Yes, this is another post about something fantastic the A.V. Club did, but it was too good not to share. The A.V. Club recently took a field trip to Houston and visited the school that stood in for Rushmore Academy, St. John’s School.
The video features shot-by-shot comparisons of campus then and now, excellent interviews with a current teacher at St. John’s who was a friend of Wes’s in high school and the owner of Rosemary Cross’s home, and, as a bonus, has shot of Wes’s yearbook from senior year.
The A.V. Club put together a fantastic supercut of seemingly all of the accessories in Wes’s first six films. Every belt buckle, pair of sunglasses, hat, and shoe (or paw) is represented in this three-minute film. It looks like a true labor of Wes Anderson-love, and that’s right up our alley.
What to expect: The latest Wes Anderson film abandons all pretense that that the writer-director might one day move on from Close ’N Play record players and transistor radios, and instead returns to Anderson’s motherland of the 1960s for a story about a boy scout and his girlfriend disappearing into the wilderness and alarming their New England island community. Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Frances McDormand, and Tilda Swinton join Anderson regulars Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman to tell the tale. Practical advice: Anderson is nothing if not a fetishist for plans and diagrams, so there’s a good chance that he and co-writer Roman Coppola will offer real tips on how to survive in the wild. Cause for irrational alarm: On the other hand, those tips will likely involve foodstuffs and gadgetry that are no longer being manufactured, and will require you to wear an easily identifiable article of clothing and walk in slow motion as a wispy old pop song plays. In other words: You might be stuck in the woods for a while
Read the full (baby manual inspired) list, assembled with the AV Club’s signature dash of droll wit, aqui.
The A.V. Club recently sat down with Olivia Williams for their great “Random Roles” feature, and one of the films they talked about was, of course, Rushmore.
An except is below, with more after the cut. Read the full article here.
Rushmore (1998)—“Rosemary Cross”
AVC: Wes Anderson was still somewhat of an unknown filmmaker then. What was it like working with him?
OW: I was still in my “do what you’re told” phase, which I’m still pretty well in. It’s served me pretty well. As an actor, you’re just taking temperature. I am anyway, all the time, and responding appropriately. Have you seen Bill Murray’s subsequent film, Lost In Translation? That was what it was like. I was again cast very last-minute and met Wes, this quite physically and socially awkward man who didn’t really talk to me much, a precocious and intelligent young boy. And Bill Murray. And we were sort of left in this bizarre hotel together and taken to strange locations around Houston. That was quite an isolating experience. Again, a lot of fun, but I didn’t really know what was going on. [Laughs.] Bill was incredibly charming and funny and nice, but we were all in a strange vacuum.
In an on-going series that takes a look at films from the past twenty-five years that have found their audiences in non-traditional routes, the A.V. Club‘s Scott Tobias has taken a look at Wes’ first film, Bottle Rocket.
We did it, though, didn’t we?” —Owen Wilson as Dignan, Bottle Rocket
Back when Fantastic Mr. Fox debuted a few months ago, the following thought occurred to me: “Wes Anderson is forever doomed to make Wes Anderson movies.” Here’s a director who did all he could to step outside his comfort zone, adapting someone else’s work for the first time—in this case, that of Roald Dahl, an author with his own singularity—and using stop-motion animation, a painstaking collaborative process that seems like it should suppress his auteurist instincts. Alas, Fantastic Mr. Fox is a Wes Anderson movie from frame one, because he found a way to square his sensibility with Dahl’s (or, as detractors might put it, “shoehorn it in”) and wrangle a team of animators into bringing his homemade, obsessively detailed Rankin-Bass universe to life. There are two ways to look at it: Anderson is either to be praised for his consistency of vision, or damned for painting himself into a stifling creative corner. This may explain why the maker of such gentle, eccentric, lovingly particular comedies remains one of the more polarizing directors in the business.
Read the full article at the A.V. Club, complete with clips from the film.
Wes Anderson’s lovingly hand-crafted, stop-motion adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr. Fox radiates pure joy. Taking its cues from George Clooney’s charming vocal performance as a dashing rogue of a fox who goes to war with a trio of nasty farmers after they destroy his family’s home and rob him of his tail, the film revels in language, music, dance, friendship, and family. It’s a film of dazzling verbosity and meticulous perfectionism, filled with loveable characters and quotable dialogue. Balancing its director’s trademark melancholy with irrepressible optimism, Anderson’s best film since The Royal Tenanbaums is nothing short of life-affirming.
This has been added to our on-going Top-Ten post. If you spot a top-ten list with Fantastic Mr. Fox in it, let us know.
Scott Tobias of The A.V. Club recently sat down with Wes to discuss working on Mr. Fox (of course) but also talked film. Very good interview, full version after the break.
Now six features into his career, director Wes Anderson has established himself as the most distinctive comedy auteur of his generation, with an instantly recognizable style that’s defined by crispy composed images, idiosyncratic pop soundtracks, and a tone that balances dry wit and deep melancholy. Though his debut feature, 1996’s Bottle Rocket, only drew a small coterie of followers—mostly on video, in the wake of his MTV Movie Award for Best New Filmmaker—Anderson raised his profile enormously with his 1998 follow-up Rushmore, which revived Bill Murray’s critical reputation and influenced a wave of indie films that followed. From there, Anderson and a rotating cast of players have continued to make new variations on his themes of family and outsidership, including 2001’s The Royal Tenenbaums, 2004’s The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou, and 2007’s The Darjeeling Limited.
Though adapted from a Roald Dahl book and shot using the painstaking stop-motion animation process, Anderson’s latest effort, Fantastic Mr. Fox, seems right at home with the rest of his filmography. George Clooney voices the rebellious eponymous character, the head of a Tenenbaum-like family of foxes trying to balance civility with their nature as wild animals. When three mean farmers—Boggis, Bunce, and Bean—try to flush the thieving Mr. Fox from his underground hideaway, he and his cohorts embark on a wild adventure to protect their way of life. Anderson recently spoke to The A.V. Club about meshing Dahl’s voice with his own, directing the animation remotely, and what this film has in common with Where The Wild Things Are.
The A.V. Club takes a look today at Fantastic Mr. Fox‘s oscar chances with their trademark Oscar-O-Meter™.
Fantastic Mr. Fox
Premise: Indie film fave Wes Anderson supervises a stop-motion-animated adaptation of Roald Dahl’s children’s book about a crafty fox, his family, his band of animal associates, and their human enemies. Pedigree: Anderson reportedly worked with his actors (including George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Willem Dafoe, and Owen Wilson) on location rather than in a studio, looking for a different feel for the movie’s audio track. Then he instructed his animators—remotely, according to rumor—to give the movie a look halfway between Rankin-Bass and The Royal Tenenbaums. Oscar-O-Meter rating: 6. Even though it’s been a strong year for animated films, it’s hard to believe this won’t get a nomination in the Best Animated Feature category. Although… Advance word: …critics who’ve seen early screenings have been divided over whether Anderson’s quirky sensibility is even funnier in animated form, or Fantastic Mr. Fox just reinforces his limitations as a filmmaker.
Read the rest of their predictions here and here, and if you haven’t already, check out our look at Mr. Fox‘s box-office competition.