Wednesday, May 7, 2014

A Dear Wes Letter: To a Visually Inventive Yet One Trick Pony Auteur from a Disenfranchised Former Fanatic and Angry Critic

Dear Wes Anderson,

Wes, oh Wes. Your movies are truly things of beauty. There is no doubt about this. But something is wrong. Something is oh so wrong. Something is indeed rotten in the state of your films, and this is a sad sad thing. If you had been a hack from day one, this would not bother me so much. I would just ignore your films and move on, but alas, you were not a hack from day one...but that aforementioned hackdom is creeping deeper and deeper into your oeuvre with each new film. You did start out fun though. With your first film, 1996's Bottle Rocket, you showed great promise as a budding new indie filmmaker. It was a fresh and funloving film. You were a bright spot on the cinematic horizon, indeed. So far, so good, Wes. Then came Rushmore, the film that took you from promising newcomer to cocky upstart. It was easily one of the best films of 1998, and maybe one of the best of the entire decade, and you dear sir, had made it. It would only be accolades from here on in, baby. 2001 brought The Royal Tenenbaums, and (in my humble opinion) the best movie, the very pinnacle of your career. You had indeed made it now. From newcomer to upstart to full-fledged fucking auteur, in just five short years. Pretty impressive, Wes. Pretty fucking impressive. If you had kept up this growing as a filmmaker, you would have easily become one of my favourite directors working today, much like that other Anderson of cinematic prowess. But alas poor Wes, I suppose I did not know you at all.

You would follow Tenenbaums up with mere copies of what you had already done. From here on in, it would be the same thing over and over and over and over again. Sure, using the tricks and tropes learned from watching the likes of Kubrick and Godard are just fine and dandy. I mean, you obviously know film history, and you are obviously a great cinephile. In fact, I would love to talk cinema with you. But all of this notwithstanding, at some point, you stopped growing and have become one long plateau of hipster-bait, one trick ponydom. Using these tricks and tropes without any growth whatsoever. It's sad, really. What the hell happened, Wes!? What the hell happened!!? Now I do not mean to say that your movies are bad, per se. Because they are not. It's not like you are Michael Bay or Uwe Boll, for Christ's sake, or that guy who keeps directing Adam Sandler in things. It's not like you are M. Night Shyamalan, who actually manages to get worse with each and every damn film. God no! But then again, maybe if you did get worse with each and every damn film, at least there would be some sort of movement in some sort of direction. But hell no, Wes! Hell no! From The Life Aquatic to The Darjeeling Limited to Moonrise Kingdom to The Grand Budapest Hotel, you have stagnated. Never getting any better, but then never getting any worse either.

None of these films are necessarily bad (I do so love your obvious scale models and stop motion sequences, and your sets are often delightful as can be), just disappointing in their lack of growth. I realize that you work with the same troupe of actors in each movie, and perhaps that is part of why all your films seem to be the same old same old. But it can't be just that, now can it, Wes? No it cannot! What it comes down to is this: you are a lazy filmmaker. Sure, you may have fooled the easily fooled hipster crowd that is your bread and motherfucking butter, but those guys will eat up anything they hear might be trendy or ironically trendy, or whatever the fuck those idiots are into. But you have not fooled me, dear Wes. No sirree. The same colours, the same camera angles (or lack of angles, as may be the case), the same voiceovers, and the same silly antics - each and every goddamn time. Sure, as an auteur, you are meant to have your signature moves. I mean, where would Scorsese be without his tracking shots, or Hitchcock without his overheads, or Welles without his shadows? But these signature moves should highlight your film, not overpower it. Overpower it so much, that I can no longer tell the difference between any of your films. Sure, your stop motion Fantastic Mr. Fox was a blossom in an otherwise field of the same damn flower stalks, but otherwise, it's nigh impossible to tell your Darjeeling from your Steve Zissou. Okay, perhaps that is a bit of hyperbole, but you see what I'm getting at. Dontchya Wes? With each and every movie, I hope beyond hope that this will be the one that fulfills the promise you once had, but each and every time, I am disappointed. Damn you, Wes! Damn you!!

So there you go, Wes. I have had enough. I have given up. Even if you are a snazzy dresser (hipsters be damned!), I just can't take it anymore. That's it. You win, Wes. You win. You and your hipster throngs can have your oeuvre from now on. I quit. Unlike with M. Night Shambalamadingdong, where I actually hope each film is worse than the last one, I have had nothing but hope with each of your new films. But enough, dammit! ENOUGH!!! I vow to never watch another film by you Wes. Never again will you fool me. Never again will you disappoint me. We are so over, Wes! So fucking over!! Okay, who the hell am I kidding? Of course I'm going to go see your next movie. But I'm not going to like it. Take that dude. Take that!

Sincerely yours, a one-time fan


  1. Oh I feel the wind and I might die-oh no it is just M. Knight letting out a fart..I mean a film. I love the Royal Tenenbaums but have not seen the others but really wanted to see The Grand Budapest Hotel. Now he looks a bit creepy sitting in that chair. He looks like he could be another gay hit-man from James Bond. Actually I wanted to see all these films so now I must make it my mission to see this and see if I agree with you or if you had too much coffee:) I have a feeling I may be agreeing but we shall see

  2. On a more serious note-I had a very sad client just now-his daughter passed away in his arms. he is older and not working and must now sell his home. He needs to find ways to sell off some of the items he has collected over the years. he has Star wars merchandise that he bought in '77. Star Trek stuff. Dr. Who figures and other assorted super hero stuff. he has a book with movie stills signed by Margaret Mitchell about Gone With The Wind and even the first book about the Titanic written in 1912. he has no family and has no idea where he could sell this. Do you know of anything on-line that he might be able to go to? I thought I would ask since you have quite the knowledge of all of this. I just thought i would ask

  3. Fox - Yup, I told him alrighty.

    B - The only thing I can really think of is e-bay. Maybe contact a local comic shop and see if they can maybe sell on consignment or know a collector who would buy the stuff.