326, 485, 807 A Whit Stillman Trilogy

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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Harmonov
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485 The Last Days of Disco

#101 Post by Harmonov » Tue Sep 02, 2008 10:01 am

From Mulvaney:
As far as I know we have no plans for Leon Morin, prêtre; Love Streams, or Husbands at this time. As for Last Days of Disco, I don't have anything to share right now but please check back.
Sounds like it's coming. Let's hope soon.

CA Rodgers
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326 Metropolitan

#102 Post by CA Rodgers » Mon Sep 08, 2008 3:18 pm

Every time I watch this movie, it never fails the main guy in the movie just gets on my nerves! But I love the movie, it's one of those movies I showed to all my friends. Most of my friends didn't like it. I think more Whit Stllman films should be in the collection. I was a bid fan of the last days of disco.

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dad1153
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Re: 485 The Last Days of Disco

#103 Post by dad1153 » Sat May 16, 2009 1:53 pm

Yes, "Metropolitan" and "Last Days of Disco" together at last in my Criterion shelf. :D Any chance Criterion would approach Turner for the rights to "Barcelona" so there can be a 'Whit Stillman Trilogy' Box Set in the near future? Maybe by the time "Little Green Men" comes out in theaters or home video?

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Jean-Luc Garbo
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Re: 485 The Last Days of Disco

#104 Post by Jean-Luc Garbo » Sat May 16, 2009 7:24 pm

YES!! =D> First round of drinks on me!

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Re: 485 The Last Days of Disco

#105 Post by skeets kelly » Sat May 23, 2009 10:31 am

i'm not trying to be the guy that hates on stuff when he posts, but...am i the only person that finds this movie to be a vapid piece of garbage?

i feel like i don't get stillman's movies because i'm not a trust fund kid.

been sort of following the release of this on different forums and it seems like everyone is really excited.

for me, it would be like, "oh shit, criterion is releasing armageddon again."

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The Elegant Dandy Fop
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Re: 485 The Last Days of Disco

#106 Post by The Elegant Dandy Fop » Sat May 23, 2009 12:04 pm

skeets kelly wrote:i'm not trying to be the guy that hates on stuff when he posts, but...am i the only person that finds this movie to be a vapid piece of garbage?

i feel like i don't get stillman's movies because i'm not a trust fund kid.

been sort of following the release of this on different forums and it seems like everyone is really excited.

for me, it would be like, "oh shit, criterion is releasing armageddon again."
Trust me, you're not the only one. Go look on the Metropolitan thread and you'll know what I mean.

I don't know what to say. I'm no trust fund kid (I'm ol' fashioned working class, single parent background), but I still was surprised to see my self enjoying his films so much. The Last Days of Disco, I thought, was very charming and had interesting characters. My favorite though is Metropolitan and I think I attribute part of my facisnation because it's the sort of clique or people I've never known. It's like an other world to me.

But then again, I suppose it just isn't for everyone (which is no big deal. We all have out individual tastes.)

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Re: 485 The Last Days of Disco

#107 Post by CRT » Sat May 23, 2009 3:09 pm

I usually lurk around this forum, but as LDoD remains my #23 film of all time, I felt the need to register to defend it. As you could imagine, I about blew a gasket when I found out Criterion is finally releasing this August 25. I have the old OOP I bought from a Hollywood Video closeout for $1. A Criterion with all the bells and whistles is frankly just too good to be true.

LDoD (and this applies to any of Stillman's films in general) is as much a movie for "Trust Fund Kids" as Citizen Kane was a movie for William Randolph Hearst. It's a satire on them. As one of my friends once told me, specifically referring to "Metropolitan", "I hope you don't symphathize with any of the characters, or you are a sociopath". Characters in Stillman's movies are rich, relatively mindless yuppies who use the fact that they can throw big parties, or blame another country for their unjustified dislike of americans, or go dancing at night clubs and talk about pointless topics to ignore the fact that they are utterly useless people. It's a common misconception that one of the first things you ALWAYS have to do when writing a screenplay is come up with characters that the audience can feel for and root for. If anything, Stillman's characters are meant to criticized. Many people find Stillman's movies annoying because they basically ask "Why would I want to sit and watch a bunch of Rich Kids talk?". You don't. The only people that think that people would are his spoiled ice princesses, like Kate Beckinsale in LDoD, and Chris Eigemann's managerie of terrible, terrible "Best friends". Even Chloe Sevigny's character of Alice in LDoD, who could initially be percieved as the likeable, root for her character as she suffers at Beckinsale's right hand, is actually rather trying because of her endless nihilism.

LDoD is what like to call the ultimate "Anti-coming of age film". Rather than a movie about young people growing up and learning the life lessons that will form them into responsible adults, LDoD is all about a bunch of people who think that's what they're doing, who think they've went threw this big life changing experience and the end of an era and experienced this great thing (The disco scene and the closing of the clubs) , when in acutuality, they're just a bunch of yuppies who have all have huge smug egos and an inability to recognize that there is nothing special about them other than what Daddy's wallet throws their way.

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Camera Obscura
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Re: 485 The Last Days of Disco

#108 Post by Camera Obscura » Sat May 23, 2009 7:25 pm

skeets kelly wrote:i'm not trying to be the guy that hates on stuff when he posts, but...am i the only person that finds this movie to be a vapid piece of garbage?

for me, it would be like, "oh shit, criterion is releasing armageddon again."
Hey, don't push it. Armageddon is way better than this piece of crap.. Hearing everyone around me talk like those hideously spoiled little brats in LDoD at parties is quite enough for me. No need to watch the same party again on some unimaginatively shot home video.

(sorry CRT, nothing personal)
Last edited by Camera Obscura on Sat May 23, 2009 10:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 485 The Last Days of Disco

#109 Post by domino harvey » Sat May 23, 2009 8:09 pm

He would only take it personally if you dissed a film that ranked #15 or higher on his all time list

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Re: 485 The Last Days of Disco

#110 Post by skeets kelly » Sat May 23, 2009 9:36 pm

well, i just mean that it's the feeling that i get from all of his movies. you know, that he's making films about all of his rich friends. i don't know anyone like those people and i certainly wouldn't hang out with any of them. i never understood if stillman is presenting these as observations of society (which seems hard to believe) or he's just making movies about what he knows. i also don't see the "satire" angle. i mean, i've seen all three of his movies and i always walk away from them with the same feeling.

but the joke's on me, really, because much like greg araki, immediately following the viewing of one of their films i always say to myself: "that's the last one i'll see. ever."

and then...i get tricked into seeing another one because someone tells me how great it is and it's so much better than all the others.

also, for the record, i've seen far worse movies than armageddon, that's for damn sure.

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Re: 485 The Last Days of Disco

#111 Post by HistoryProf » Sun May 24, 2009 1:47 am

domino harvey wrote:He would only take it personally if you dissed a film that ranked #15 or higher on his all time list
=D>

i can add "my #23 film of all time" to my list of weirdly obsessive things i'd never believe someone actually said if I hadn't seen/heard it myself.

And anyone who defends this POS getting a spine # can never ever complain about Chasing Amy or Benjamin Button ever again ;) I thought this was a vapid, annoying, insufferable waste of time. It's not just that the people in it are unlikable, it's just not a good film. I understand the whole director relationship deal means we get the good with the bad, but while Metropolitan was tolerable even if not terribly enjoyable, LDoD is just bad. I just don't get the Stillman love here or anywhere else. he makes pedestrian films about pretentious wealthy assholes. woo hoo!

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Re: 485 The Last Days of Disco

#112 Post by CRT » Sun May 24, 2009 12:31 pm

Yeah, I didn't think how oddly specific throwing the phrase "#23 film of all time" meant til after I typed that. Some film fans have 100 all time lists, so I don't really think about throwing numbers around like that, sorry. :wink:

And you of course are all entitled to your equally valid opinions, I happen to love this movie. But I completely understand how a film with no likable characters is not accessible for everyone.

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Re: 485 The Last Days of Disco

#113 Post by John Cope » Sun May 24, 2009 12:44 pm

skeets kelly wrote: i don't know anyone like those people and i certainly wouldn't hang out with any of them.
I would. In a heartbeat. For whatever that's worth (and I suspect that's not much), as whether we can relate directly to the socio-economic circumstances of movie characters seems of little consequence. Putting that kind of stipulation out there unnecessarily restricts the palate.

I don't think that's the main issue for this film's critics anyway; it's the way these characters express themselves and the fact that Stillman's satire is not more pronounced. But if it was any more pronounced it would be insufferable. It's handled with a gentle touch and genuine affection because, guess what, Stillman doesn't hate his characters. Should he? Based on what? It's funny to me to see such vitriol tossed around about those who people Stillman's films (especially in the ostensible "defense" by CRT). I rarely see that same level of rancor aimed at Woody Allen's sniping narcissists for instance or really any other representative social class as being on their own terms miserable to spend time around. At the very least that indicates an inability to see any recognizable human traits in the Stillman-ites which is inane as such things are there in abundance. Is there a litmus test characters must pass to be approved for our sympathy? For my part, I'm always grateful to be in the company of Stillman's characters and, though I acknowledge the satirical angle, it is primarily because I deeply appreciate the model of society they perpetuate. God forbid.

Having said all that I will admit that I do prefer Stillman's first two films, especially the great Metropolitan, as those two are arguably more successful in terms of the careful balance of structure and character building. Metropolitan's accomplishment is particularly impressive as the film itself is so necessarily diaphanous it all feels like it could blow away with the wind.

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Re: 485 The Last Days of Disco

#114 Post by Antoine Doinel » Sun May 24, 2009 2:48 pm

skeets kelly wrote:i don't know anyone like those people and i certainly wouldn't hang out with any of them.
I've never understood this line of criticism for a film. There are many great films about people I don't "know" or would hang out with. I don't watch films to see my own life reflected back at me.

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Re: 485 The Last Days of Disco

#115 Post by domino harvey » Sun May 24, 2009 3:16 pm

John Cope wrote:I don't think that's the main issue for this film's critics anyway; it's the way these characters express themselves and the fact that Stillman's satire is not more pronounced.
Which of course leads to conservatives embracing Stillman's films at face value!

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Re: 485 The Last Days of Disco

#116 Post by maxbelmont » Sun May 24, 2009 5:56 pm

My friend, John Cope, alerted me to this thread and all I have to say is, "It's about time." LDoD is probably my favorite film by Stillman. I had a hunch that Criterion would release the film, but it was just a matter of time. I do agree that Barcelona should also be released in either a Stillman box set or separately. All I have to say is that I can finally enjoy a remastered David Thorton and don't have to settle for his appearance on Law and Order: Criminal Intent.

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Re: 485 The Last Days of Disco

#117 Post by Gregory » Sun May 24, 2009 8:02 pm

Antoine Doinel wrote:
skeets kelly wrote:i don't know anyone like those people and i certainly wouldn't hang out with any of them.
I've never understood this line of criticism for a film. There are many great films about people I don't "know" or would hang out with. I don't watch films to see my own life reflected back at me.
I agree that this in itself is not generally an apt criticism, but for Metropolitan at least (I haven't seen LDD and am certainly no expert on Stillman) it seemed like the whole thing that charmed so many critics' socks off was just the experience of, in a way, sitting around with most of the main characters, listening to their witticisms and enjoying their personalities, charming awkwardness, and their ultimately redeeming features as well as their foibles. Even some characters' pomposity is there to be relished. That the film apparently has little to offer those unimpressed by these supposedly charming characters and their "delightful" and "sprightly" performances suggests that it's ultimately a pretty shallow film. An exception to this observation is CRT and his friend's view that Stillman meant the films to be a harsh critique of a universally odious group of people. However, I find this pretty implausible at least in the case of the Stillman film I've seen. If he ever said anything that explicitly supports this reading, I'd be interested to know it.
[typo]
Last edited by Gregory on Mon May 25, 2009 4:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 485 The Last Days of Disco

#118 Post by knives » Sun May 24, 2009 9:29 pm

I think he's trying to be a Bret Ellis light, but has too much sympathy for his characters.

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Re: 485 The Last Days of Disco

#119 Post by HistoryProf » Mon May 25, 2009 4:09 am

Antoine Doinel wrote:
skeets kelly wrote:i don't know anyone like those people and i certainly wouldn't hang out with any of them.
I've never understood this line of criticism for a film. There are many great films about people I don't "know" or would hang out with. I don't watch films to see my own life reflected back at me.
while i agree to an extent, I think it's perfectly relevant for stillman's particular brand of film. the whole point is that we are "hanging out" with people and gaining a fly on the wall perspective of a culture - if you will - that we would otherwise never experience. So it is very apt for these particular film because that's precisely their draw...providing a vicarious experience of getting to know these people in an intimate setting. And it's precisely what people who like metropolitan refer to most - that they are able to see the inside of a world they are excluded from. So whether you like them or not is particularly important in this sense...and it's why disliking the characters for me pretty much automatically led to disliking the films. I didn't find anything particularly satirical...rather i saw a filmmaker trying way to hard to write "smart" dialog and fell flat on his face by going completely overboard with it all...both films just reek of pretentiousness to me...that of the director oozing out of the mouths of the characters via wholly unbelievable dialog written merely to prove how smart he is.

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Re: 485 The Last Days of Disco

#120 Post by Ted Todorov » Tue May 26, 2009 4:39 pm

I have to wonder what some of the Stillman haters here think of the characters in Pulp Fiction -- do you like, identify with, etc. a bunch of killers and criminals? If you do like the characters in Pulp Fiction does that make you pro-murder?

I find most of the criticism's of Stillman's films and characters (as well as the praise by CRT) to be totally absurd.

Are Stillman's films satire? Of course they are. But they are also love letters to their characters as most good films should be. What Pulp Fiction and Metropolitan/Barcelona/TLDoD have in common are a bunch of smart/articulate/funny protagonists. They may be killers or clueless, overprivileged no-hopers, but they are good company.

Contrast that with the stupid, repulsive protagonists in most Coen brothers films. Making fun of genuinely dumb people loses it's charm very, very fast. Being mean spirited about it to boot is a total turn off. Yes, the Coens are capable of making a formally brilliant film like No Country for Old Men, but it is telling that it isn't an original script. Something like Burn After Reading on the other hand typifies their approach -- Brad Pitt's stupid character gets mocked from beginning to end. Maybe some enjoy making fun of the low IQ set, but I get bored and repulsed very fast.

Bottom line, movies about intelligent people, regardless of their moral value, be they from Rohmer, or Tarantino or Stillman are a pleasure. Clearly, this type of protagonist turns off many posters here. Stupidity, bandied about or mocked, bores me and turns me off.

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Re: 485 The Last Days of Disco

#121 Post by domino harvey » Tue May 26, 2009 5:56 pm

Very nice defense and I think Stillman's humanism for his subjects is well-worth noting. Like Woody Allen or members of Stella, Stillman's films recognize the importance of making comedic characters more complex than just justifying whatever joke needs to be made, and that warmth is a whole lot braver than the misanthropic vein that's running wild in most comedies.

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Re: 485 The Last Days of Disco

#122 Post by Camera Obscura » Tue May 26, 2009 9:51 pm

Ted Todorov wrote:I have to wonder what some of the Stillman haters here think of the characters in Pulp Fiction -- do you like, identify with, etc. a bunch of killers and criminals? If you do like the characters in Pulp Fiction does that make you pro-murder?

I find most of the criticism's of Stillman's films and characters (as well as the praise by CRT) to be totally absurd.
Where did this 'do you like hanging out with the characters' thing come from? It's completely irrelevant. But, come to think of it, I guess I'd have a pretty good time hanging out with most of the characters from Pulp Fiction.

Stillman's characters on the other hand, I find banal, clichéd, shallow and uninteresting, hence, I do not find these people intelligent at all. But, more importantly, I like interesting characters, regardless of their intelligence or stupidity. So, I guess, there's my problem. The characters and themes Stillman puts on the table just hold very little interest in my book. Besides this, there seems to be a whole school of critics who support the idea that some of the validity in movies comes from earnestness and real life. Meaning, if the characters are 'real', this somehow justifies it as a decent film. To me, this whole approach is, almost without exception, a dead end street. The truth is no excuse. Invent things, make things interesting. This somewhat autobiographical trend from some filmmakers like Stillman (or someone like Noah Baumbach) is deadening to me. And if it comes without any mockery or a little fooling around with some of these characters, it just puts me off.

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Re: 485 The Last Days of Disco

#123 Post by Gregory » Wed May 27, 2009 12:46 am

Ted Todorov wrote:I have to wonder what some of the Stillman haters here think of the characters in Pulp Fiction -- do you like, identify with, etc. a bunch of killers and criminals? If you do like the characters in Pulp Fiction does that make you pro-murder?
Camera Obscura wrote:Where did this 'do you like hanging out with the characters' thing come from? It's completely irrelevant.
Above I tried to explain why I think the likability of the characters is something that critics of Stillman understandably address, even though it would be irrelevant for most other films. The reason is that it's in response to (based on what I've read and people I've talked with) the major reason Metropolitan and perhaps also LDoD are praised: these supporters are just so charmed by "hanging out" with such witty, likable people. The gentle critique of their foibles just adds to this, apparently, and the films don't need to offer much else. So it makes sense, for me at least, to point out that I don't think these actors delivering all these bons mots is cutting it -- I just don't "like them" enough for that alone to carry the films. I don't want to be considered a "hater" of Stillman, though. I did not have a good experience with Metropolitan, but the jury's really still out.
So does this not make sense at all?

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Re: 485 The Last Days of Disco

#124 Post by Camera Obscura » Wed May 27, 2009 3:04 am

Gregory wrote:Above I tried to explain why I think the likability of the characters is something that critics of Stillman understandably address, even though it would be irrelevant for most other films. The reason is that it's in response to (based on what I've read and people I've talked with) the major reason Metropolitan and perhaps also LDoD are praised: these supporters are just so charmed by "hanging out" with such witty, likable people. The gentle critique of their foibles just adds to this, apparently, and the films don't need to offer much else. So it makes sense, for me at least, to point out that I don't think these actors delivering all these bons mots is cutting it -- I just don't "like them" enough for that alone to carry the films. I don't want to be considered a "hater" of Stillman, though. I did not have a good experience with Metropolitan, but the jury's really still out.
So does this not make sense at all?
Thanks. That does make sense, though I'm not sure I was questioning your argumentation in the first place. :wink:
It was mainly the 'hanging out' issue that sounded a little silly to me, and provoked a response, but I probably took that much too literally.

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Re: 485 The Last Days of Disco

#125 Post by Gregory » Wed May 27, 2009 3:19 am

No, I didn't think you were questioning it. It seemed like there was several people saying similar things in different words while at the same time talking past one another. This left me wondering if I'd completely failed to communicate anything, so I thought I'd take another crack at it.

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