The Corner

Whit Stillman & Random Trivia

The things you learn. Tapped’s Garance Franke-Ruta was the assistant wardrobe mistress in Whit Stillman’s Metropolitan. This isn’t quite up there with Derb’s appearance in Bruce Lee’s “Return of the Dragon” or the fact that Al Pacino was an office boy at Commentary. No, really, he was. But it’s still pretty good. Just to add to the glamor, I was in an opera with Luciano Pavarotti — yawn — but my brother was an extra in the Sbarro’s scene where the Fat Boy’s sing All You Can Eat in Krush Groove.

Anyway, I think I come down in the middle between her and Ross Douthat. Metropolitan isn’t ideologically conservative in any profound way, but it is of conservative temperament. It treats a group universally despised by leftist culture — elitist New York WASPS — and treats them lovingly and satirically at the same time. One should at least remember that treating rich WASPs as human beings was mildly rebellious in a conservative sort of way when the film was made (and would still be today). Also, one point that I think Franke-Ruta leaves unmentioned is the simple fact that Stillman is a conservative by affiliation. When Metropolitan came out, a lot of conservatives took pride that a conservative affiliated with the American Spectator could even get a film made. It may be small beer, but it was a triumph in the eyes of many young conservatives.

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