With so many people calling for the head of Wes Anderson I sat in the theater, wondering, when am I supposed to start hating this? While the movie is nothing to change your life over, I found nothing to hate. The story, such as there is one, may meander past the point of ever caring what happens to any of the characters (did Anjelica Huston rejoin Team Zissou at the end? Does it matter?) but there’s always another deadpan Bill Murray delivery just around the corner, or insane musical montage, or a different room with fabulous wallpaper. Wes Anderson’s four features have been progressively less realistic, more focused on whatever fetishes and obsessions clouded (probably) the filmmaker’s youth. Most agree he reached his high water mark with his second film, “Rushmore.” (His last film and this both deal with not living up to past success.) I won’t disagree; “Rushmore” is a more total film, but there is something to be said about ripping idiosyncratic fascinations out of your brain and getting them on screen. Too quirky for his own good is what people will say of Anderson if he keeps this up. Not so, if he maintains this level of care and dedication. I mean, after an international cast running around in light blue spandex to a Krafwerk-like beat through a typhoon-wrecked 60s hotel trying to rescue Bud Cort — where do you go from there? When Kerry was telling me why he hated this movie he did concede that it operates on some very specific wavelength, and that there were a few people on that wavelength at the theater he saw it in that seemed to be honing in on it while everyone else was quiet. If you don’t want to see a movie about an oceanographer/filmmaker having a midlife crises as he chases down a giant Jaguar Shark that may not exist, well, then this isn’t for you. I found myself amused and Ann freaking adored it.
August 28, 2006
August 19, 2007
January 29, 2011
February 14, 2010
Jordan Hoffman is a New York-based writer and film critic working for The Guardian, Vanity Fair, Thrillist, Times of Israel, NY Daily News and elsewhere.
He is the host of ENGAGE: The Official Star Trek Podcast, a member of the New York Film Critics Circle and challenges you to a game of backgammon.