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2006-05-24 - 10:54 a.m.

I feel very strongly that people should start calling movies "talkies" again. Are you with me? Please, let's make this happen.

One talky I've been hearing good things about for the past 15 years or so is Metropolitan, and I finally saw it the other day.

Now, I thoroughly enjoyed Whit Stillman's next two films, and went in expecting good things. I was left with wildly mixed feelings.

The most obvious flaw, of course, is that the acting is wretched. It is almost fascinatingly bad: stilted, emotionally tone-deaf. The actors (who are, I believe, almost all first-timers) have some very tricky dialogue to wrangle, and it just doesn't fly.

The other major problem I have with it--and I am not proud of this--is, you know, I went to high school with these characters, and they sucked. And they still suck. And they always will. And though the film reveals them to be vulnerable and sensitive and complex, some raw teenage psychic wound bleeds anew when I am forced to watch them in their element.

But that is also why, conversely and perversely, I really liked watching. Because no one makes talkies about these people, and this film stands very much alone as its own thing.

And of course I love its sheer talkiness and love of ideas, and its unpredictable revelations and shadows and nuances. When a character convinces another to attend a snobby party by prodding, "Thorstein Veblen would want you to go," you know you aren't watching Laguna Beach.

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