At the heart of Wes Anderson’s self-conscious aesthetic is a curious sort of paradox: on the one hand, he’s a light dreamy enchanter, marshalling a cavalcade of nonstop whimsy and farce that, somehow, he has combined with the strict rigorous cineastic vision of an Antonioni, manifesting itself in muted performances, gruelingly controlled sets, and staging measured to within an inch of its life. I am reminded of a scene in Kubrick’s The Shining where I got so distracted by the amusing pictures of sexy, funky, afro-headed nudes hanging on Scatman Crothers’ walls that I couldn’t pay any attention to what he was seeing on television; at odds with their corny-sleazy purpose as characterization, the pictures seemed to have been arranged with the symmetry and calculation of a coy museum curator. It is a similar effect — art-gallery precision misapplied to screwball comedy — that Anderson makes deliberate use of as a subtle joke, a neurotic element of his humorous vision. In the decade since his reputation first erupted, his unique manner has infected movie comedies in a big way — just as Tim Burton’s style has become the gold standard for cute spookiness. You see it in movies like Election (1999); a beloved cult favorite like Napoleon Dynamite (2004); as well as in forgettable efforts like Running with Scissors (2006).
P.S. If you went this weekend, e-mail us your experience (edwardappleby @ yankeeracers.org, no spaces), and we may post it here!
News and Media Alerts
Owen Wilson made a surprise apperance at The Darjeeling Limited‘s Thursday premiere in Los Angeles (Reuters). Wes said, “He’s my best friend…. I’ve never made a movie without him and I hope to never have to.” Anjelica Huston apparently joked about having a crush on Owen, while Jason Schwartzman said, “Owen is doing very well and he is with us tonight, and I love him” (imdb). We do, too.
I met [Wes Anderson] at a peace rally through mutual friends four years ago. We became friends, saw each other at dinner, this and that. One day, he just asked me what I was doing for the second half of the year….
After Life Aquatic, the Sikh community reached out to me. They started writing, sending e-mails, just thanking me. What did I do? I worked for a friend. I’m not trying to be a role model. I wasn’t involved with my community that much, so it was a strange turnaround to go down to Capitol Hill to get awarded by Hillary Clinton for my positive portrayal of Sikhs in the media….
Wes treated the country beautifully, in terms of how he shot it. It’s earnest and honest. The films of Satyajit Ray are something that he loves. He got really into it. So why is it fetishistic in a bad way? We all fetishize things. Maybe he did….
He’s curious about cultures and experiences, and he was drawn in by those films he saw—the magic of them. Everyone has a tendency–not just this writer from Slate, god bless him—we look at everything through our own eyes. Sure, it could be construed as racist. I won’t argue with you there. You can look at anything out of context, and it’s going to be racist. I think there might be racist things in Spike’s movie, but I’m not sure. [laughs] Someone needed a good angle for their story. And that’s a good angle! I commend him on his story. These are good things to explore. That’s fine. It’s an opinion. But he’s talking about someone who I know and have spent a great deal of time with over five years—I know that’s not him.
(Editor’s note: We heart Waris. Isn’t this post turning into quite the love fest…?)
Box Office Mojo projects that The Darjeeling Limited will come in 24th at the box office this weekend — showing on only 19 theatres across North America and adding $553,000 to its total gross.