Archive | June, 2012

Thank You Wes Anderson for Reminding Me I’m Not Tired of You

25 Jun

By Michael Mason (@ATXMichaelMason)
Contributing Writer/ Guest Columnist

I walked into Moonrise Kingdom kind of with the belief that I was tired of that “Wes Anderson thing.”  You know what I mean.  The quirky teenager.  The awkward close-ups of the awkward stares.  The weird nostalgic clothing.  The dryness.  The mustaches.  You know.  Hipster porn.

So, why did I go see the damn movie?  And why was I excited to see it?  Well, for starters, I’m a true movie fan and I’ll see anything that is regarded highly enough.  How many good quality films are we getting at this time on the calendar anyway?  But I’m a Wes Anderson fan, too.  Despite the fact that I thought I was over his whole shtick.  I loved The Royal Tenenbaums, (the consensus best Anderson film), Rushmore is my favorite of his and I also loved the underrated The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.

I thought Moonrise was downright amazing.  It’s funny.  It’s poignant.  It’s incredibly sweet.  In fact, it’s a kid’s movie.  Wasn’t expecting that.  Rated PG-13, this is a movie that actually is what most family films claim to be but almost never are-a movie that adults and kids TRULY can both enjoy.  I know I honestly would have loved it a kid.  The cast, naturally, is great.  Oddly enough, Bill Murray doesn’t steal the show; he’s actually kind of uncharacteristically blended into the background in this one.  It’s actually Bruce Willis that I felt stood out in probably my favorite performance of his to date.  Bottom line, I was entranced from the first impeccably framed moment of the picture and it never let me go.

So, this made me realize.  I wasn’t tired of the “Wes Anderson thing.”  It wasn’t some late 90s/early 2000’s trend that had run its course.  Good filmmaking isn’t a fad.  I was tired of the Wes Anderson rip-offs.  Submarine, Juno, Napoleon Dynamite, The Squid and the Whale, Garden State and on and on and on.  There’s been so many imitations that don’t hold up to the original the whole thing just wore me out.  For instance, take Juno, a movie I actually liked.  I thought overall it was really good storytelling with a great cast.  But the aesthetic was enough to make you sick.  The over-the-top nouveau Punky Brewster costume and the obnoxious “teenager” dialogue was…just…too…much.  Do people who hand out Best Screenplay Oscars for this stuff actually think this is what teenagers are like or is this just what they LIKE to remember they were as adolescents?  Seeing Moonrise just made me remember why all the wannabes are there-because the original was JUST SO GOOD.

With all this being said, I’m not sure he can do this “thing” forever.  There will have to be evolutions and variations in his style.  Regardless, today there is a brilliant movie called Moonrise Kingdom that I really loved.  And Wes, I’ll never doubt you again, buddy.


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