@ Doctor -
“Just for fun, we could also ask what requirement exists for an artist to challenge himself in the first place,
and who says so.”
Well it’s a personal requirement that I have. If every movie is the same, why waste everyone’s time and money? Why not just make one movie and do something else with your life? If you only have one thing to say, why continue to shout it ad nausea from the rooftops? At some point, even the people who agree with you will become annoyed (hello Spike Lee and Oliver Stone).
Part of what I love about cinema is seeing a creative person push themselves. It’s why I have so much respect for risk-takers. Of course others can disagree and prefer safety as a valuable asset in cinema – it’s certainly what mainstream audiences prefer; but I’m just not that interested in that. Especially when it’s in regards to the kind of film that is based so strongly on being “fresh and original”. That’s part of the charm of Rushmore and Tenenbaums – that they were a breath of fresh air (and is why I said it probably helps if you had seen the films when they came out, before all the copycats). But once that element is removed, there’s gotta be something else. And for me, there hasn’t been much else, at least not in his last few films.
And I disagree that Anderson is smarter than most audiences. If he was, he would’ve been able to keep the legion of fans he once had (although to be fair, he still has a large fan base – just not necessarily from die hard cinephiles apparently).
DFFO: JC and WA both explore their preoccupations and obsessions in pictures that use strongly similar (often identical) methods and elements.
If one’s obsession with this approach constitutes a waste of talent, then so does the other’s.
Again, my point was that arbitrary critiques of Anderson yield similar results when applied to certain other directors.
Seymour Cassell was superb in RUSHMORE, by the way. Certainly not wasted, by any definition of the word.
Couldn’t we compare Anderson’s films to a favorite pizza place? We know the pizza is always going to be delicious when we go there but it does not take away the fact that it’s delicious…even if the recipe is the same.
The appeal is that we KNOW we are getting a great pizza. I know exactly what I’m getting from Anderson…..and I love every minute of it.
I agree with what John is saying, although I’m not sure there are a lot of people who would even argue that Wes Anderson films are deep (even amongst his fans). If that argument is being made, that his content is on the same level as Ozu or Cassavetes, well that’s just crazy talk. Anderson is pop silly fun. There’s nothing wrong with that but that’s the only enjoyment I get from his films.
The problem is that his pizza is stale and burnt.
And Lemonglow, the difference is that JC’s films were actually interesting and challenging and did not pin down and magically “Resolve” all of the films problems in one slow motion shot. See the ending of Faces and A Woman Under the Influence. Nothing is wrapped up, nothing is “fixed”. This leaves a lot for you to think about after the film has ended.
Anderson does not want you to think or feel anything he has not mapped out very very carefully.
^ Hmmm – well my critiques of Anderson are definitely not arbitrary. I really dislike his style to begin with – not just the fact that he repeats it. It acts all weighty, but there’s just nothing there. And not the monolithic nothingness that you can get from a Cassavetes film, but a cute, fluffy nothingness.
What other people are saying is that they liked his style to begin with, but he repeats the same thing but it just gets less and less interesting. IMO, Cassavetes still does similar stuff, but it’s always interesting to me. So, yeah, I guess that complaint is arbitrary in the sense that it’s mostly a personal preference.
But I have no problem with repetition to begin with. I really disliked the first Anderson film I saw without even knowing that all his other movies are really similar.
//The problem is that his pizza is stale and burnt.//
Not to the fans……hmmmm….can you taste it? ;)
That’s a good point. I like that!
Man, just thinking about the endings of Faces and A Woman Under the Influence gives me goosebumps!!
“Couldn’t we compare Anderson’s films to a favorite pizza place? We know the pizza is always going to be delicious when we go there but it does not take away the fact that it’s delicious…even if the recipe is the same.”
I think that’s an apt comparison. I’m certainly more comfortable comparing Wes Anderson to my favorite pizza parlor than I am comparing him to Cassavetes. haha.
The same can be said for Tim Burton. In fact, Burton’s career very much mirrors Wes Anderson. Great early films that hinted at a strong, exciting new voice in cinema with a keen eye for visuals followed by a sharp decline due to repetitive inertia. Of course you could say this about a lot of filmmakers but in this case, both of these guys have such a distinct style that the decline has felt that much more disappointing.
“The appeal is that we KNOW we are getting a great pizza. I know exactly what I’m getting from Anderson…..and I love every minute of it.”
I think this is true and why I mentioned mainstream audiences. Deviate from the norm and most people freak out (see DRIVE, THE AMERICAN, any other “arty” film that got mainstream acknowledgement). People like what they like and Anderson feeds them what they want. For me, I can relate to this. There are certain films that I just like, even if I know they’re not doing much for me. They’re called guilty pleasures. But I would never confuse a guilty pleasure with something that challenges/inspires/enlightens me.
I’m certainly more comfortable comparing Wes Anderson to my favorite pizza parlor than I am comparing him to Cassavetes
Why is it mandatory for serious cinephiles to like Ozu and Cassavetes anyway. I’ve never understood that mindset.
“But yeah, Anderson IS smarter than most of the audience. That’s why he’s making the movies and the audience is just chatting about them on the forum.”
Hahhah, I was trying to figure out why Lemonglow would like the quirkily contrived arsenic-laced tweeness of Anderson’s concoctions – his tastes usually run to the more macho, I thought, – but now it’s clear that they share the same self-regarding condescending smugness! :)
@ John Pastuch – very nicely said. Anyway, you just have to see how easily Anderson’s sensibility and aesthetic lend themselves to TV commercials. Wes is good at branding, I give him that.
^ But, isn’t that post a perfect example of “self-regarding condescending smugness”? Wow. just breathtaking.
Uh, no, it’s not. I have better examples of that. But why don’t you explain it to me, girlfriend? It’s actually the Wes Anderson fans who resort very quickly to ad hominems. It’s kinda pathetic.
Idk… I just like Cassavetes a lot. I haven’t seen any Ozus, though. Do you not like Cassavetes?
>>Why is it mandatory for serious cinephiles to like Ozu and Cassavetes anyway. I’ve never understood that mindset.<<
Love Ozu. Dislike Cassavetes. If I have to turn in my serious cinephile card, so be it. :)
Alright, mail it to me, Brad. I’ll PM you my address. :P
Pauline Kael wrote a piece on him as a director that was one of the few things I totally agree with her on.
Ari, your level of self-awareness is obviously dim, very dim.
^ What the hell are you talking about? Kael never wrote anything on Anderson. Or are you talking about Cassavettes/? Anyway, on Kael, Anderson has an awful condescending piece on her in which he screened Rushmore for her (when she was quite obviously sick). Smug bastard for that.
Ari, I was responding to DFFOO asking me if I like Cassavetes, and by the time I typed it two other posts had posted. yeah, I am aware of Anderson’s solicitous special screening in The Beskshires for her.
“Pauline Kael wrote a piece on him as a director that was one of the few things I totally agree with her on.”
And Cassavetes responded by throwing her shoes out of a moving car.
“Ari, your level of self-awareness is obviously dim, very dim.”
That’s a truly pathetic response, Girlfriend. I think someone needs to look in the mirror.
You keep using the word pathetic. Get a thesaurus, o non self-aware pot kettle black one.
Anybody have a link to Kael’s piece on Cassavetes? I want to know why Girlfriend doesn’t like him.
I just can’t imagine ever not liking Cassavetes!
I don’t think Mike Leigh likes Cassavetes.
I like him in Rosemary’s Baby and The Fury. and some old Alfred Hitchcock Hour with Gena I saw on Encore Suspense last month.
“you just have to see how easily Anderson’s sensibility and aesthetic lend themselves to TV commercials. Wes is good at branding, I give him that.”
Low blow . . . might as well suggest that Cassavettes’s sensibility and aesthetic “lend themselves” equally to “The Alfred Hitchcock Hour” and the exploding head scene in The Fury as they do to his work as a director.
“Why is it mandatory for serious cinephiles to like Ozu and Cassavetes anyway. I’ve never understood that mindset.”
I didn’t know that it was mandatory. I admit I’ve only seen a couple Ozu’s (loved Tokyo Story, was blah on Late Spring).
“Anyway, on Kael, Anderson has an awful condescending piece on her in which he screened Rushmore for her (when she was quite obviously sick).”
I would love to read that! Is it online?