Review: Damsels in Distress - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 11-04-2012, 09:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Didn't see a thread on this one, so I figured I'd do one... This is a Whit Stilman movie, which for anyone who knows his stuff is all you need to know to decide if you'd like it or not. He has a very distict style and basically all his movies are about the same thing, which you either consider a good thing or a bad thing, sort of a la Woody Allen I guess. I like all his stuff. Barcelona is a favorite of mine. I think he makes the most intelligent silly movies out there.

As with his other films, there's not a plot per se. It's all about the wierdness of human personalities and relationships basically. In this case it's a group of college girls who are the do gooders of the college, working at the suicide prevent center, trying to improve the lot of brain dead frat guys, etc... The engine of the group is Violet, played by Greta Gerwig. They take on a newcomer at the beginning of the year, Lilly, played by Analeigh Tipton, and there are various other characters directly or indirectly involved in their schemes. There's a little appearance of Taylor Nichols from Barcelona (and he was in The Last Days of Disco as well, right, or Metropolitan perhaps?)

As always there's lots of dialog, lots of bone dry humor, lots of intellectual humor interspersed wtih silliness, and lots of word play. I'm sure plenty of people consider his stuff to be hopelessly elitist or stuffy or some such, but I guess I appreciate it being a wannabe hopeless elitist myself. This one isn't as high on my list as Barcelona, which I consider to be pretty classic, but I enjoyed it a lot.

Perhaps some of my enjoyment was due to Analeigh Tipton. I've never seen her in anything else that I'm aware of, but she speaks to me. I love skinny women, what I can say? As is always the case in Stillman's movies, all the actors are young, and all of them are good. He does know how to pick them, and I'm sure plenty of young actors are interested in working on his movies, so far from the beaten path. Greta Gerwig, BTW, is basically a young Cloe Sevigny, at least in this movie (and Cloe of course was in The Last Days of Disco.) Apparently Whit likes that kind of girl.

So, anyway, if you are fan of Stillman's work, you'd probably like this one.

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post #2 of 13 Old 11-06-2012, 08:25 AM
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It's in my Nexflix queue. I might should float it to the top.

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post #3 of 13 Old 11-06-2012, 12:16 PM - Thread Starter
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OMG, someone responded to one of my reviews. The end times are obviously near.... I watched it again before I sent it back and enjoyed it even more the second time.

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post #4 of 13 Old 11-08-2012, 12:17 PM
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OMG, someone responded to one of my reviews. The end times are obviously near....

Believe me, I know the feeling. Glad to be of service.

The present inhabitants of the avsforum seem to only care about zombies and blow 'em up real good sort ot stuff. I miss the old days/daze.

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post #5 of 13 Old 11-08-2012, 01:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaded Dogfood View Post

The present inhabitants of the avsforum seem to only care about zombies and blow 'em up real good sort ot stuff. I miss the old days/daze.

+1

Just look at the titles of the threads in this neck of the woods - very little about specific movies. This has been ongoing for several years. Maybe the advent of BD has sent them to that part of AVS Forum. lwright84 took it upon himself to post a lot of trailers but, for whatever reason, he has disappeared.
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post #6 of 13 Old 11-08-2012, 05:38 PM
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What a bizarre film. Years back I did see Barcelona and Metropolitan, though I remember little of either other than I liked them. I read a review of this film, which got me interested in seeing it.

A hipster, ironic distancing film that is also warm and affectionate; it seems to take place in the late sixties but characters pull out what is obviously a DVD. It has no discernable plot. It has musical and dance numbers that are spellbindingly awful yet irresistable. The making-of short demonstrates that everything in it is carefully thought out and meticulously acted. It makes me wonder if I should blind buy The Last Days of DIsco at the B&N criterion sale. And I suspect I need to watch it again like Dean did, but I am torn between watching it with and without the commentary.

Oh. Loved the "Roman Holidays".

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post #7 of 13 Old 11-08-2012, 07:20 PM - Thread Starter
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To me, Barcelona is definitely his best work. Metropolitan is good, but heavily embedded in New York Debutante type society and a bit stilted, and probably a stretch for a lot of folks. The Last Days of Disco is good as well, and with much more humor, and you get to see a very young Kate Beckinsale playing a nice Ice Queen part, and early Cloe.

I would put this one second after Barcelona, then LDoD, then Metropolitan, in my own personal ranking. Barcelona just has this super-dry but silly vibe to it; and, as with DiD, it always also has that sort of warm, gentle glow to it. Part of it is the music he selects, which is often very gentle music. The two lead characters make a really good odd couple pairing, the dialog is the best, and there again you get an early Mira Sorvino which is nice. I actually didn't realize that LDoD was made after Barcelona. I always thought it was the other way around.

Barcelona has these hilarious, deadpan lines like:

Marta: I don't go to bed with just anyone anymore. I have to be attracted to them sexually

or

Fred: You are far weirder than someone merely into S&M. At least they have a tradition. We have some idea what S&M is about. There's movies and books about it. But so far as I know, there is nothing to explain the way you are.


And my favorite exchange:

Fred: Maybe you can clarify something for me. Since I've been, you know, waiting for the fleet to show up, I've read a lot, and...
Ted: Really?
Fred: And one of the things that keeps popping up is this about "subtext." Plays, novels, songs - they all have a "subtext," which I take to mean a hidden message or import of some kind. So subtext we know. But what do you call the message or meaning that's right there on the surface, completely open and obvious? They never talk about that. What do you call what's above the subtext?
Ted: The text.
Fred: OK, that's right, but they never talk about that.

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post #8 of 13 Old 11-09-2012, 12:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Interestingly, I guess because I'd mentioned her in this thread, I had a very interesting 'social interaction' with Kate Beckinsale in my dreams last night. Not sure why, since she's not someone I particularly lust over, but it was a nice dream nonetheless.

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post #9 of 13 Old 11-09-2012, 01:09 PM
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In the middle of the commentary now. The film was remarkably low-budget and shot out of sequence, and caused various (not insurmountable) problems with continuity and editing. All the young ladies show themselves in the commentary to be very smart cookies, too.

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post #10 of 13 Old 11-09-2012, 01:24 PM - Thread Starter
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I guess you sort of have to assume that a movie like this gets made on almost nothing (by commercial movies standards) or not at all.

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post #11 of 13 Old 11-09-2012, 02:02 PM
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It's interesting just what "college' this was filmed at:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snug_Harbor_Cultural_Center

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post #12 of 13 Old 11-11-2012, 10:04 AM
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Finished watching the film, sans commentary, for the second time, and time to send it back. Think I'll try to get the soundtrack next.

WARNING: certainly not a blind buy for anyone that thinks they may have an interest.

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post #13 of 13 Old 11-12-2012, 08:18 AM
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Many cute moments but the ending left me hanging, not necessarily for more, and not in a good way.

 

Are Greta Gerwig and Romola Garai twins?



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