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Brendan Sexton III,
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New Year's Eve, 1981, the Lower East Side. Monica's having a party, but as late as 9, no one's there. She stews (and drinks). Folks are on their way, all looking for love, sex, or both. En route, paths cross, gambits misfire: a performance artist, her boyfriend until today and his long-time pal Lucy, two Long Island high-school girls, two punk rockers, a bartender, a Scottish painter who's lousy in bed, a pretty face named Jack who runs when women say they love him, his cute but clumsy date Cindy, two trendy vamps, a loquacious cabby, the man-crazed Hillary, and Elvis Costello. Nearly everybody smokes, and nearly everybody scores. And all get who and what they deserve. Written by
this is one of my all-time favorite movies; as evidenced by my review history, I am not a compulsive reviewer, but decided that if one more movie deserves my shout-out it is this low-profile and vastly underrated effort so I dredged up my registration information which I hadn't used in years; I remember stumbling upon the movie at my local home video rental store nine years ago; I immediately fell in love with this star-jammed vehicle that effortlessly manages to be stridently observant and yet retain a light and joyfully irrelevant touch; some of the reviewers complain that its crowded story-lines don't allow for fully-fledged characters but fail to see that it's one of the successful wink-wink aspects of the movie: most of the protagonists ARE fully-fledged, it's just that there just so much to their character! They are either shallow/vapid people or one-track minds desperate to score before the last hours of the old year ring out; both types can be sketched with a few confident strokes! for instance, just listening in on the bathroom conversation of Caitlin and Bridget you get all the insight into their character that you need to know perfectly well where they come from and what is their motivation; come on, given the lightweight subject matter I don't see how you can expect a 162-minute English patient-calibre backstory; you might ask then why waste time on a movie about shallow people or people obsessed with hosting the perfect party? because shallow plus zero self-awareness plus NYC art-scene types equals funny; being so caught up in party dip and New Year's decoration that it leads up to existential drama and queasiness is also hilarious in my book; and 200 cigarettes serves up just that sort of delightful cinematic entertainment; not to mention that it has one of my all-time favorite one-liners: "I DARE you to f*** me!"
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