Why Did I Like It?

Why Did I Like It?

I watched a movie the other night that I really enjoyed, and I don’t honestly know why.  I think that if I could figure it out, there might be a lesson there I can take advantage of in my own writing.

The movie was Whit Stillman’s “The Last Days of Disco”.  It takes place (exactly as you’d expect from the title) in the late 70’s, in New York City.  The story follows a group of young men and women fairly recently out of college, all over-privileged, all over-educated and all with far too high an opinion of themselves.  Their romantic and professional misadventures are played out against the backdrop of a Studio 54-ish club that’s incredibly popular (until it’s inevitably shut down by the cops thanks to rampant drug use, money laundering and other activities that take place in the backrooms).

The acting is all great – the cast includes Kate Beckinsale, Chloe Sevigny, Chris Eigeman and a name that may not be familiar but ought to be, Matt Keeslar (who would go on to star in “The Middleman” as well as playing Feyd in the Sci-Fi channel adaptation of “Dune”).  And the script is very sharp and very smart.

That all sounds great, so why am I questioning why I liked it?  Because every single character was unsympathetic to some degree.  And because I am not a fan of the late 70’s.  And because the trouble of rich, self-centered young Manhattanites is not a subject I am especially interested in.

Yet, even though I didn’t actually like any of the characters (and, were I to meet them in real life, I would try to get away as fast as possible), and I don’t have any love for their world or their era…I was drawn in by them, and I wanted to know what would happen, and, honestly, I didn’t want their time to end.

I can say almost exactly the same about the other Whit Stillman film I’ve seen, “Metropolitan”.  I just wish I could figure out what it is that he did to capture and hold my interest for two hours.

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