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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. As the disco is closed, they all wonder can disco ever really be dead? Written by
Kathy Clark <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Third feature film of director Whit Stillman. Metropolitan (1990) and Barcelona (1994) were the earlier works. This movie is the third film in director Whit Stillman's "Doomed-Bourgeois-in-Love series", these other two pictures being the other films in the series. This film includes a number of cameo appearances from characters that appeared in the two earlier movies. See more »
Early in the movie, boxes of glassware in the back of the club have large modern barcodes. An hour into the movie the boxes are shown again, with the barcodes taped over. See more »
except my memory lane was in Dallas, not New York City. I just fell in love with this film and its characters, characters who could only exist as they did and together in that very late disco period.
Actually, Stillman got some things wrong, and maybe he did so on purpose. "Disco Destruction Night", occurred in July 1979, and he's got it happening "in the very early 80s" at about the mid point of the film. Since disco was completely dead - and its death was like that of one struck down suddenly by a heart attack - by the fall of 1980, he is probably aware of the anachronisms here, and just spun the tale as it was to prevent himself from basically making a yuppie version of Saturday Night Fever. Stillman must have been acutely aware of not wanting to be that film because, did you notice the film is devoid of even one song by the brothers Gibb, who are practically emblematic of the disco era?
The film's focus is on a group of recent college grads in their early to mid 20's. You could call them friends but they are more like acquaintances, and they all frequent one particular disco. The center of the film is the pair of - I guess you'd call them friends - Alice and Charlotte. Alice is a quiet girl. I'd almost call her an Amish girl in sequined clothes and platform shoes by night, business attire and sensible shoes for her job in publishing by day. Charlotte is a mess. She went to the same college as Alice, and she seems to seek out a connection with Alice much more than vice versa, even though Charlotte is the outgoing one. But she is constantly putting Alice down, steering her the wrong way in her relationships, and blurting things out that embarrass Alice. Charlotte seems like the kind of person who just wants other people around to make her feel better about herself. Among the men in the group we have an ad man who must be able to get clients into the club or he'll be fired, a lawyer, and an assistant manager at the club who avoids commitment by telling women he is gay.
In short, there is something unlikable about all of these people except maybe Alice, yet I found them fascinating. It's like "The Asphalt Jungle" (minus the crime) meets "Friends".
All of these people are college educated, some at the Ivy Leagues, yet they are underpaid, and in the case of Charlotte and Alice, doing jobs that in any other city would go to high school grads. They mate, decouple with varying amounts of pain and drama, are living their youth at a time when they believe "The H" - herpes - is the worst thing that can happen to you, and when disco dies, proclaim that it just CAN'T be dead. It's not disco they are mourning, it is their passing from one phase of their youth to a more mature state, although I doubt they even realize it yet. A youth lived in the most exciting city in the world in a time of unique cultural acceptance and sexual freedom, and now they are forced to march on to a more constrained existence. Their post college adolescence is over.
My favorite parts - Robert Sean Leonard as an environmental lawyer who seems sensitive at first yet denies his sexual partners certain vital "need to know" information, a hilarious deconstruction of Lady and the Tramp as only Harvard grads could do it, and the closing credits superimposed on what could almost be called a music video featuring "Love Train" that sends the film out on a joyful hopeful note.
Just a few words about the plot - there really is none. If you are looking for an action picture look elsewhere. But if you like films filled with great dialogue I highly suggest it.
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