Monday, July 30, 2007

A throw-down to Wes Anderson and his fans

Alyse asked reader Kingson what Wes Anderson "represents." He responds:

i could do a really good take down of him, but it's too hot in my room to think. in short, wes represents the fashionable caustic irony that is ruining america.

i can see his appeal to certain types - he describes his fans as "outsiders" and "misfits". his message is irresistible, i guess, to those who pride themselves on standing apart.

but there's no heart to his movies. it's all set pieces and synthetic awkwardness and idiosyncrasy and moments held for so long that they fall apart. his camera is mean. his movies pucker my soul.

Is that so, Kingson? Well, I just checked my Google Analytics: 58% of this blog's readers use Firefox as their Web browser, and Ann Arbor is their second most common city.

That sound you hear is people grinding their Rivers Cuomo eyeglass frames into knives.


Manfred Mansel said...

The style that Kingson complains of…“it's all set pieces and synthetic awkwardness and idiosyncrasy and moments held for so long that they fall apart. His camera is mean” is the larger part of what Wes takes from French New Wave directors…

A part of the experimental vision in this genre was to give the movie a previously taboo “real-life” feel (and put a heavy emphasis on it)…. “awkwardness”, “idiosyncrasy”, (an example would be “moments held for so long that they fall apart”), but to simultaneously blow open the conventional goal of seamless, clean, real-life-emulating camerawork with a “mean” camera (atypical editing, etc.).

Personally, I can’t get enough Nouvelle Vague, and I am more than happy to see Wes pay tribute/revive. Although, I guess that maybe I fall into the category of people who pride themselves on standing out… but I think that if Kingson ponders the effect on “standouts” on history, he may realize that they’re not that bad, and hell, maybe it IS something to be proud of (have any NON-standouts accomplished anything?). Maybe it’s not so awful to cater to them.

No heart? I don’t get that at all. I see a lot of emotion that we can empathize with here: family dysfunction, betrayal of friends, and plain old love, and that’s just in the Royal Tenenbaums. And I wouldn’t call Wes’s use of irony “caustic”; the worst adjective I could stamp him and his irony with is “trendy”. And while irony may not require that much thought, it’s a lot more than the average person manages to pull off on an average day (please refer to my blog on “Drinking Beer and Eating Bratwurst”, i.e. thoughtful Frenchies), and it can’t be bad to encourage people to stimulate a few neurons, can it? I hardly think it would ruin America.

Sorry I’m so "caustic"; it’s early and I haven’t had my coffee yet.

k said...

the truth is i am just bitter that i was not part of the cool club in high school and never got invited to the rich kid's duplex apartment to watch bottle rocket and smoke weed and drink his dad's madeira and have casual sex while listening to, oh, i don't know, the hives, fifty floors above central park.

Manfred Mansel said...

hahaha, me too. i was busy sticking my toes in the dirt on the wrong side of the expressway. i make up for it now by watching nouvelle vague.

Manfred Mansel said...

and by making really long comments on donn's blog

i am northwestern said...

i was going to laugh at the post, but now i'm laughing at alyse's comments instead. hi alyse. - kiran

Manfred Mansel said...

jesus, kiran, WHERE'S YOUR BLOG?!?!1
also, hi!

kingson said...

1. sartorialist is required reading

2. full rss feed! go big or go home.

3. a reponse re wes anderson, in verse:

Wes indicates a larger issue. (his crooked compatriots: McSweeneys, John Hodgman, Demetri Martin, etcccc). bunch of would-be ultrawits aping each other. it's a discomfort parade, a race to the bottom. his movies are filled with shoebox dioramas, not scenes. so precious, so effortfully eclectic. vain, self-regarding, calibrated. see him straining, straining, for The Cool. character needs pizzazz? how about a funny haircut and retro socks. transparent and false. don't denigrate le nouvelle vague with a comparison to this guy. jules et jim tres cool, royal tenenbaums tres drool. more apt comparison: lost in translation. sofia coppola and wes anderson are attempting the same thing; she gets it right, he, wrong.