These days, I'm feeling guiltier than usual about one of my all-time guilty pleasures. The movie is Mark Christopher's 54, which is back from the dead via a bootleg director's cut that screened below the radar at Outfest a couple weeks back (GOOD NEWS: Landmark will revive it for two more screenings later this month, tentatively midnight on Aug. 15 and 16 in NYC at the Sunshine Cinema).
54, for those who don't remember, was Christopher's glittery not-quite-cautionary tale of Gotham club life. When the film came out in August '98, I was a junior in college, every bit as starry-eyed about the prospect of such a place as Studio 54 as Jersey-boy hero Ryan Phillippe was onscreen, so it didn't take much for me to fall into the film's glittery disco swoon (I moved to New York after graduating, so revisiting the film now puts me in Christopher's position, looking back with a sort of finger-wagging nostalgia).
Writing for my college paper, The Daily Texan, I gave 54 one of its only raves (its current Rotten Tomatoes score is a dismal 13%). My friends still tease me about it. But I'd read about Christopher's clash with the studio over which cut to release, had heard that Miramax was snipping a male-male kiss from the film, and I believed with my generous, closeted soul that a work of art was lurking somewhere on the editing room floor.
Now I know...