Fresh young smart dude who found a unique voice, exploited it in a bad way, and now probably just sucks.
Bottle Rocket (1996) -- Pretty funny, sometimes laggy. One of the best things about Wes Anderson is how he lets conversations take place over several different settings, as if we're cutting back and forth between two people rather than two locations and times. B
Rushmore (1998) -- Way ahead of Bottle Rocket, this is a movie that's watchable over and over, with a great performance by Jason Schwartzman and of course Bill Murray. Wes Anderson lets age differences blend into each other in a way I've never quite seen before. Very pretty, red. A
The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) -- Although I think it's a fairly good movie in spite of what I'm about to say, I do think that this movie is too storyboared sometimes (almost every shot looks like a symmetrical snapshot, which gets tiring after a while--not too mention the narration), and even more than that I think the "tone" is not quite right. The movie deals with very serious issues, but it treats it so lightly (and artily) that it barely lets you believe that they are talking about these serious things at all, as if it's just playing with them. Again, though, I still think the movie is good, that the music works better in this even more than it did in Rushmore, and that it's well worth seeing. B
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004) -- At this point, Wes Anderson is just annoying. The criticisms against The Royal Tenenbaums (apparently I wasn't the only one who thought it was too mannered and that Anderson was being careless with his paper doll characters) is dealt with directly in this movie: with Wes Anderson arguing with the critics in the script. Last time I checked, only an asshole does that. The movie isn't about anything much, and from time to time Anderson tries to bring in some emotion, like in the scene in the sub where everyone is putting their hand on Bill Murray, and it fails miserably because why would anyone care? We end up watching two hours of people parading around without anything driving them, and the people aren't interesting in any way, so there's not even a slacker interest in them. Also at this point, Bill Murray's understated acting is just too easy to do and not really appropriate like it was in Rushmore or Lost in Translation (the latter of which showed him a lot more charming and active, not just melancholy), a fault of both Wes Anderson and Murray himself. Maybe we need Owen Wilson back as a screenwriter? D
Copyright (c) Jun 2001 - Jun 2005 by Rusty Likes Movies