Stillman In Gear

“In two weeks I’m starting Whit Stillman‘s new film, called Damsels in Distress,” Greta Gerwig has told WWD. “I play a girl named Violet who runs a suicide-prevention center at a liberal arts college. She prevents suicides through the powers of 1930s song-and-dance numbers. So it’s a very dark comedy. I’m not really worried about my indie cred. I don’t think there’s any danger of me going, ‘I only do franchises now.'”

I ran my first “return of Whit Stillman” piece on 12.13 09, basing it on a screening of Metropolitan at 92YTribeca.

  • bluefugue

    Never got into Stillman. His oh-so-dry-dialogue wears on me. Metropolitan was all right — I liked it more when I was a teenager — but I found Barcelona undefinably depressing.

  • LexG

    Not a huge, huge fan of Stillman– WAY too much of a chance you’ll have to endure Chris Eigeman if you watch one of his movies. But Beckinsale in Last Days of Disco is pretty immortal; I wonder what would’ve happened had Stillman kept working consistently: Would he have become a sacred cow like Wes Anderson or Noah Bambauch, or would he have retreated further into irrelevance, like Hal Hartley?

    Gerwig is CHARMING though.

  • anonymous2

    Gerwig is perfect for Stillman. So are liberal arts colleges.

  • Mr. Buckles

    What’s the hate for Eigeman? The dude has a certain way about him in delivering a line – exasperated, snide, snotty, snooty – in short, awesomely. This is a gift just in the way Bill Murray possesses it or Vince Vaughn possesses it. The dude can crush line readings and I only wish he appeared in Wed World (he has graced Bambauch world… TWICE).

    Secondly, Barcelona is much better than Metropolitan if you ask me.

    Thirdly, while Hal Hartley faded, there is no denying the singularity of his work and how good, especially, Henry Fool is.

    This sounds like a promising project.

  • Caged Horse

    Remember when Woody Allen could still direct NY ensemble pieces as funny, yet quietly profound, as ‘The Last Days of Disco’?

  • LexG

    He still does. Woody is a billion times the filmmaker Stillman ever was or will be. Even high-water mark “Last Days of Disco” isn’t fit to shine the shoes of, say, “Hollywood Ending” or “Melinda and Melinda.”

    ALLEN POWER. Also I can’t believe someone just compared the annoying, snotty, loathesome and smug Chris Eigeman to gods like Murray and Vaughn. Eigeman BLOWS.

  • Craptastic

    This is the best news I’ve heard in a while. It’s about damn time!

  • berg

    the coolness of what were Stillman or Hartley movies in the 90s has been replaced by the smugness of indie festival films that today mask their unoriginality with charming websites, useless narratives and pointless direction

  • George Prager

    I remember watching the first few minutes of THE LAST DAYS OF DISCO and thinking to myself “Holy shit! This is how it’s going to be, isn’t it.. it’s going to continue at this pace for the next hour and a half with no relief. I hate these boring fucking assholes. This fucking sucks!”

  • George Prager

    Every Hal Hartley movie is this scene repeated over and over::

  • MilkMan

    Metropolitan would make a good double bill with The Social Network.

    Henry Fool is a work of genius; the first last and only Indie Epic.

  • Caged Horse

    I’m sorry, miss. I forgot to piss myself out of veneration for Allen. Can I be excused?

  • LexG

    Long as Jeff’s cleaning house of annoying bangers-and-mash-eating Limey assholes, Caged Horse would be a stellar target next after he’s done 86ing Tremayne.

  • YND

    I think Allen stands alongside the likes of Kubrick and Hawks as one of the greatest American filmmakers… HANNAH AND HER SISTERS is probably one of my 5 favorite films of all time and he’s got maybe half-a-dozen that are nearly as good. That said, he hasn’t made a film since HUSBANDS AND WIVES that I like as much as METROPOLITAN or BARCELONA. (LAST DAYS OF DISCO might not rate as highly for me, but I still think it’s quite a good film.)

    There are some filmmakers that always resonate with me and some that just don’t operate on my wavelength (or vice versa). Whit Stillman’s worst film will probably work for me better than Todd Phillips’ (or Craig Brewer’s or Paul Haggis’…) best one. That’s just how it is.

    Anyway, this is fantastic news to me. The Stillman haters can save their money for a ticket to THE HANGOVER 2 in the meantime.

  • LexG

    Craig Brewer? Damn, YND, come on.

    Craig Brewer kicks it with his Memphis flavor, and usually his movies have rapping and weed and hot white chicks all greased up getting banged by black dudes, and bondage and pimps and gunfire and more rapping and sweat and chick’s feet chained up to radiators and shit.

    At least all those things are AWESOME and he knows how to wreck shit.

    Whit Stillman couldn’t wreck shit if MC Ren shared a co-writer credit. It’d still be BORING WHITE PEOPLE standing around BEING SMART AND SNIDE, which INSTANTLY puts it leagues behind Brewer or Phillips.

    Woody is the only director going (not that Altman’s passed on) who can make movies about neurotic married whiners seem exciting.

    And every Woody movie SINCE Husband and Wives is EASILY better than anything Stillman could dream of.

    In fact, he’s got one out right now that’s ONE OF THE BEST MOVIES OF THE YEAR, featuring a hilarious Brolin performance, and infinitely relatable one by Hopkins, and the dueling ebony and ivory hotness of Watts and Pinto. Highly, highly recommended.

  • DiscoNap

    Robert John Burke should have been one of the Expendables.

  • YND

    Agreed — many of those things are awesome. But that doesn’t mean Brewer ineptly making a film of them is awesome. (Inversely, Facebook and Harvard are pretty goddamn dull, but it sure looks like that movie’s got something going on.) Actually, I remember BLACK SNAKE MOAN being so bad that I was afraid I’d lost the ability to watch movies — I was so constantly aware of what bullshit this was, how fake and stupid every moment of was, I walked out completely depressed, thinking that starting to work in Hollywood had wrecked me as an audience member.

    Then I walked out of MOAN and snuck into a theater showing ZODIAC and I knew I was okay and that Craig Brewer was just a shitty filmmaker.

  • YND

    And believe me, I wish I could love Woody’s recent stuff. But it only took me opening weekend of MIGHTY APHRODITE to get worried… and then EVERYONE SAYS I LOVE YOU confirmed that something was wrong here. I kept trying — DECONSTRUCTING HARRY, CELEBRITY, (holy shit) CURSE OF THE JADE SCORPION? — but nope. I can give some props to MATCH POINT but for me, after 20 years of making pretty much nothing but good-to-great films, the only things I’ve really enjoyed since ’95 have been SWEET & LOWDOWN, VICKY CRISTINA and SMALL TIME CROOKS. And none of them is as good as even lesser mid-period Allen.

  • berg

    since this has become a Woody Allen meet and swap, CELEBRITY is easily one of his best .. in movies where actors play the Woody character (like Anything Else, Jason Biggs, or Melinda2 with Will Farrell or Bullets Over Bdwy with Cusack) Branaugh is the best and the Sven b&w cinematography rules, plus the A.D. in the film is played by the Superbad director dude. Sweet and Lowdown was even better ….

  • raquelswell

    She prevents suicides through the powers of 1930s song-and-dance numbers.

    Wouldn’t this induce a suicide frenzy?

  • Noah Cross

    Count me among those who looks forward to the return of Stilman. (Of course, I’m a Chris Eigeman fan as well. Quite funny on “Malcolm in the Middle” and I was one of a dozen people sad to see “It’s Like, You Know…” go off the air.)

  • trollywood

    What happened to my comment #21? It vanished. Did I offend you somehow Jeff?

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