In short, the picture was a sensation
February 12, 2020 11:18 AM   Subscribe

The trailer for Wes Anderson's latest movie, The French Dispatch, is out. It "brings to life a collection of stories from the final issue of an American magazine published in a fictional 20th-century French city", and stars Benicio del Toro, Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton, Léa Seydoux, Frances McDormand, Timothée Chalamet, Lyna Khoudri, Jeffrey Wright, Mathieu Amalric, Stephen Park, Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Liev Schreiber, Elisabeth Moss, Edward Norton, Willem Dafoe, Lois Smith, Saoirse Ronan, Christoph Waltz, Cécile de France, Guillaume Gallienne, Jason Schwartzman, Tony Revolori, Rupert Friend, Henry Winkler, Bob Balaban, Hippolyte Girardot, Anjelica Huston, Kate Winslet, and others. posted by adrianhon (121 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
 
The trailer is almost comically Peak Wes Anderson. Can't wait!
posted by gwint at 11:27 AM on February 12 [18 favorites]


I was on board just hearing of its existence. Playing Christophe's 'Aline' just ramped it up that much more.
posted by Capt. Renault at 11:33 AM on February 12 [1 favorite]


The movie is partly inspired by The New Yorker.

Christ, what an asshole.
posted by rodlymight at 11:35 AM on February 12 [34 favorites]


In these troubling times, Wes Anderson comes to comfort us and makes us feel joy.
posted by Ber at 11:36 AM on February 12 [6 favorites]


Totally not onboard.... until I saw the trailer. Damnit! Looks like it won’t suck. And so many good actors...
Recently read a novel that I really didn’t like, that was far more similar to this (in broad strokes - paper was based in Rome, was folding due to the internet, had a storied history blablabla). I’ll have to look for the title. I expect the movie will be better.
posted by From Bklyn at 11:38 AM on February 12


Christ, what an asshole.

Maybe you're think of Martin Scorsese?
posted by gwint at 11:38 AM on February 12 [4 favorites]


I admire the craft. But... the Twee...

I think I could stomach it better if it was all unknown actors along with Bill Murray. I just can't get the real-life actors out of my head in Anderson flicks. It feels too ego driven or something. Like they all really really want their names on the poster along with The Auteur who makes these things. But I'm a cynical old grump.
posted by SoberHighland at 11:40 AM on February 12 [12 favorites]


here i was thinking the grand budapest hotel was the most wes anderson that had ever been wes anderson-ed when a new contender appears
posted by Bwentman at 11:43 AM on February 12 [11 favorites]


On the one hand, it's become hard to tell the difference between Wes Anderson and a parody of Wes Anderson; on the other hand, I'll be there opening night for this.
posted by octothorpe at 11:43 AM on February 12 [27 favorites]


Others? Who's left?
posted by jim in austin at 11:44 AM on February 12 [3 favorites]


"But I'm a cynical old grump."

Maybe they are all just hoping for a moment with Bill?
posted by kneecapped at 11:45 AM on February 12 [2 favorites]


The trailer might as well have been two minutes of someone standing in front of the poster saying, "So, you like Wes Anderson movies? Well, here you go. See? It's got Bill Murray. And Tilda Swinton. And Benicio del Toro. And Frances McDormand. And..."
posted by Etrigan at 11:47 AM on February 12 [5 favorites]


Have we reached Peak Anderson?
posted by SoberHighland at 11:48 AM on February 12 [2 favorites]


I'll see it, but this particular aesthetic/mood is starting to get too sentimental and a bit tiresome. I'd love to see him push himself in other ways. He's done this with animation, but I'd like to see him try something that's not just more of this. More of this is going to be entertaining and polished I'm sure, but it's all just TOO much.
posted by Fizz at 11:49 AM on February 12 [4 favorites]


Others? Who's left?

The RZA, Audrey Tautou, and Steve Buscemi.
posted by axiom at 11:53 AM on February 12 [19 favorites]


When Wes Anderson makes Twee Fast Twee Furious XIII, you'll be glad he stuck to this shtick.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 11:56 AM on February 12 [76 favorites]


I reached my Perfectly Symmetrical Shot limit with this trailer. Used to love his work, now I can't stand it. I feel like all of his substance has been subsumed by style.
posted by grumpybear69 at 11:58 AM on February 12 [5 favorites]


Peak Wes Anderson with a heavy dose of Francophilia. But, you know, I can't myself and I wouldn't say no to either.
posted by Ashwagandha at 12:00 PM on February 12


So, lots of directors try to work out the same themes over and over. I recently watch Silence, Scorsese's 2016 film about a pair of Portuguese priests in 17th century Japan, and the crisis of faith that the main character undergoes. I think I can find some thematic through-lines in many of Scorsese's films.

Likewise, all of Anderson's films have a through-line, of these people who are very well-off, in very controlled situations, who have ordered their lives in a way that most of us can only dream of: the jet-setting, well-heeled aristocracy of New England or Paris or the like, who have good taste and read the right books, eat at the best places, etc. but whose lives are all a small step away from disaster, due in large part to this... atmosphere that they have accumulated. These characters with neuroses and twee affectations sitting precariously atop deep wells of grief.

And it's fine, working through whatever you want to work through. I'm not judging the themes we're dealing with here. But what stands out to me, what's different about Scorsese and Anderson, is that even though Scorsese's films are all visually beautiful, and have great soundtracks, and incredible attention to detail, and mostly use the same troop of actors, the films all feel so different: Silence, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Kundun, Last Temptation, Goodfellas. These films all have similar hallmarks, they're all clearly from the same director, but they are all wildly different.

Anderson's films? I love Anderson's films, but jesus christ they are all so very very similar. You just change the setting and the costumes and bam, it's a new Anderson film. I'd love to see a trailer for an Anderson film that made me go "wait what? This is a Wes Anderson film? But before I saw the trailer for this latest one I saw the poster and I knew it was an anderson film before I even saw his name.

I'm sure this film will be great, but I am also sure I could just go see Fantastic Mr Fox again (my favorite) and not really miss anything.
posted by nushustu at 12:03 PM on February 12 [31 favorites]


The Rolling Stones kept putting out Rolling Stones albums for decades upon decades, and made an awful lot of money doing so, and keeping a pretty darn dedicated fan base.

I'm not sure Wes Anderson needs to switch it up. I'd like to see him throw a serious curve ball, but twee, sentimental, visually fun entertainment is his schtick, and I'm here for it.
posted by tclark at 12:04 PM on February 12 [17 favorites]


I'd watch the hell out of a Wes Anderson Fast & Furious. Imagine Vin Diesel on a penny farthing riding through fields of tulips chasing Jason Statham on a Vespa... Oh man I won't be able to work today with that image in my head.
posted by Ashwagandha at 12:04 PM on February 12 [76 favorites]


He has his thing and he does it and I'm glad he does, as everything he makes makes me happy, guaranteed.

I don't see that his films are any more identical than 90% of Hollywood movies are to each other.

I spot a bunch of Tati in this. That also makes me happy.
posted by Grangousier at 12:07 PM on February 12 [13 favorites]


I feel like all of his substance has been subsumed by style.

I definitely hit that point with some of Wes', like Grand Budapest* or Darjeeling, that style overrides the story. But when it's the other way around, with style servicing the story, like Life Aquatic, Mr. Fox, or Moonrise, then it's Pure Movie Magic. Problem is that you don't know which one you're going to get going in. That said, I'm a fan, and even a fan doesn't need to like everything.

*Substitute different Wes Anderson flicks for yourself here and elsewhere as required.
posted by Capt. Renault at 12:09 PM on February 12 [14 favorites]


I get the trepidation over whether this will be the movie when Wes finally ventures past the event horizon of tweeness - I was not a fan of Isle of Dogs - but then I thought Grand Budapest Hotel was one of the best movies of the year. There’s a heart and earnestness and humour to his stories that is still very unusual in Hollywood.
posted by adrianhon at 12:12 PM on February 12 [7 favorites]


But when it's the other way around, with style servicing the story, like Life Aquatic

Exactly! Aquatic was such a weird curveball of a film, and it had so much emotional resonance, that it kind of spoiled me for the rest of his work.
posted by grumpybear69 at 12:19 PM on February 12 [5 favorites]


I'm totally going to see this.

That said, I would really like to see Wes Anderson direct someone else's script. It's not just his themes are repeated again and again, but that they are so myopic. He can't write a woman who isn't a mother or a love interest. PoC are almost always in service roles, going back to Bottle Rocket, with the rare white-collar professional. It's the very white, male, private school outlook on the world that he can't see to shake.
posted by thecjm at 12:23 PM on February 12 [16 favorites]


Recently read a novel that I really didn’t like, that was far more similar to this (in broad strokes - paper was based in Rome, was folding due to the internet, had a storied history blablabla).

Ooooh, you triggered a memory because I was like, "Wait, I read that, too!" It's The Imperfectionists, which I read in a book club many years ago and forgot about until now.

Anyway, regarding the OP, I'm iffy on some of Anderson's stuff but this is hitting me in my literary and francophone weaknesses so I'll likely see it.
posted by paisley sheep at 12:26 PM on February 12 [2 favorites]


I feel like this post should have been center justified.
posted by Kabanos at 12:27 PM on February 12 [32 favorites]


For me, Grand Budapest Hotel made up for the over-the-top styling by connecting emotionally in a way I didn’t think he had done since Rushmore (to me, far and away his best). I’m hoping this one does as well, although the style has become even more intensely confining and restricting and contrived.
posted by sallybrown at 12:27 PM on February 12 [3 favorites]


I feel like this post should have been center justified.

And in Futura.
posted by octothorpe at 12:28 PM on February 12 [4 favorites]


Lots of Jacques Tati bits sprinkled throughout. I'm in!
posted by St. Oops at 12:35 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]


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   ██║   ╚███╔███╔╝███████╗███████╗╚██████╔╝██║  ██║███████║██║ ╚═╝ ██║
   ╚═╝    ╚══╝╚══╝ ╚══════╝╚══════╝ ╚═════╝ ╚═╝  ╚═╝╚══════╝╚═╝     ╚═╝
                                                                    
posted by lalochezia at 12:38 PM on February 12 [15 favorites]


Wes Anderson makes the same film for people to enjoy, the way that Starbucks makes the same cup of coffee, whichever one you go to. People enjoy it! Nothing wrong with enjoying something.

With each film, I always hope he manages to put story before style, or that he has the style serve the story. This happens rarely (Rushmore, Royal Tannenbaums, Grand Budapest) but it is a happy situation when the planets and moons are in alignment with the stars.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 12:39 PM on February 12 [5 favorites]



Lots of Jacques Tati bits sprinkled throughout. I'm in!


The exterior of the French flats with the criss-crossing external staircases was verrrrry Mon Oncle
posted by thecjm at 12:39 PM on February 12 [2 favorites]


Have we reached Peak Anderson?
posted by SoberHighland at 11:48 AM on February 12 [+] [!]


Dunno, but we can reach Anderson Peak.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:39 PM on February 12 [2 favorites]


"It's like, how much more Wes Anderson could this be? And the answer is none. None more Wes Anderson."
posted by ChuraChura at 12:42 PM on February 12 [16 favorites]


(but it looks so preeeeeetty!)
posted by ChuraChura at 12:42 PM on February 12 [2 favorites]


Incidentally, Wes continues to make an honest man out of Academy Award-Winner Adrien Brody, who cannot otherwise be trusted to pick good features (although if you haven’t seen his performance as a gloriously over-the-top evil Roman general in Dragon Blade against John Cusack and Jackie Chan, you haven’t lived).
posted by adrianhon at 12:44 PM on February 12 [3 favorites]


Excuse me, but when did Henry Winkler turn into a little old man? He looks like Harold Gould.

(Hmph. I can't get a link to work, but it's one of the photo in the New Yorker article.)
posted by corvikate at 12:45 PM on February 12 [2 favorites]


Fuck all the haterz. I'm so glad this isn't animated weasels or voles or whatever again.
posted by thelonius at 12:45 PM on February 12 [4 favorites]


Hush, you! Fantastic Mr Fox is Wes Anderson's best film, at least until SNL's horror movie is fully realized.
posted by Flannery Culp at 12:49 PM on February 12 [28 favorites]


when did Henry Winkler turn into a little old man

An unfortunate side-effect of life, and inventing the sport of shark-jumping.
posted by riverlife at 12:56 PM on February 12 [16 favorites]


Fuck all the haterz. I'm so glad this isn't animated weasels or voles or whatever again.

Animated foxes and dogs are all the good things in life, just like real foxes and dogs. I have concerns about Wes Anderson and his filmography but his animated films have been delightful.
posted by Fizz at 12:58 PM on February 12 [3 favorites]


On the one hand, it's become hard to tell the difference between Wes Anderson and a parody of Wes Anderson. . .

Is not bug. Is feature.
posted by The Bellman at 12:59 PM on February 12 [5 favorites]


I work at a movie theater/cultural arts venue, and we once had Anthony C. Ferrante, the director, come do a Q&A before a screening of Sharknado.

I'm not really into movies that are bad on purpose, and I wasn't really feeling Sharknado. So I was expecting him to either be (1) kind of a doofus and think his movie was actually very cool, or (2) kind of an asshole who was mad that people thought his seriously-intended movie was funny. But Anthony Ferrante, director of Sharknado, was one of the most generous and straightforward and professional film industry people I've ever met. He got up on stage and told the story of how he had always wanted to be a director, and he had loved and been inspired by horror movies, so he and some friends made a couple horror movies together that went nowhere and nobody liked. But then he got the opportunity to make Sharknado, and he had no illusions about what it was — a low-budget TV movie that was ridiculous on purpose, but he felt like it was important to make as high-quality a product as he could within those restraints. He valued his actors and his crew immensely; he talked about how the success of the first movie let them do some things they thought were even funnier in the sequels; and he stressed over and over again how, even though this wasn't exactly what he'd imagined for himself, he was really proud of the day-to-day work he'd done on the set and with his team in making Sharknado as good a thing as Sharknado could ever possibly be. He didn't take himself too seriously, but he understood that even in doing something absurd, if you make something that the audience likes and wants more of, you're doing a good job. There is an audience for Sharknado movies, and he feels a responsibility to give that audience as good of a version of the thing they want as he possibly can.

All of which is to say: there are lots of other people out there making movies that aren't like Wes Anderson movies, and if I want to watch a movie that's not like a Wes Anderson movie, I'll watch one of those. Wes Anderson should keep making whatever the fuck he wants, having fun with his gigantic group of friends, and giving his audience the thing it seems like they still want.
posted by penduluum at 12:59 PM on February 12 [106 favorites]


I have an old book of early-1970s movie reviews by Stanley Kauffmann, the legendary long-time film critic at The New Republic, and one of the films covered in the book is Peter Bogdanovich's third feature Paper Moon. The review is mixed—he praises the cinematography and performances while criticizing the patness of the writing and overly-clever direction—but there's one line from the essay that I've always remembered. At the conclusion of the review, he assesses Bogdanovich as basically a talented but thieving magpie—the student who can perfectly mimic the strokes of the masters he idolizes, but himself has nothing original to say. "Bodgdanovich," he writes, "continues to be, essentially, a non-person."

That's kind of how I feel about Wes Anderson.
posted by Atom Eyes at 1:07 PM on February 12 [4 favorites]


If someone could let me know how many dogs have to die in this movie before I go see it, that would be great.

Thanks.
posted by freakazoid at 1:10 PM on February 12 [3 favorites]


I'd watch the hell out of a Wes Anderson Fast & Furious. Imagine Vin Diesel on a penny farthing riding through fields of tulips chasing Jason Statham on a Vespa...

I'm going to go ahead and say this should happen, or that there should be some kind of director remix project where Guy Ritchie remakes The Royal Tenenbaums and Wes Anderson directs Snatch. I would watch those films, I would watch them many times.
posted by betweenthebars at 1:16 PM on February 12 [10 favorites]


> Others? Who's left?

The RZA, Audrey Tautou, and Steve Buscemi.


You mentioned RZA and Steve Buscemi, and that made me suddenly think "what if Jim Jarmusch and Wes Anderson collaborated on a movie," and now I've been trying to imagine what that would be like and the contents of my head are now a wondrous and strange place.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:19 PM on February 12 [19 favorites]


"Canis Lupus!

Vulpes Vulpes..."
posted by Windopaene at 1:20 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]


Oh hey neat, whimsical tokenism. At least he's not using an entire brown country as a charming backdrop for white saviors again.

I love love love Rushmore and Royal Tennenbaums, but for all the fussy international settings, Anderson still feels oddly provincial. I'm between wishing he'd hire more actors of color and being afraid of what he'd have them do.
posted by Maaik at 1:22 PM on February 12 [15 favorites]


Entertain yourself with this, an account of Anderson-esque instagrams in the meantime.
posted by Keith Talent at 1:23 PM on February 12 [4 favorites]


demi adejuyigbe: just realized wes anderson essentially makes whitesploitation movies and i'm into it
posted by adrianhon at 1:27 PM on February 12 [25 favorites]


So, it's The Royal French Budapest Hotel with Steve Zissou Limited?*

Of course I'm going to see it.


*borrowed from a YouTube commenter
posted by droplet at 1:32 PM on February 12


If Chris Ware has a brother from another mother and it isn’t Wes Anderson then there is something wrong with this simulation.
posted by drivingmenuts at 1:35 PM on February 12 [6 favorites]


nushustu: not sure that Bottle Rocket or Fantastic Mr. Fox fit into you analysis of Anderson's themes.
posted by jordantwodelta at 1:38 PM on February 12


> Without a flashing disclaimer or other blatant display of intent, it is utterly impossible to parody a Wes Anderson film in such a way that someone won't mistake for the genuine article.

- Zissou's Law
posted by Godspeed.You!Black.Emperor.Penguin at 1:44 PM on February 12 [4 favorites]


It is harder and harder to distinguish his live action from his animated pictures.
posted by mazola at 1:45 PM on February 12


ok so I don't expect anyone here to necessarily have an answer to this but w/r/t these big ensemble casts with A list actors...it must be soooo expensive????

do these actors take a pay cut to be in a prestige film and have some fun? does Wes Anderson really have that much money?

/I don't know how hollywood works...
posted by supermedusa at 1:50 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]


demi adejuyigbe: just realized wes anderson essentially makes whitesploitation movies and i'm into it

it's a fair cop
posted by tclark at 1:51 PM on February 12


"The French Dispatch of the Liberty, Kansas Evening Sun." So France is Oz!

It is harder and harder to distinguish his live action from his animated pictures. You say that as though it was a bad thing... but every frame is a delight, a poem, a symphony. I had to rewatch it with my finger on the pause button.
posted by Coaticass at 1:52 PM on February 12 [3 favorites]


jordantwodelta, bottle rocket is definitely an exception, but also the least "wes anderson-y" of his films. But I'd argue that Fantastic Mr Fox is the MOST "wes anderson-y" of his films. That was the one where he gave up faking it and just made a cartoon. And that's what ALL of his films are: cartoons. Just like old cartoons, each character has a set costume that he/she wears all the time, the sets and settings are obviously models/fake/fantasy versions of real places, etc.

And I would argue that the themes are the same as well. Awkward, twee oddballs who've built up their personas with costumes and gestures and catch phrases who by all respects should be satisfied with themselves or happy (or at the very least happy that they're getting to "be" grouchy or whatever their persona is supposed to be) who actually feel like frauds, or non-actualized or whatever and have built up all of that wacky persona as emotional armor against those feelings and anyone who might put them at risk of admitting those feelings.

And this is not a criticism. Fantastic Mr Fox is my favorite of his films.
posted by nushustu at 1:53 PM on February 12 [3 favorites]


nushustu: not sure that Bottle Rocket or Fantastic Mr. Fox fit into you analysis of Anderson's themes.

I could see people finding the Inez plot problematic. But, James Caan sparring karate with a guy wearing only tighty-whiteys!
posted by thelonius at 1:53 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]


oh never mind - sorry I mixed up two sub threads
posted by thelonius at 1:56 PM on February 12


do these actors take a pay cut to be in a prestige film and have some fun?

Bill Murray took $9000 for his work in Rushmore. Not sure how it works, now that Anderson is established, but a quick glance at Wikipedia suggests his other recent films are not big budget affairs, so I suspect actors join his films for the fun of it.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 1:57 PM on February 12 [4 favorites]


...and others.

What do you mean, "and others"? There are more actors than this in the whole world?
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 2:01 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]


do these actors take a pay cut to be in a prestige film and have some fun?

Yep. Plus most of those A-list actors are only working for a few days, rather than the whole shoot.

Bill Murray took $9000 for his work in Rushmore.

In fact, he only took scale -- most of that $9K came from points -- and he nearly lost $16K on it.
posted by Etrigan at 2:01 PM on February 12 [2 favorites]


I think Wes Anderson is to film what Stephen King is to novels. You essentially know what you're going to get, and that is comfortable and enjoyable and entertaining.
posted by DrAstroZoom at 2:14 PM on February 12 [9 favorites]


Wouldn't a Wes Anderson SciFi space opera set in the asteroids or one of the moons of Jupiter be the best thing ever!
posted by sammyo at 2:15 PM on February 12 [2 favorites]


I would love to see a Wes Anderson The Jetsons.
posted by sallybrown at 2:20 PM on February 12 [9 favorites]


The Grand Valles Marineris Hotel
Europa Aquatic with Steve Zissou
The Neptunian Limited
Moonrise Kingdom
posted by adrianhon at 2:20 PM on February 12 [4 favorites]


sammyo: Wouldn't a Wes Anderson SciFi space opera set in the asteroids or one of the moons of Jupiter be the best thing ever!


In the Futura, no one can hear you scream.
posted by emelenjr at 2:36 PM on February 12 [6 favorites]


On the one hand, it's become hard to tell the difference between Wes Anderson and a parody of Wes Anderson

The one that isn't funny is the parody.
posted by Grangousier at 2:38 PM on February 12 [8 favorites]


And so many good actors...

Well, approximately everyone is in this movie, so by the law of large numbers, the good ones will wind up here.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:54 PM on February 12


Part of my self care is watching films that make me happy, even if the movie is question is considered THE WORST (America's Sweethearts for example).

Wes Anderson consistently fits that criteria and I will happily watch his films over and over again. Because they are pretty and have awkward people and even the sad endings are a kind of happy.

(And Ralph Finnes was AMAZING as M. Gustave).
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 2:59 PM on February 12 [9 favorites]


Oh, geez, crap, another warm, candlelit romp with Frannie and Zooey. These things cost so much money it makes me shudder to look at them. Are they fun to be in? They have to be because everybody that's in every movie that legit looks like a ton of fun is also in all these. It's baffling: I can't see how it can possibly be anything but stifling. But he must somehow make it fun. Maybe he puts out bowls full of drugs.
posted by Don Pepino at 3:16 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]




Maybe he puts out bowls full of drugs.

"Saoirse Ronan Reveals Kate Winslet Is Latest Actor To Join Wes Anderson’s ‘The French Dispatch,’" The Playlist, Jan. 29, 2019: While Ronan can’t really talk about the film, the actress is quick to shed some light on one unique part about working on a Wes Anderson film – the dinners.

“Wes has the nicest dinners,” she explains. “He’ll throw really lovely dinners at the end of every shoot day. And he’ll change for dinner. So, it’s quite a classy affair compared to every other shoot you work on where you just wear North Face all the time.”


Relatedly -- wonder where Winslet went?
posted by Iris Gambol at 3:40 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]


This talk of Anderson made me go back and read this old piece by John Updike on J.D. Salinger and the Glass Family: "Seymour defines sentimentality as giving "to a thing more tenderness than God gives to it." This seems to me the nub of the trouble: Salinger loves the Glasses more than God loves them. He loves them too exclusively. Their invention has become a hermitage for him. He loves them to the detriment of artistic moderation."
I read Salinger when I was in my late teens and early twenties and loved him. However, I saw Anderson when I was a much older person.
posted by acrasis at 3:50 PM on February 12 [2 favorites]


Mr. The Plague is in this one? Sold.
posted by phooky at 4:36 PM on February 12


No Wallace Shawn?
posted by clavdivs at 5:37 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]


From what I remember, there's three particular attractions for actors to Wes Anderson films:

Firstly, they're quite pleasant to film - you get to act with a good cast, including a bunch of people you probably always wanted to work with. You're not going to be asked to do demeaning special effects or act against a green screen, you're going to act against other actors. Anderson takes care of his actors (someone up-thread mentioned the dinners). You won't have to do interminable press tours just because you're a big name; the studio will promote it, but it'll probably be Wes Anderson and the film's leads doing the press tours.

Secondly, while you're not going to make millions of dollars doing it, you're guaranteed not to be in a turkey. You're not going to be dicked around by the studio and have your part recut into a dopey love interest. The script's written, and the director wrote it, and it's going to be basically the same quirky tenor as every other one of his films, so you know what you're getting into. At worst, you'll be in a minor Wes Anderson film, but not a bad film.

Thirdly, Anderson tends to prefer people he's already worked with, so if you're in a Wes Anderson film and it goes well, that's steady work for years to come.
posted by Merus at 5:48 PM on February 12 [12 favorites]


I dunno, I think Danny Glover’s expression, as his character Henry Sherman endures Gene-Hackman-as-Royal-Tenenbaum's racism, might qualify as his "being asked to do a demeaning special effect."
posted by Iris Gambol at 6:02 PM on February 12 [4 favorites]


No Wallace Shawn?

Sometimes, when one person is missing, the whole world seems depopulated.
posted by Wallace Shawn at 6:09 PM on February 12 [5 favorites]


No Wallace Shawn?

Inconceivable!
posted by tclark at 6:17 PM on February 12


I know I'm *supposed* to like Wes Anderson films but I just don't.
posted by bendy at 7:16 PM on February 12 [3 favorites]


His films are way, way too twee for me, but there's no denying that he sets up beautifully-composed shots. The trailer is full of them.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:17 PM on February 12


Ah deeply weird I cannot wait to torture my spouse by dragging him to this in the theater to make up for the 8,000,000 Star Wars movies I have patiently “enjoyed”.
posted by hilaryjade at 7:45 PM on February 12 [6 favorites]


Fisher Stevens appears to be playing Bud Cort in The Life Aquatic
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:09 PM on February 12


The thing I really love about Radiohead is that you never really know what they're gonna do, each and every album tries out new sounds, new beats, new ideas, yet there's an underlying sense and order to the whole thing, each one is like another facet of some vast, unseen gemstone.

Kubrick created a visual and tonal aesthetic that really served him well, but it never felt like he was using some sort of template, he mixed up his actors, music, writers, ideas, but you always know when you're watching one of his films, they have a distinct flavor that is all his.

I suppose I'm a little older than the average Wes Anderson fan, but much like Scorcese, he seems to have fallen into a lovely little hole with his favorite actors, themes, visual style and color palettes (you definitely know when your watching his work). To my eye, it's starting to feel forced, predictable, almost trying too hard to be weird (which is my main beef with David Lynch; I have many good friends who adore his work, and a close mutual friend who thinks we'd be tight buds if we hung out, but I continue to decline the offer to meet him, I don't think I could tell him what I genuinely think of his movies; Blue Velvet is his only piece that I saw in a theater and dug on the first pass, not so for anything else he's done).

In the end, if you're into the style, you adore what Wes Anderson does, and that's cool, you get a certain predictable product from his mind and his collaborators. That's how I tend to feel about James Cameron, who constantly mixes it up within the action genre (although I suspect he may be about to lay his very first egg with the upcoming Avatar onslaught). I'll pretty much see anything he does in a theater; not many directors have that pull on my mind. I appreciate and respect the design, artistry, craft and tone of Wes Anderson movies, but I've tried to watch more than a couple of them, sadly, they wear on me rather quickly, even my love of Bill Murray can't quite do enough to keep my interest.

I'll wait for video for this one, get through the first third of it, and lose interest, as predictable as the sun coming up tomorrow. The fact that it's about a magazine - I've worked for more than a few, kind of worship that world and am so sad to watch it vanish - might be enough to hold me, it would certainly be a pleasant surprise. ANY distraction in the time of the American implosion is more than welcome.
posted by dbiedny at 8:38 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]


It's taken me a while to warm up to Wes Anderson's style, I absolutely hated Bottle Rocket, couldn't finish it, and despite my friends telling me how amazing Rushmore was, I found it to be merely not awful. However, with Moonrise Kingdom and Grand Budapest Hotel, I thought he was finally able to make films that were stylistically interesting, and entertaining. His forays into animation were more uneven, with one (Fantastic Mr. Fox) , that fell into the not quite unwatchable territory mined by Bottle Rocket, and the second (Isle of Dogs) well done and entertaining, if bordering on racism.
This one looks to be beautiful, intricate and entertaining, and I'm looking forward to it. I like adrianhon's characterization of his films as whitesploitation, but I worry that he seems afraid to use many people of color in his films.
posted by evilDoug at 9:36 PM on February 12




The Imperfectionists was the first thing I thought of when I saw this post. In fact I thought OP had the description wrong and the setting was Rome. The book is not really whimsical though; it is a great read.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 11:03 PM on February 12


I've given Radiohead enough of a chance and it mostly sounds like it's perpetually getting to the good bit. (Occasionally, it does! And then it passes it on its way to something else)

The one that I really felt like I had an obligation to like was the Coen Brothers - I actually made my parents watch O Brother Where Art Thou without knowing anything other than 'it's a Coen Brothers film, so it must be good' and we all hated it. I eventually made my peace with knowing that they weren't for me, and that doesn't mean I don't have taste; on the contrary, I know my taste well enough to know the Coen Brothers are not to mine.

I do happen to like Wes Anderson, which was a relief
posted by Merus at 12:35 AM on February 13


The Imperfectionists was the first thing I thought of when I saw this post. In fact I thought OP had the description wrong and the setting was Rome. The book is not really whimsical though; it is a great read.
posted by TWinbrook8 Almost 3 hours ago [+] [!]


It is a really good read, not twee at all. I still... just... didn't like it. Though now I can't even remember why that was...
Looking around, turns out "Grand Budapest Hotel" made on the order of 175million on 25 million production costs. If he keeps it cool, he can comfortably make lots of movies for the rest of his life.
posted by From Bklyn at 2:09 AM on February 13 [1 favorite]


For me, it's either watch the latest Wes Anderson film, or sit on the back porch in a thrift-store caftan sipping chamomile tea, admiring the hollyhocks, and slowly rocking the rocking chair I made out of vintage tuba parts. So I'm glad there's a new one, because that does get old after a while.

It's going to be fun when it gets nominated for an Academy award in 2021, and it turns out everyone in the room worked on it.
posted by panglos at 4:40 AM on February 13 [3 favorites]


After all this all I can think is that I would love/dread to see a Wes Anderson adaptation of Dante's Divine Comedy. He has the skill to and art to do it but would he be able to let twee yield to poetry?
posted by Ignorantsavage at 5:09 AM on February 13


So I wonder if the different aspect ratios mean something like they did in Grand Budapest Hotel? In that one, each format signalled a different time period. I do wish that more movies were filmed in 4:3, it's associated with old Hollywood but it's a perfectly good format to compose in.
posted by octothorpe at 5:30 AM on February 13


I really don't get the "twee" thing. With his visual obsessiveness, formalism and linguistic idiosyncrasy, the director Anderson has most reminded me of is Peter Greenaway. Wes is a lot funnier and a lot nicer, though Peter gets a lot more nakedness in. They're about even on dead animals, I think.

But twee suggests a kind of limpness that's entirely absent from Anderson's work - he's as tenacious and single-minded as his characters. I think it's telling that so many people confuse pastel colours with soft-headedness.

Greenaway did the Divine Comedy, though, or at least the Inferno, if that's the sort of thing you'd like.

(I once saw Greenaway do a talk at the British Museum. Most of the time, these are cosy 45 minute interviews with Q&A, and I think they were expecting the same thing. Greenaway brought his full AV rig with radio headset mic and did a two-hour lecture, full of fantastically provocative and confident statements. Definite money's worth situation.)
posted by Grangousier at 5:32 AM on February 13 [17 favorites]


Octothorpe - From the look of it, it's a portmanteau film, with each of the writers doing their own discrete story. I'd suppose that the different formal characteristics keep the stories apart.
posted by Grangousier at 5:34 AM on February 13


when did Henry Winkler turn into a little old man

Don't look too closely at Brad Pitt then.
posted by srboisvert at 5:46 AM on February 13


These things cost so much money it makes me shudder to look at them.

That’s how I feel about Marvel movies. But come on. The French Dispatch has a reported budget of around $25 million, which is like 1/4 of a Birds of Prey or The Call of the Wild — or 1/14 of an Avengers: Endgame. When it comes to Anderson, profligacy should be about the last thing people complain about.
posted by Mothlight at 5:55 AM on February 13 [1 favorite]


Style can be a burden in an artist. Some people can never learn when to relent and the art becomes oppressive. The emotion that is sought ceases to be aroused because a resentment in the audience is cultivated. The resentment of being aware that one is being manipulated. I would say that when I think of twee it is not limpness that comes to mind but rather the presence of a self-consciousness of adorable appeal. With Anderson's work, at least that which I have seen, there is amongst the larger elements of story, character, and plot that element of his style which often overshoots charming and lands in an area of, "Gosh, isn't this just the loveliest, cutest little piece of imagery to remind you of how hand-crafted, artisan, and outside the norm this work is," which instead of bringing me into the experience reminds me that, yes this is a Wes Anderson film. It is not the use of pastels, it is the curse of surrendering to style at the cost of experience. All these little bits, like the interstitial bits of the dollhouse view in The Life Aquatic should work but the details he puts in to make it cartoonish gives it an overly otherworldly feel. The over-stylization is what gives his work a twee feel for me. This is a minor gripe. His work is much more than this, but I do wish that he could rein it in a bit.
posted by Ignorantsavage at 6:43 AM on February 13 [3 favorites]


They're about even on dead animals, I think.

I can't help being curious about this — did Anderson make a twee version of A Zed and Two Noughts?
posted by mubba at 7:48 AM on February 13


I must admit, I'd forgotten. Z&OO puts Greenaway far ahead on that score. It was just a rhetorical overexuberance, scrub it.
posted by Grangousier at 8:12 AM on February 13


I loved The Grand Budapest Hotel. I've watched it over and over again. I really enjoyed this trailer. The movie might disappoint me, but I'm willing to take the risk.

I saw A Zed and Two Noughts years ago. It put my head in a bad place. I would pay a large sum of money to guarantee that I will never see it again.
posted by tallmiddleagedgeek at 8:32 AM on February 13


If there's one thing that is absolutely clear from this thread, it's that Wes Anderson movies are Not For Everyone.

It's totally ok for his thing to not be your thing. I've enjoyed most of his movies (not as fond of the ones that Noah Baumbach co-wrote) and I'm really looking forward to this one.

On a side note, however, I think it's odd to see people say that this appears to elevate style over substance when none of us knows what the substance is.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 9:06 AM on February 13 [5 favorites]


I don't think Anderson could do a twee Zed & Two Noughts but I totally could see him doing a version of Draughtsman's Contract or Drowning By Numbers.
posted by Ashwagandha at 9:30 AM on February 13


When we had a bunch of French scouts volunteering on a project we kind of HAD to do a little Anderson style clip.
posted by snofoam at 9:58 AM on February 13 [3 favorites]


So twee = artificial and some of you think Wes Anderson's films should be more realistic? Okay then...
posted by Coaticass at 11:34 AM on February 13


If someone could let me know how many dogs have to die in this movie before I go see it, that would be great.

Thanks.


If my wife were the tattoo type of person she'd probably have one saying fuck Wes Anderson for precisely that reason.
posted by BrotherCaine at 12:40 PM on February 13


I like the idea of an anthology film. Seems like a good fit.

Moonrise Kingdom, Grand Budapest, and (even though I disliked it) Isle of Dogs all dealt with fairly heavy and distinct themes, despite having a distinct visual style and neat production / snappy dialogue (Moonrise seemed to be about classism in adolescence, Budapest was about finding joy in a time of rising fascism, Dogs was about authoritarian take-over of a society). I think that maybe the lightness / twee argument can be more successfully levied at his earlier stuff (which are very much about the pains of either being rich and powerful, or the pains of trying to become so), but even in Rushmore (butting up against society's expectations for you versus your expectations for yourself) or Tennenbaums (an asshole redemption story where the asshole doen't very easily get redeemed) or Life Aquatic (trying to be a better person than your parents) there are ideas that extend beyond the style of the movie itself.
posted by codacorolla at 12:57 PM on February 13 [2 favorites]


I know I'm *supposed* to like Wes Anderson films but I just don't.

I was going to let this go, but this is one of my unconscious blog subtexts -

When it comes to film (or books or music or any kind of art for that matter), there is no "supposed to" about whether you like something or not. If you don't like Wes Anderson, then go ahead and don't like him. It's not fair for anyone to make you feel like an unwashed uncool heathen if you say that. If you tell me you don't like something I do like, the most I'd ask you is if you did try it at least once - or, can at least point to foreknowledge that leads you to believe you wouldn't like it (i.e., you have a history of being really disturbed by violent beheadings, and you've heard that this is a movie where a lot of people have their heads chopped off in detailed ways).

If you've seen a Wes Anderson movie, and thought "meh", then so be it.

After all this all I can think is that I would love/dread to see a Wes Anderson adaptation of Dante's Divine Comedy.

I'm not as convinced of this, but you've brought up a similar notion - how about a Wes Anderson take on The Decameron?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:06 PM on February 13 [5 favorites]


These things cost so much money it makes me shudder to look at them.

That’s how I feel about Marvel movies.


Well, yeah, except a Marvel movie relieves me of the capacity and with it the responsibility to shudder. A Marvel movie sets its enormous loud elephant foot down and smashes me two dimensional in the first frame, and then I spend the rest of the movie pancaked and immobile with my head mostly immersed in a popcorn bucket. I don't think anything about the movie during the movie or remember anything about the movie after the movie. It's a little mini break from being alive, relaxing and mildly pleasant, like general anesthesia.
posted by Don Pepino at 2:04 PM on February 13 [1 favorite]


Would love to see Anderson’s take on Naked Lunch.
posted by snofoam at 5:15 PM on February 13


He loves them to the detriment of artistic moderation.

As I always will say henceforth: "Fuck artistic moderation."
posted by DrAstroZoom at 7:46 AM on February 14 [2 favorites]


“He’ll throw really lovely dinners at the end of every shoot day. And he’ll change for dinner.

He dresses for dinner? I think I'm in love with him.
posted by dnash at 10:06 AM on February 14 [2 favorites]


If someone could let me know how many dogs have to die in this movie before I go see it, that would be great.

In case you aren't aware of it: Does the Dog Die?
posted by dnash at 10:07 AM on February 14


I just had a look at the "Accidental Wes Anderson" thing on Instagram and had a sudden thought:

Wes Anderson was the first influencer, wasn't he?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:35 PM on February 14


In case you aren't aware of it: Does the Dog Die?

Similarly, Can You Pet The Dog?, a Twitter account cataloguing whether video games with dogs in them let you pet the dog. I cannot overstate the gulf between how trivial this seems and how important to the video game industry it's actually been.
posted by Merus at 8:36 AM on February 15


If we want to up to The Decameron then it must be seen as the warm-up for Wes Anderson's Hypnerotomachia Poliphili. A work that would not suffer in any way from an alienating otherwordliness. Though I might prefer to see Terry Gilliam do that one. Hell they can each do one.
posted by Ignorantsavage at 7:51 PM on February 15


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