Take Dead Aim

Last week, Slate.com (I actually just mistyped it as Stale.com) went after Wes. Slate had both a negative review and a piece attacking Wes for being racist.

Glenn Kenny takes dead aim:

“Because the e-zine Slate is all about kicking things up a notch in the “contrarianism” department, it was not content to post Dana Stevens’ entirely predictable (the word “twee” is used) pan of The Darjeeling Limited last week. (Stevens’ point, a hardly original one, is that Wes Anderson needs to start making movies that are less like Wes Anderson movies.) It went for a one-two combo, with Jonah Weiner’s “Unbearable Whiteness” intended as the knockout punch.

Weiner doesn’t come out and call Anderson a racist, but the piece’s rhetoric does play to the very special, considered self-righteousness of its ideal reader. “That queasy feeling you get when watching a Wes Anderson movie” reads the subhead. Oh yes, I wondered about that. Please do tell from whence it stems, Jonah Weiner.”

If Jonah Weiner finds Wes’ films so offensive, I wonder what he thinks of his Slate colleague Christopher Hitchens, and his culturally sensitive piece, “Why Women Aren’t Funny.” If you’re looking to be outraged by insensitive material, I think you can find a better target than Wes Anderson whose filmography is unusually warm and generous in spirit.

Off the soapbox, and on to more good reviews, including Rolling Stone’s full review:

“The dumb rap against the gifted Wes Anderson is that his comedies (Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic) all hit on similar themes of broken dreams and shattered families. Damn him. And damn Hitchcock for his obsession with suspense. And what’s with Scorsese and violence? My point is, an artist can spend a satisfying lifetime developing personal themes and deepening their resonance. . .The magically compelling Darjeeling Limited strikes me as the fullest blossoming yet of Anderson’s talents as a total filmmaker.” – Peter Travers

New City Chicago says Darjeeling is “the best thing he’s done since “Rushmore.”

More good box office news. In New York, Darjeeling actually came in second on the box office charts. Not just the per screen average, second overall.

The Los Angeles Times has a great interview with Jason Schwartzman:

“The “Darjeeling” shoot was an intimate one. Mornings, Wilson cooked Brody and Schwartzman oatmeal that he’d brought from L.A. Then they each donned their suits, fixed their own hair and makeup and by 7, they were jumping on a train which became their traveling set. For about 14 hours each weekday, everyone packed into those tiny compartments. “You have no place to hide,” said Schwartzman. “And I think that really helped. We really were forced to be there for each other.”

Mark Reviews Movies on Darjeeling:

“Anderson back in fine form. . .What I most admire about Anderson is his confidence in laying all his cards on the table. His neo-New Wave style is and makes us conscious of technique, but when he’s on, Anderson balances the artifice with the affecting in a way that somewhat blindsides us with its sincerity. The balance of The Darjeeling Limited is weighted just right.”

EW.COM interview with Anderson, Murray, Schwartzman, Brody, and Waris Ahluwalia

Another fine Schwartzman interview

Interview with Wes about Darjeeling, Aquatic, and The Fantastic Mr. Fox.

Nervous Wes at the Fest

2 Replies to “Take Dead Aim”

  1. take dead aim on the rich boys…..

    yeah, I read this article on MSNBC by some daft writer saying he thought Wes’ films were racist and that he must have had some traumatic experience to make the same films over and over again. those people have a thing called, small mindedness.

  2. I just saw for the first time Rushmore and Royal T., then went looking at reviews for this new movie, saw this piece. While I think the article went a bit too far in accusing Anderson of racism, it did raise some valid points and some curiosity.

    For example, those of us who live outside of big multi-cultural cities really do have to admit that varies ethnic groups live on the fringe of our suburban lives, just as they do in Anderson’s films. He is from a big urban area, so it really could be that he perceives and portrays this accurately from his point of view. But that accuracy is completely different from racism.

    Then I learned that he had a close childhood friend who is Indian. That changes the mix, and makes me curious.

    I’d be very interested to hear what Indian-Americans and others think of the article.

    In my humble opinion, the fact that the article and the movies make any of us pause to consider this entire notion is a good thing; if we thoughtfully discuss the issue raised, all the better.

    I’d especially like to hear more from Anderson–and his childhood friend.

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