Saturday, May 4, 2019

Movie Review: "Studio 54" (2018)

Director: Matt Tyrnauer
Year: 2018
Rating: TV-MA
Running Time: 1 hour, 38 minutes

A look at the rise and fall of the famed Studio 54 and the people behind it that made it such a cultural phenomenon.

Studio 54 documentary movie still
"They were getting out, and they were going to do something big together." (Image Source)
New York's Studio 54 nightclub was only open for just 33 months, but its cultural influence survived long after the club closed its doors. Directed by Matt Tyrnauer, "Studio 54" (2018) takes a look at the famed, lavish nightclub/discotheque. Tyrnauer conducts interviews with club co-founder Ian Schrager, as well as others involved in running the club, and many people who frequented the establishment while it was operational. This documentary explores how this venue was a hot spot for celebrities and a bastion for freedom of expression and being yourself in an era when being homosexual or transgender was still very much a taboo.
Studio 54 2018 documentary movie still
"It was like the damned looking into paradise." (Image Source)
Celebrities, sex, drugs, disco, dance, and excess are the things most associated with Studio 54...well, that and its eventual legal troubles due to some unscrupulous practices by club owners Ian Schrager and Steve Rubell. For those who don't know that much about the club or its history, "Studio 54" (2018) will offer an open and insightful look at how it became the phenomenon it was with a reputation that has carried on for decades to come. For those who are familiar with the infamous nightclub, this film may not offer any additional insight other than what you already know, but it still provides a well-constructed deep-dive and some never before seen interview footage that is entertaining to watch. Much of the movie focuses on the freedoms that Studio 54 offered for the individuals who were otherwise forced to live closeted lifestyles. Going to the venue meant a possibility for people of the LGBTQIA+ community to be open about their sexuality and lifestyles, even for the few hours when the club was open each night. Tyrnauer explores how the club gave average people the chance to feel important while dancing next to famous celebrities who would frequent the club, including Michael Jackson, Tommy Hilfiger, Iman, Freddie Mercury, Richard Pryor, Cher, and Elton John. On the flip side, 54's massive, rapid rise in popularity and the very selective nature when letting people inside managed to make Ian Schrager and Steve Rubell a lot of enemies who held animosities. Speaking of the club's owners, this flick also tells where they came from and shows how two guys with no experience in the nightclub business managed to create this iconic establishment, as well as how they cut corners and amassed an influx of wealth that led to its downfall. Much like Icarus, Ian and Rubell flew too high and too close to the sun, and it was their mistakes that caused their short-lived empire to come crashing down.
Studio 54 movie 2018
"There's nothing that makes me happier than seeing people having a good time." (Image Source)
"Studio 54" (2018) proves that even in its short existence, this iconic club "upset the status quo" and left a lasting impression on pop culture history. It's a comprehensive, intriguing, and well-made film that we think is definitely worth watching.

My Rating: 7.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 7/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.9/10
RT Rating: 89%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!

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