On Wes Anderson, Pt. 7

 

     Sadly, this will be the last installment of the Wes Anderson series. I finished the book! The last interview was on Anderson's second to most recent film, Moonrise Kingdom. He has since made The Grand Budapest Hotel, but that was after the publication of this book. Don't worry, the same author created a similar book, focusing only on TGBH, and I've definitely got my eye on it, and not just because it's pink. Another book for another time.

     On completion of the interview involving Moonrise Kingdom, I immediately watched the film, it being the only Wes Anderson film available on Netflix. It's one of my top three favorites of the Anderson saga, and it's the only one I've seen in theaters. The film centers around two adolescents that are essentially the epitome of adolescent. One, a young and tough boy from the foster system. The other, your not so typical pretty girl with behavioral issues. They aren't copies of each other, but their own personal problems and general attitude towards life mesh well. They're both a little crazy, but I'd say they're still realistic. Anderson was intentional with his casting choice, as usual. He picked unknowns and their greenness brings something vulnerable to their characters, more so than it would with established young actors. Teen actors can be a little over-confident if they are quasi-famous, because they're teenagers. It's what they do. Wes talks about the kids with admiration though, and that admiration shows in the direction of the film. The camera loves them and their story.

     The story itself is complex in every way, just as with most of Anderson's other films. The character ties, plot, and set all revolve around each other. In a way, Anderson's movies act as solar systems. There's a method to the madness, and each factor has it's own orbit. The intertwining relationships and personalities between the adults and children are in typical Anderson fashion, but I'll never tire of it. All of the characters are still strange enough to be exciting. Their own personal plots come together, and center around one issue: the runaway teens. The island is their playground, and they use it's isolation and relatively primitive way of life to make a go at running away to be together. They don't succeed at the running away part, but like most youth, they get what they want.

     I thoroughly enjoyed reading these interviews and revisiting all of Wes's films. I hope to find something similar to continue this kind of series with. I love movies and books, so I'm sure something will turn up eventually. Until then, thanks for reading and have an excellent Wednesday!

On Wes Anderson, Pt. 6

 

      Fantastic Mr. Fox is a truly beautiful movie. That's the biggest point I want to make in this discussion. The artistry that went into Wes Anderson's first animated film is mind-boggling. It's "claymation" in a nearly perfect form. The best thing about claymation is that every character, set, and minute detail is all handmade. It's one of the last art forms that isn't digital, and in a world of CGI, that is as refreshing as it gets. I've always found irony in the way people, myself included, appreciate the classic techniques of those various art forms. Patrons nowadays think it's so amazing when things are done well not on a computer, and in reality that's the way art was originally intended. Not that digital and graphic art can't be beautiful, or considered art, it's just not the OG way, so to speak.

     This is the reason Anderson chose claymation for his form of animation. Like all of Wes' films, this movie had to feel intentional and detailed, and claymation was the best way to achieve that. Every last component, down to the real animal fur used for the animals, is authentic. The things most directors would find mundane or unnecessary to pay attention to, Anderson enhances. All of those elements add up and round out Anderson's vision, just as they do in his other films. They typically aren't things anyone would even notice, but they contribute something none the less.

    "Mr. Fox" is considered one of Anderson's most mainstream movies, specifically because it's animated and could be considered a children's movie, although adults are capable of enjoying it as well. Another factor of it's popularity is that it's based on the novel by Roald Dahl, the beloved weirdo. Lastly, Anderson chose some big names for his characters voices, including George Clooney and Meryl Streep. Both were excellent choices, in my opinion, considering their unique and pleasing speaking voices. Wes keeps the film true to his own style though, by adding in his personal details discussed above, which are always my personal favorite parts of his movies. It's the little things, no? That being said, those details are what make his movies beautiful, and Fantastic Mr. Fox is no exception. Thanks for reading, and have a great weekend!

On Wes Anderson, Pt. 3

 

     Hi guys! We are finally to my favorite Wes Anderson film, The Royal Tenenbaums. For me, this was the first true Wes Anderson - style movie. It was the initial film that really showed off the grandeur and possibilities that Wes could create. In a way, it was the first time he gave the viewers a glimpse of his potential. For being 15 years old, the movie is stylistically on point for what styles are popular now. Every detail is some how on trend for my generation, and I'm slowly starting to realize that it's because of the movie itself. It was the influence that was so large it's carried on for most of my life.

     I think that, as with most of Wes's films, the devil is in the details. They are what makes each movie special and unique. As I said, in my opinion, this is the first film that he really flexes that muscle, in a way. In the interview by Matt Zoller Seitz, it becomes apparent that Wes truly created every little thing in the movie, from the Zebra wallpaper in Margot's bedroom to every fake book by Eli Cash, just for the concept he wanted each scene to depict. As with anything that stands out stylistically, it takes a lot of work just to make things people won't even focus on but eventually add up to create the look you want. It's the excess in Wes's movies that make them so visually appealing, from The Royal Tenenebaums on.

      The casting for this movie was also excessive, in that there were so many high profile actors. Granted, the Wilson brothers were just starting to reach their now well known level of fame, and Gwyneth Paltrow was on her way to her starlet level status in the film industry. However, it's not the young actors that give the film the weight it needs, it's the classic stars that are Angelica Huston, Bill Murray, Gene Hackman, and Danny Glover, that really give the movie the vibe it needs. Wes refers to the challenges that come with this many celebrities working on one film, the biggest being scheduling. It doesn't show though, in the film. It never feels dismembered by different people being able to film at different times. It all works and flows as it should, as any good movie does.

     I could go on forever about this movie, but I'll stop here before we have the longest blog post ever on our hands. I hope everyone has a great week, and maybe works a little movie watching into their schedules!

On Wes Anderson, Pt. 2

 

     Hi guys! What a beautiful day to discuss Rushmore (it's 60 degrees in February)! Rushmore was Wes Andersons second film, and his first including legend and favorite Bill Murray. According to the interview, Murray did the film for practically nothing, just because he believed in it. This speaks volumes to Murray's already well known character. This is also the first of Wes's films where he builds a part of the set, which are one of the best things about Wes's films, in my opinion. However, most of the movie is filmed in one of two preexisting high schools. Anderson has a connection to both, he attended one and his father attended the second school they shot at. Rushmore was also the first time Anderson cast Jason Schwartzman, and like Murray, it is not the last time either. Schwartzman is the lead in this film though, and he seems to fit the part perfectly. That's how the casting always appears in Wes's movies, he really nails down the ideal people to play his characters. 

     I've always thought this is the most realistic out of Anderson's films, to date. Of course, anything can happen (except for a dressed and talking family of foxes, to my dismay). Even a beautifully pink hotel that is involved in a murder mystery is plausible in some parts of the world. Rushmore though, is the most relatable. We all know at least one over-achiever. Although, maybe not one quite so involved in school clubs as Max. I don't think my high school even offered that many clubs. It's something we can easily imagine and is very believable. I'm not sure Wes really thought it mattered that Max was relatable though, I think he cared more about getting the idea through that those achievements didn't amount to anything, considering Max is still a failure. In the end though, Max finally triumphs with his play, and delivers the message that people should really only do what they're passionate about. 

     We should also address that this is the second film that Wes and Owen Wilson wrote together. I had never noticed before that Wilson had actually written these movies with Wes. I just thought he was a favorite to cast. Now that I know though, I think you can notice a difference in the ones written with and without Wilson. The later ones written without Owen, Moonrise Kingdom/Fantastic Mr. Fox/Grand Budapest Hotel to name a few, show off Anderson's personal style more. Of course, at that point, Wes had refined his vision even more, but I think those are just better. They're more visual, and as a visual learner and overall person, I can't think of anything more exciting. I can't wait to keep getting more into these interviews for each movie! Stay tuned next month for a recap on The Royal Tenebaums!