his films. It is where all the warmth comes from. Its love of everyone.
I'm trying to remember what it was about this movie that prompted me to rate it five out of ten when I first saw it roughly a decade ago. Madness. The only reason I can come up with is that the actual disco elements are a bit superfluous. And silly. Such as the principles spending all of their time at one club (likely a budgetary necessity) and the end of the "movement" actually being announced on the street with all the subtlety of a newspaper boy hawking the evening edition. As if these things kill a movie. Especially one that's not really about disco at all.
That Lady and the Tramp discussion is key, the kind of off-the-cuff scene you…
DMX angrily shouting, "Fuck what you heard, it's what you're hearin listen", then forcing anyone who has watched a bullshit indie movie about young people in NYC to watch The Last Days of Disco.
Strong dialogue, interesting use of period. The film feels less connected with the city than "Metropolitan." Good, good stuff.
May need to re-watch and pick out my favorite lines
Wife: "Why aren't more people talking about Stillman's films?"
Me: "They are, we just don't know them. They probably live in big cities."
Wife: "We need to be friends with them."