***In the first of an occasional series, RBT’s contributors explain why they hate cinematic icons, beloved to the rest of us. First up is Tom A on Wes Anderson…***
First off, I just want to say that, as weird as it sounds, I want to like Wes Anderson. He’s everything I should like in a director: he’s visually stylish, he attracts great acting talent, has great taste in music, and he’s a genuinely original voice in film today. I should like him, but I just… don’t. With his outsider-sympathy, quirky, out of time characters, and droll scripts, that he is virtually scientifically-engineered to appeal directly to a specific strata of society, who doubtless model their life on his autumnal-hued, corduroy-textured, 60s British-Invasion-themed aesthetic. His devotees are so numerous that they have a name.
I am no Wesbian.
I sort of like Rushmore, but if anything, the carefully ordered world his movies inhabit, with its deliberate prissyness just rubs me the wrong way. It’s all so about the aesthetic that it feels like nothing spontaneous is ever likely to happen. But also, what’s up with the pacing of his films? I love a slow-burn, quiet film, but his films just seem to have climaxes that come out of nowhere, and endless builds that result in no pay-off. So much stuff happens to Jason Schwartzman’s character in Rushmore, that I completely lost track of his life by the end of the film.
Watching his films is like being in an immaculately-clean, but retro-styled house that is so artfully laid out, so delicately composed that you daren’t touch a thing. In fact, you just sit on the sofa (without-god forbid-putting all your weight on it), praying that you wiped your feet properly on your entry. It’s so bad, in fact, that you wish you actually did step in something on your way over, just so that something would happen that doesn’t obey his stringent aesthetic policy so precisely.
His characters, with their studied intellectual eclecticism, and penchant for unusual interests begin to nauseate with their incessant posturing. His taste in music, while good, is shoved down your throat so hard that it comes out of your rectum, and don’t even get me started on The Darjeeling Limited.
I can sort of see why people would like him, there’s a lot to admire, for sure. But I just can’t get past his pretentiousness (and boy, do I ever like some pretentious filmmakers; Terrence Malick, anyone?). You know what, though, I am glad he exists, I’m glad that there is such a distinctive voice out there, making films. I am also glad, however, that I won’t have to see another one of his films again.
Wes Anderson: I. Just. Don’t. Get. It.