Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Dignan learns to laminate

"So he's like, 'Hey, Darjeeling, that's a kind of tea, right? Or, like, a place in India?' And, I'm, like, 'Uh, yeah, dumbass, it's both.'" -- a guy wearing a Sonic Youth baseball cap, standing in line at the Charles Theater in Baltimore, MD, smug as all git-out

So. Wes Anderson, then.

[This is a good article. It articulates a pervasive unease I feel re: Wes Anderson & race. Nothing riles you up more than race, I know, except perhaps liquor stores that won't accept payroll checks after midnight.]

[Here's what may be the prelude to a thoughtful stance. Come on, "cinetrix," you inconstantly third-person narrator, you. Flesh it out, if only for the children.]

We all expected more from Wes Anderson, mainly because of his adroitness at tapping veins of retarded emotion bulging near the surface. We mistook this for depth. It's amazing what a slow Rolling Stones song & borrowed nostalgia can do to the ol' Longing organs. Throw in some Jarmuschish humor & stage it as an elaborate diorama by Dieter Roth or Jean-Pierre Jeunet, and you've got a dedicated following. But that's ok; that's really ok.

A common defense of simple pleasures: they don't pretend to be anything else. But really, why should intent matter at all here? Who gives a fuck if the guy who made my burrito was hoping for a Michelin star? It's a goddamn decent burrito, and it's delicious.

So. I go to Wes Anderson movies for aesthetic rapture. For mild, offbeat laffs. For cheap heartstring-tugging and shallow symbolism. For material fetishization. For Owen Wilson. Not for "ideas," nor for character exploration, nor for the untangling of moral Gordian knots, and least of all for an admirable treatment of race relations. WA is the first half of WASP, and I've learned to live with that reasonably happily.

6.5/10. CC&P says check it out.