The Criterion Collection for years have been releasing the best versions of movies on DVD and Blue Ray. They are hands down the ultimate praise a film can receive,and while many claim the Oscar to be the ultimate recognition. Having the work and praise that goes into a Criterion edition. Shows that it was put together by film lovers for film lovers. This section is going to be dedicated to some of the great movies in this growing collection.
Cast: Kate Beckinsale, Chole Sevingy,Robert Shawn Leonard
Writer and Director: Whit Stillman.
There are only a handful of directors who are good at using pop music to help compliment their visuals. Off the top of my head those ones include Martin Scorsese(“Casino“) Wes Anderson(“Rushmore“), Quentin Tarantino(“Pulp Fiction“), Paul Thomas Anderson(“Boogie Nights“), Sofia Coppola(“Marie Antoinette“) and now Whit Stillman with “The Last Days of Disco“. The way these directors use a particular piece of music for a scene will forever change how I feel about that song. When I hear “You never can tell” by Chuck Barry. I automatically think of the twist contest with Mia and Vincent at Jack Rabbit Slims. I can’t hear “Brass in Pocket” by The Pretenders and not picture Scarlet Johansson singing that tune. Same thing goes for when I hear “More More More” by The Andrea True Connection. I just see the moment in this film when Alice(Chloe Sevingy) is trying to seduce Tom(Robert Shawn Leonard) in her bedroom(albeit in a somewhat clumsy and awkward attempt). There are a lot of other songs that I would normally dislike, but they just work so well within the context of the story. That when I hear them I can only picture that moment.
The movie opens with a cool credit sequence done to the tune of “Doctor’s Order” by Carol Douglas that puts you right into the world of these highly privileged socialites in New York City. This is the same world that inhabits both “Metropolitan” and “Barcelona“, and I believe a few characters from each of those flicks makes an appearance in this one. We are then introduced to Alice and Charlotte(Kate Beckinsale) as they make their way to a trendy dance club. I don’t remember the actual name of the place, but I don’t think it makes that much of a difference. Both girls seem to be very much alike with the way they dress and the people they hang out with, but they each have entirely different personalities. Alice is very quiet and somewhat shy. She may like a guy but doesn’t feel quite confident to approach him. Charlotte on the other hand has a lot of confidence and is brutally honest with people. Which makes her a bit conceited when she tries to give some helpful advice to Alice. We are then introduced to the other characters in this play including. Des(Chris Eigerman); a worker at the disco who pretends to be gay when he looses interest with a woman. Jimmy (Mackenzie Astin); an ad executive who never has the right outfit to get into the club. There is also Josh (Matt Keslar)who is also quiet (just like Alice) and Holly(Tara Subkoff). Who for some reason annoys Alice and Charlotte by dating their coworker Dan(Matt Ross). As the story progresses relationships between these characters will change and while mild drama may happen with these scenarios. That is not why I keep coming back to watch this flick.
To be completely honest with you dear readers. The only person I found to be likable in this whole story was Holly. Mainly because she seemed to be the only person not trying score with someone from inside their social circle Although to be fair Alice does break a bit from Charlotte’s social advice and makes her own choices about dating towards the end. The movie does have some very funny moments including a great conversation about Disney’s “Lady and the Tramp” that is near perfection as well as many other great witty lines. But it is not my favorite thing. No folks, what I like best about this movie is that for me it represented that time in one’s life between college and the real world. That time in your life when you felt the whole world was wide opened. Before the whole onslaught of responsibility came crashing in on you “The Last Days of Disco” isn’t so much about the end of a genre of music. But the end of that particular time in our lives. I can remember going out to a little karaoke bar and dance club when I was younger and having many fun nights with friends. As you get older those long nights seem to end earlier and earlier because you have other more important things going on. You have kids to feed, a house mortgage to pay,a wife to make happy. Alice,Charlotte and everyone else in this feature are slowly starting to make that realization themselves. Where this movie takes place or the music it plays has very little to do with that message. The setting of this could have been set a rock concert or a country music bar and it still would have evoked those same feelings in me.
- New, restored high-definition digital transfer, supervised by director Whit Stillman, with 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
- Audio commentary by Stillman and actors Chris Eigeman and Chloë Sevigny
- Four deleted scenes, with commentary by Stillman, Eigeman, and Sevigny
- Audio recording of Stillman reading a chapter from his book The Last Days of Disco, with Cocktails at Petrossian Afterwards
- Behind-the-scenes featurette
- Stills gallery, with captions by Stillman
- PLUS: A new essay by novelist David SchicklerCover illustration by Pierre Le Tan, based on his theatrical poster