Ed Driscoll

Pompeii with Mirrorballs

The Last Days of Disco, Whit Stillman’s 1998 film, as reviewed, stream of consciousness style, by Eve Tushnet:

For the first half of this movie I was not totally sold on it–despite its setting in “The Very Early ’80s” and its discussions of group socializing vs. “ferocious pairing off” and the Robert Sean Leonard of it all. “It’s fun enough, but it’s no Damsels in Distress,” I thought.

By the end I was so fascinated and pleased that I wanted to rewatch it immediately. I listened to the commentary track, which I rarely do with Netflix dvds because I am greedy and want my next one as fast as possible. But The Last Days of Disco is an intelligent souffle. It’s light–if it were heavy it would be lugubrious, but it’s so light that it’s poignant instead–and endearing, and insightful.

It’s a great film, one that benefits from repeated viewings, as I wrote a year ago in a post titled “Turn the Beat Around: A Reformed Disco Hater Looks Back at Whit Stillman’s The Last Days of Disco.”

And speaking of Pompeii with mirrorballs, at the start of the month, the Flashbak Website assembled an incredible collection of mostly black and white photos of the real Studio 54 from the late ’70s. Beyond the coke-fueled Weimar-esque decadence of the period, what’s fascinating is the intermingling of politics and cultures, where Italian socialist film director Lina Wertmuller meets Ed McMahon, Pat and Debbie Boone drop in, and Gerald Ford’s son Jack Ford chats with Alice Cooper. I’m not at all sure if the highly segregated puritanical left would sanction such a diverse intermingling of culture these days, in their all-consuming efforts to root out original sin.