Sunday, March 11, 2012

Why Whit Stillman is the Real Gossip Girl

Art work from Whit Stillman's film Metropolitan
In case you aren't familiar with filmmaker Whit Stillman, I'll catch you up. Though I still am not fully educated in the works of J. Whitney "Whit" Stillman, the best way to describe him is 40% Woody Allen 31% Wes Anderson and 16.2% Gossip Girl.
Whit Stillman

Basically he likes to write about preppy, upper class white kids. He makes fun of them while at the same time compliments their language, style and basic way of living by showing it in this fascinating way. And who better to do this then a Harvard grad and native New Yorker.
Gossip Girl

Seriously, before "Hey Upper East Siders" there was the "urban haute bourgeoise" or UHB, a term coined by one of the characters in his 1990 film Metropolitan. He financed the film himself (and with some help from his mom and a few friends. It is about Princetonian Tom Townsend's introduction to the "Sally Fowler Rat Pack," a group of preppy Upper East Siders making the cotillion rounds on their winter break. So pretty much Gossip Girl but with actual clever dialogue. The film earned him an Academy Award nomination but it was his 1994 film Barcelona that solidified his career. Then came The Last Days of Disco which was also a highly regarded hit. It makes multiple references to his first two films. I can't do them justice in description so watch the trailers and you will get an idea. As Town & Country writer Hudson Morgan wrote, "All his movies go deep on love, life and breeding but each them does it in what you might call perfect iambic preptameter."

And now after a 14 year break he is finally back with Damsels in Distress. This one is a bit more whimsical  than the others but the "preptameter" looks to be in full force. The cast is excellent (they are on the cover of Town & Country this month) and includes Greta Gurwig (the Queen of Mumblecore), Aubrey Plaza, Analeigh Tipton (America's Next Top Model, Crazy, Stupid, Love), Megalyn Echikunwoke (90210) and Aubrey Plaza (Parks & Rec.) But don't worry there are a few boys in there too like Adam Brody and The Office's Zach Woods. It looks like quite a romp (with dance numbers and all.) I can't wait to see it. It comes out in April.
The damsels

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