A couple of decades ago, I loved the Tom DiCillo movie Johnny Suede. I haven't seen it since, and recently watched it again. It's one of those time capsules of the early 90s urban lifestyle on the edge--the crappy apartments painted in peeling pastel pink and blue, filled with cast-off velvet furnishings and 1950s flea-market junk.
It stars a wee Brad Pitt with an unbelievably tall pompadour, and Catherine Keener still with a touch of baby fat. And it was filmed in Williamsburg, when it was a burnt-out wasteland of crumbling graffiti-covered buildings and weedy vacant lots.
In the book Breaking In, DiCillo said, "Originally, I was going to shoot the film in the East Village, because that was where the story had originated. But by that point the East Village was no longer the East Village I had known. It was now Starbucks, the Gap, and Banana Republic, so I had to come up with a fictionalized version of it in Williamsburg, Brooklyn."
Johnny calls a yuppie a "stupid fucking idiot."
At one point, Johnny sings a song that goes, "I wanna work in Midtown and wear a three-piece suit," because that was back when people talked about the yuppie lifestyle like it was different from the usual.
Tom DiCillo told Moviemaker: "We shot the film in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, which back in 1990 really was not a place anyone was too eager to build a Starbucks in. Two weeks into shooting the assistant director came running up and cried, 'Someone left the wardrobe van unattended and all the costumes have been stolen!'
A day later they found the guys who’d stolen them. My relief was brief—about five seconds actually. The police informed us that the thieves had apparently liked Johnny’s clothes so much they were not returning them. The cops advised us if we wanted to continue shooting in Williamsburg we should accept these 'terms.'"