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Be Stillman, My Heart

The Cosmopolitans Movie HD Wallpaper

Metropolitan : The Cosmopolitans :: Fargo (film): Fargo (TV series)

The biggest shift (besides the move to Paris) is the splitting of Nick Smith into two characters: Jimmy (in the tan coat) provides the knowing charisma, while Sandro (sans coat) provides the raffish behavior. Hal, on the left there, is the new Tom Townsend, and Aubrey is, of course, the new Audrey. There’s even a new Rick Von Sloneker, though he’s much shorter this time.

It’s still delightful, but it’s much more familiar-feeling than, say, Damsels in Distress (which I need to re-watch). What remains to be seen if whether it can make interesting use of the new format the way Fargo the TV series did.


  1. Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says

    Alternate headline: ‘Recalls the Best of Whit Stillman’.

    Watched it. Liked it. Filled out the survey and told Amazon I wanted more.

    Your mapping of Metropolitan-to-Cosmopolitans character correspondences is astute. The pilot struck me as not just a variation on Metropolitan, but an epitome of Stillman’s movies to date: You have character types from Metropolitan, as you’ve noted; the American expat romantic restarts from Barcelona; the early-career and new-city travails of recent college grads from Last Days of Disco; and an expansion of the scope of comic sensibility from ‘cleverness’ to include ‘jokiness’ — plus, of course, the Sambola dance craze — from Damsels in Distress.

    Question for the group: What’s your favorite of Whit Stillman’s works up to now? Mine is Barcelona, followed by Metropolitan, with Last Days of Disco close behind, and Damsels in Distress a distant but not despised last. I haven’t read the novelization of Last Days of Disco, but hope to.

  2. Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says

    ELIZABETH JANE HOWARD: […] [Y]ou said something about a novelist only inventing very few characters, and I wondered whether they were aspects of oneself, in a sense, however much translated, and therefore there was a full stop to how much of this one could do because one can’t see very much of oneself.

    EVELYN WAUGH: What I think is true is, there are only a very limited number of characters in the world, certainly only a very limited number that one man can cope with. And in the greatest novelists you find the same characters turning up again with different names. Plus there are very few faces in the world, very few stories in the world.

    EJH: What would you advise young novelists to do about that?

    EW: Well, the great thing is ‘Never kill your characters’. That’s where someone like P.G.Wodehouse has been so brilliant. He has a limited number of characters, and he’s now, what, over eighty and still producing work as clever and fresh as he was doing sixty years ago.

    EJH: They come in handy, they go on.

    EW: Because he knows his scope – never kills them off. And there’s the awful temptation that a novelist has when he gets towards the last chapter, of thinking, ‘Well, finished with them, off with their heads’ – kill them off, throw one over a precipice, have a motor-car accident, do anything – just get rid of them. Then he finds, he writes his next novel, he can’t think of anybody else to write about, so he has to produce these same people with different names and different circumstances.

    — Evelyn Waugh, interview by Elizabeth Jane Howard, Monitor, BBC TV, 16 February 1964; partial transcript available at

  3. Jonathan Webb says

    It seems like if you have a great character, the story tells itself.

    Looks like a good show, hope it continues because I like the director. Thanks for bringing up Barcelona with a recommendation. I need to check it out again.

    Metropolitan was fantastic, Last Days of Disco was really good. Chloe What’s Her Name was pretty attractive in that movie. And Scrooge McDuck is sexy as I recall.

  4. So…about G/KS16….


  5. I think Stillman got better as he went along, at least so far as the first three movies go. I haven’t seen Damsels yet. Two things in particular about Last Days of Disco stand out for me: Eigman’s monologue in the back of the taxi on the way to the airport, and of course that ending on the subway is for the ages.

    • Matthew Lickona says

      Deeper, I’ll give you, but better — better is tough. With Metropolitan, you get the feeling of discovery, of a person not knowing what he can and can’t do and succeeding brilliantly because of it. But then, it was a discovery for me as well, sitting alone in Cinemopolis below the Ithaca Commons, hearing the syntax in my head being spoken aloud…

  6. And Kate was never more beckoning.

  7. Quin Finnegan says

    DES McGRATH: “Do you know that Shakespearean admonition ‘To thine own self be true’? It’s premised on the idea that ‘thine own self’ is pretty good, being true to which is commendable. What if ‘thine own self’ is not so good? What if it’s pretty bad? Would it better, in that case. not to be true to ‘thine own self’? See? That’s my situation.”

    • Matthew Lickona says

      Fred: And one of the things that keeps popping up is 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.

  8. Jonathan Webb says

    Great comments. Thanks.

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