Let’s talk, shall we? I’m sorry that it has to be over the internet and not in some cozy cafe, over cappucino and Nat Shermans with a follow-up of the New York Times crossword, but something has to be done for you, honey.
Wes, I write you because I love you. Well, I don’t love you, I just like you…but you get the point.
You do something absolutely remarkable in your films, Mr. Anderson, and that is that you infuse them distinctly with your own essence. Eau de Wes, if you will. Every great/definitive filmmaker does it. Scorsese, Capra, Tarantino, and others make movies that are uniquely their own. I can sit down and feel the filmmaker’s influence like it’s being exuded from the screen. Scorsese movies are undeniably Martin Scorsese movies. There’s a feeling, an emotion, that comes from the film that marks it as unmistakably coming from that director.
You got that going for you. The atmosphere and the essence of your movies screams, “I WAS MADE BY WES ANDERSON!” You’d think every filmmaker could do that, but I’ve discovered it’s not always true, and sometimes, it works very much against you. But you, Wes, your kooky je ne sais quoi comes wafting off the movie like cookies or fresh coffee or some other endearing scent.
Now, Wes, atmosphere doesn’t make a movie. Some of the most “atmospheric” movies have sucked, and there’s only one (Suspiria) off the top of my head that I can think of where style overcomes substance. Your problem is that your substance is repetitive, at best.
I liked Bottle Rocket, I loved Rushmore and words cannot describe the utter adoration and warm, giddy feelings that I have for The Royal Tenenbaums. Then came the depressingly awful The Life Aquatic and now you’ve followed it up with…this.
It’s not that I didn’t enjoy it; nay, I kind of liked it. But you’re making the same goddamn movie over and over again, jerkface. It’s time to start getting yourself outside your little eccentric box you’ve built for yourself. All of your movies are about dysfunctional, witty families and while I get that, the theme of brothers/sons/fathers rediscovering themselves and their relationships is getting old. Fast. You also need to lay off the J.D. Salinger. You write just like J.D. Salinger (which is partly why I love The Royal Tenenbaums, because you based it off of Salinger’s Glass family) which isn’t bad, per se, but the world already has a J.D. Salinger; you’re just filling the void for new material.
I understand your style, your panache, your beautiful little view of the world doesn’t work for a sci-fi fantasy epic or an edgy, thriller-esque drama, but you’ve got to try something new, Wes. I get that the film’s set in India on a train and that there’s less characters in this one than your other ones, but the substance is still the same.
As long as you keep doing that repetitively, people are going to stop watching.
Moreover, I can tell that you love these characters, and people are going to stop caring.
People should care about your characters and seeing how much you invest in them, you should make them want to care. You’re failing at that currently.
And lastly, my one little bone to pick with you: Hotel Chevalier was really just an excuse to get Natalie Portman to take her clothes off, wasn’t it? Not that I blame you. Had our roles been reversed, I would’ve shown up on set immediately with my jaunty little hat and a huge, badass megaphone and yelled right through it, “Mr. Brody, you must remove all your clothes immediately!” And when Adrien Brody would be all like, “Whaaat? That’s not in the script!” I would’ve said, “Forget the script, Adrien, it’s vital to your character’s existential angst that you drop trou right now!”
So I can understand that. But let’s be honest about our motivations, shall we?
Anyways. I understand you’re busy, Wes, but let’s work on these little points. See you next film.
Yours in eccentricity,