Thursday, June 14, 2012

Wish I Was A Little Bit Cooler


BuzzFeed just posted 20 Set Photos That Will Change How You See These Films. Assuming I’m a part of the universal “You” in that sentence—no, no they won't. Not only did I know James Earl Jones wasn’t Mark Hamill’s father, but I also knew Luke Skywalker wouldn’t actually die if he “fell to his death”. I was also pretty sure the Imperial Snow Walkers that attacked the Rebel hideout in Hoth were not 50 stories high; and when Han Solo said, “that’s no moon” in reference to the Death Star, it was a part of both the fiction and the reality. It wasn’t a moon it was a space station. But it wasn’t a space station either—it was a toy.

That’s what movies are all about, really, or at least a lot of the films I really enjoy—watching other people activate toys without putting their own hands in the shot. Suspension of disbelief, I think it’s called. It’s why, even now, Jurassic Park comes on TNT and I’m all, “RAD! T-REX!”

If you really want to change how I see a film, find a photo of Wes Anderson with the RZA.

I imagine that if you posed the who’s your favorite director question to the Occupy Movement, Wes Anderson would take the majority vote, which is funny to me, because the bulk of his characters are the 1%, even as his shtick is aimed at the 99.

I'm gonna need a little more pucker. 
Yesterday I had this conversation with one of my closest friends, a big Anderson fan and supremely intelligent woman who can’t wait to see Anderson’s new film Moonrise Kingdom. Part of my anti-Anderson rant is that he hits the same note over and over. Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums are quirky white Republicans.  Bottle Rocket bores the piss out of me. I refuse to watch The Darjeeling Limited because I’m familiar with Orientalism and don’t care to see it enacted by a Wilson brother. I don’t care to see anything practiced by a Wilson brother.

It’s not a lack of diversity that bothers me, it’s that his films seem so far removed from any consideration that the word “diversity” exists; so embedded in a picture of white wealth that all my rural, blue-collar hairs go to a’curlin’ somethin’ fierce. My friend ignores these things, and chooses to concentrate on the beauty, the transformations of dialogue and character, and how much detail is rendered within the worlds Anderson creates. Totally fair. She likes the shtick. I’m the same way with many film-related things—Denzel Washington, terrible apocalypse movies, Kevin Costner, aliens, dinosaurs, Rambo, sports films, Meryl Streep, and the RZA.

I must admit that I adore The Life Aquatic, as well as its animated off-shoot, The Fantastic Mr. Fox. Gems, those two. I think my affection stems from those films being so imaginary, so completely fictional and wild that I buy the characters, I am sympathetic to them. And when one of the sets on those films is beautifully whimsical I’m sold because it should be.

But I quickly tire of wealthy white whimsy. Seems like whimsy in absence of any functional existence is whimsy made too easy. Anderson’s films are gorgeous to look at, and really smart. There are hilarious lines, and Bill Murray is the only person in Hollywood who I would allow to babysit my children if I had any.

My youth
There is a distinct possibility that I am the problem. I’m not quirky or terribly interesting. I was never into finger painting or crafting or The Pogues. I get very excited about monster trucks. My wardrobe is atrocious. Need some Motley Crue lyrics? Got'em. My parents have been married 43 years and are still very in love and are wonderful and so my “issue” ratio isn’t very high. My father’s favorite movie is Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and mom’s fave is Steel Magnolias—not exactly sanctuaries of diversity.

Which means I should dig Anderson, right? 

My friend tells me, just now, that it’s hip to hate Anderson these days. I’m the farthest thing from hip. There’s hip, then there’s me. I’ve always felt this way about his films. And things will stay this way, provided Hollywood continues to supply  me with aliens merc-ing the crushingly attractive, and masked men with garden tools keep chasing the innocent, wishing only to update their collection of skin jackets. 

1 comment:

  1. The diversity comment always comes up in sentences with Anderson. In fact, you can Google "stuff white people like," and he's #10 on the list. While you're at it, go ahead and Google "Wes Anderson sucks." No shortage of backing. And yes, you're nailing all of that in here, and as always, you are funny and self-depricating and my favorite.

    Why I like Anderson as much as I do has something to do with the stuff you give me credit for in here--it's aesthetically beautiful, the character arcs are solid, some of the dialogue is just stunning--but I think my real love of his films has something to do with deficiency on my part--the Goth girl in me that will never die. I still like Sisters of Mercy and Sylvia Plath and black is my favorite color. Anderson hits that same nerve for me--that resonating bell of ennui that I find really fun to indulge because it is otherwise unfashionable for a gal in her 30s to do so.

    You should see Darjeeling just for some of the funny, lines like "These Germans are bothering me." In a world in which so much does blow up and the scripts are overwritten and melodramatic, I like the subtlety. That said, if I were on an island and could only bring either Royal Tennenbaums or Roadhouse, I'd go Swayze.