Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Last Days of Disco (1998)

Follow the lives and loves of a group of New Yorkers (Chloë Sevigny, Kate Beckinsale, Matt Keeslar, etc) as they make their way through the early 80s.

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Dialogue is all about rhythm. None of the great dialogue writers actually write realistic dialogue. Shakespeare is great because he used iambic pentameter. Every great dialogue writer has his or her own rhythm and people gravitate to it because it’s pleasing to the ear. It’s like music. Some writers do jazz, others are more hip-hop. When Whit Stillman writes a film, he writes a symphony.

The dialogue in The Last Days of Disco simply cannot be beat. It is some of the funniest, wittiest and most cutting verbal sparring you will ever hear. And in the few moments where there is no talking, you get the steady pulse of disco music. Most filmmakers would use disco for camp and laughs but Stillman has genuine affection for the period. The opening credits alone actually cause you to have a modicum of respect Carol Douglas’ easy listening hit “Doctor’s Orders”. This movie somehow magically succeeds in making it cool to be a yuppie.

SIDE NOTE: Violet Wister’s Damsels in Distress, Whit's first film in 13 years, has recently been picked up by Sony Pictures Classics. So keep an eye out for it this fall!

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