What do we think about this movie, all these years after it was made?
I loved the book, but I never understood how it would work as a movie. It was a collection of short stories, the only common thread between them was Eleanor and her amusing downtown life, her low self esteem, and her asshole boyfriend.
What was the movie actually about? The downtown art world? Eleanor eventually finding her place in it?
Although I initially thought she was miscast, Bernadette Peters is actually quite good in the role. She has that weird, not-quite-pretty, not-quite-cool quirkiness that was right for the character.
I like the movie and own a DVD copy. I remember anticipating it so much when it came out because as a youngling longing to move to New York become an artist and die of a heroin overdose before 30 I loved the book.
In the end it has some good location shots, fun Sprouse fashion, but like the book, in hindsight, it's pretty crappy. But a much better New York than the one today.
I also credit Tama, Jay and Brent for opening me up to newer and better fiction of the era from the likes of Kathy Acker, Gary Indiana etc. and literary mags like Bomb etc.
I liked the book, but the movie didn't work at all, it's one of those Merchant/Ivory films that just doesn't make sense. They worked better in period. Their modern stuff always comes off slightly stilted.
One of the most excruciatingly boring films I've ever watched.
Now that we have hindsight on the era, it would be a good basis for a TV show about the 80s in NY, like Mad Men is for the 60s.
I thought at the time the film came out that Bernadette Peters was
Too old and kinda wrong for the part. I still think so.
This is kind of the great grandmother of Sex In The City and Girls.
The lead should have been played by a twenty something.
It has its moments, fun locations, Bernadette's hoopy, and the guy who plays Stash is hot.
I liked it. I've never understood why people seemed to sneer at it so much.
I lived in Downtown NY at the time and I think it caught the atmosphere and vibe pretty well.
I liked the book too and like quite a few of Tama's books, but she really should avoid occasions like this:-
See 3:27 @ linked clip
I like how the Sprouse-like character (played by Steve Buscemi) warms up to Eleanor, genuinely likes her and what she's doing, and encourages her. He helps her become empowered and find success. He's one the few nice characters in the movie.
Everyone else is a self-centered, vicious art snob.
"Bernadette Peters is actually quite good in the role. She has that weird, not-quite-pretty, not-quite-cool quirkiness that was right for the character."
But she was middle-aged, and the core of the story was about being YOUNG and artsy in NY! Seriously, youth is the only excuse for some things, like acting pretentious and irresponsible in the name of art. (The "Rent" movie made the same mistake, BTW)
Peters should have starred in an entirely different film, the one about how to cope when you're getting older and your career as an artsy New Yorker hasn't panned out, and you've got to figure out something else to do with your life.
I hated this film at the time. Loved the book and was so excited for the movie and was totally horrified. Merchant Ivory were so wrong for it. I had expected it to be made by some Jim Jarmush type and instead was made by a partnership more known for their period drama.
However that being said when i read this thread earlier I had a real notion to watch it again just for the new york location and the 80's vibe, thought i might be able to appreciate it in a train wreck sort of way. Unfortunately can't find a link anywhere online. So if anyone could oblige would be most grateful.
They should have given the lead to Patti LuPone
The film that caught the Zeitgeist of Downtown NY in the 80s was Liquid Sky.
Kind of a mess of a movie but the "Love is Like an Itching in My Heart" scene with the drag queens is wonderful.
Plus, I love the song sung by the actress who played Dixie on Pee Wee's Playhouse as she shaves her legs with a piece of celery. Anybody know if that song exists anywhere?
I preferred Party Girl, Desperately Seeking Susan, After Hours, Bright Lights Big City, any of those movies were superior to Slaves. Peters was totally wrong and too old for the role.
[quote]Damn I miss that time!!
Either not a gay man or you're totally deluded.
For an Italian she's quite pretty. She she get her nose done?
They used to let Bernadette Peters star in movies?
Peters was SO wrong for that part.
She spent the entire movie looking as confused and uninspired as she was in "Gypsy".
R14, I love that song, too. It's called "Say Hi," and Johann Carlo who wrote and performed it has posted it on Youtube.
So I ordered the Slaves DVD from Amazon a while ago and have been watching it a lot lately.
It's weird. It's disjointed, but so was the book. The casting was weird, but the performances were good. It could have been better if it was in the right hands. Merchant/Ivory are great, but downtown NY wasn't really their playing field. It should have been made by someone who was part of that world or who at least understood it.
Despite all that, what I value most about the film and why I think it's important is that it's like a time capsule. It portrays the 80s downtown creative and nightlife renaissance nicely, albeit artificially and fantasy-like. It shows a New York that doesn't exist anymore. A grittier, edgier, weirder place where anything was possible. A place where artists and dreamers could still afford to live and create.
While I hate that Eleanor is a whiny sap in an abusive relationship at the beginning of the film, I LOVE that she comes into her own at the end. She's no longer a slave. She's free. It's joyful to watch the transformation.
And that's what I think.
[quote] A grittier, edgier, weirder place where anything was possible. A place where artists and dreamers could still afford to live and create.
Except most of them were dying or their friends were dying HORRIFICALLY.
Were you there?
Sorry to shatter your illusions.
Here you go, OP...slip this in while you're dreamily watching Slaves Of New York back to back and dreaming about 'A place where artists and dreamers could still afford to live and create.'
" A place where artists and dreamers could still afford to live and create."
But they COULDN'T afford to live there, that was the point of the book! And movie. It was called "slaves" because even then, aspiring young artists basically had to prostitute themselves for a place to live.
[quote]Except most of them were dying or their friends were dying HORRIFICALLY.
I wouldn't say most of them were dying. You seem to be implying that everyone was dying of AIDS in the 80s. We know that's not true. Where were YOU?
I don't have any illusions and I know that AIDS was taking a horrifying toll in real life. But Slaves (which is what we're talking about here) isn't a documentary.
[quote]Were you there?
On the periphery. I went to some shows and hung around a bit, but I was too young and too shy to really be an active part of any of that. I was in college when the movie was being made. But I was certainly inspired and encouraged by that scene. It gave me hope that there was a place for me.
Bernadette is sweet playing Eleanor. I really like her in the movie all though she was too old for the part. I thought it strange that Merchant/Ivory couldn't find a decent young actress for the role. I think Rosanna Arquette, Sean Young or Nastassja Kinski could have good as Eleanor.
Best soundtrack ever!
" . . . I know, Honey! That's what makes him so DELICIOUS!"
Track 7 - "Girlfriend" (Boy George)
The part of Samantha came down between Susan Lucci and Mercedes Ruehl.
Mercedes clinched it because of her theater background.
I watch the film now and again. It has a laid back feel to it although it takes place on Mahattan. It has some misguided parts like the editing with two scenes shown at the same time. Those scenes were good but get lost as I can barely hear what's being said when the characters speak at the same time.
The documentary "The Nomi Song" gives glimpses of what it was like to live in NYC when young artists who didn't have trust funds could still find neighborhoods there to hang out in. And, yes, it deals with the HORRIFIC side head-on.
I remember seeing Slaves at the movies when it was released. With no advertising it attracted two people to the empty movie theater, me and somebody else. It got no press. It was as if no one wanted to write about it because of Tama's association with Andy Warhol.
[quote] It has some misguided parts like the editing with two scenes shown at the same time.
The split screen scenes were likely an homage to Andy Warhol, who purchased the rights for the movie just before he died. His executors, Vincent Fremont and Fred Hughes were executive producers.
I wonder what it would have been like if Warhol had been alive and made the film, or at least had more control over it.
I preferred the book to the film and also thought Peters was miscast. R13, I also enjoyed Liquid Sky and was lucky enough to see it in a double bill with Eraser Head. "Basquiat" is a movie I think did a good job in conveying the time/scene.
The negroman still bitching about how he hasn't made it. With Michael Jordan pulling in 90 million LAST YEAR ALONE, Oprah the wealthiest woman (non-royal) and a black president, they still bitch how bad they have it.
So give them an Oscar, like they did when Tom Hanks played the AIDS Infested homo, who set out to get an illness and cried when he did.
Hollywood and fags.
I will not watch this movie because of Bernadette Peters. I went to Los Angeles and bought tickets to see Bernadette play Annie in Annie Get Your Gun. Well, when I got there they said she had lost her voice. They had someone play Annie they said had been on the Young and the Restless, but I sure as hell didn't remember her. On top of that my son, Ty, was in a play where all the men were naked. The whole trip was a bust. My husband won't go back. Says LA's worse than Dallas.