SHERDOG MOVIE CLUB: Week 101 Discussion - The Grand Budapest Hotel

Discussion in 'Mayberry Lounge' started by europe1, Apr 11, 2018.

  1. europe1

    europe1 It´s a nice peninsula to Asia

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    NOTE to NON-MEMBERS: Interested in joining the SHERDOG MOVIE CLUB? Shoot me a PM for more info.

    Here's a quick list of all movies watched by the SMC.


    We're traveling to Wes Anderson-country this week. Get ready for picturesque framing and a color-tinting that can best be described as "cake".





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    Our Director
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    Wesley Wales Anderson was born in Houston, Texas. His mother, Texas Ann (Burroughs), is an archaeologist turned real estate agent, and his father, Melver Leonard Anderson, worked in advertising and PR. He has two brothers, Eric and Mel. Anderson's parents divorced when he was a young child, an event that he described as the most crucial event of his brothers and his growing up. During childhood, Anderson also began writing plays and making super-8 movies. He was educated at Westchester High School and then St. John's, a private prep school in Houston, Texas, which was later to prove an inspiration for the film Rushmore (1998).

    Anderson attended the University of Texas in Austin, where he majored in philosophy. It was there that he met Owen Wilson. They became friends and began making short films, some of which aired on a local cable-access station. One of their shorts was Bottle Rocket(1994), which starred Owen and his brother Luke Wilson. The short was screened at the Sundance Film Festival, where it was successfully received, so much so that they received funding to make a feature-length version. Bottle Rocket was not a commercial hit, but it gained a cult audience and high-profile fans, which included Martin Scorsese.

    Success followed with films such as Rushmore (1998), Life Aquatic (2004), The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) and an animated feature, Fantastic Mr Fox (2009). The latter two films earned Anderson Oscar nominations.


    Our Stars


    Ralph Finnes: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000146/?ref_=tt_ov_st_sm


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    Tony Revolori: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1727825/?ref_=ttfc_fc_cl_t17


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    Film Overview and YouTube Videos


    Premise: The adventures of Gustave H, a legendary concierge at a famous hotel from the fictional Republic of Zubrowka between the first and second World Wars, and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend.



    Budget: $25 million
    Box Office: $174.8 million





    Trivia
    (courtesy of IMDB)

    * Unlike most films, every time a newspaper article appears it has a detailed and complete depiction of the events in the headline, all written by Writer and Director Wes Anderson.

    * Tilda Swinton spent five hours in the make-up chair to play eighty-four-year-old dowager Madame D. "We're not usually working with a vast, Bruckheimer-type budget on my films, so often we're trying a work-around", said Wes Anderson. "But for the old-age make-up, I just said, 'Let's get the most expensive people we can'."

    * According to Writer and Director Wes Anderson, the whole cast stayed in the same hotel, Hotel Börse in Görlitz, during principal photography. He insisted all make-up and costume fittings happen in the hotel lobby to speed up filming. The owner of Hotel Börse appeared in the film as an extra working on the front desk of the Grand Budapest Hotel, and after filming finished for the day, the crew would often return to find him at the front desk of their own hotel.

    * According to "Variety", Fox Searchlight Pictures sent its specification for the film's "proper projection" to theaters before its release. Although this film was shot in three different aspect ratios (1.37, 1.85, and 2.35:1) to inform viewers where they are in the time line, which alternates between 1985, 1968, and the 1930s, instructions state in large, bold red font that the film is meant to be projected in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio (the standard). Aside from the projector setting, the directions include information on framing the picture, image brightness, audio configuration, and fader setting.

    * As of January 2015, this is the highest-grossing film of Wes Anderson's career, grossing 174.8 million dollars worldwide. It was also the highest-grossing independent film of 2014, and the highest-grossing limited-release film of 2014. In its first week, it grossed over eight hundred eleven thousand dollars in just four theatrical screenings, averaging two hundred two thousand dollars per screen.​

    Members: @shadow_priest_x @europe1 @MusterX @Scott Parker 27 @the muntjac @Caveat @Cubo de Sangre @sickc0d3r @chickenluver @Strange King @FrontNakedChoke @AndersonsFoot
     
  2. europe1

    europe1 It´s a nice peninsula to Asia

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    I would just like to point out that I think the funniest joke in this entire movie is that the villians can't distinguish a piece of art from a tawdry lesbian porn painting. :D

    Talk about characterization!
     
  3. Scott Parker 27

    Scott Parker 27 Your Mom's Box

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    Im glad this movie was picked. It really was a fun watch and I loved seeing the different angle of storytelling in it. Instead of it being about the main protagonist, the gay hotel dude, it was actually the story of the second protagonist, the bellboy. There are also many layers to the story. I have not seen a ton of Wes Anderson movies, but previous to this one I saw life aquatic, which at the time I didnt understand when I tried to watch in theaters. When I watched it about 3 years ago again, I really enjoyed it. Maybe my tastes of changed as Ive gotten older. Presently Im trying to play catch up and watch all of his movies. I tried to watch Rushmore yesterday, but for me it just didnt click. Anyone else feel similar?
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2018
  4. MusterX

    MusterX Steel Belt

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    I don't know what I can say about this movie right now. I liked it but I'm not sure exactly why which is weird considering how many films I've seen in my life. In some weird way it reminded me of films like Big Fish and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen.

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    I don't even know if the comparison is a valid one, its just a feeling that these sorts of film's give to the viewer. Much in the same way as Big Fish and Baron Munchausen, you have a tale being told and you aren't 100% sure how much of it is true or not or where it may go next. It bothers me that I like The Grand Budapest Hotel for reasons I can't entirely explain. The main two characters, M. Gustave and Zero turned in competent to excellent performances as quirky characters in a quirky world living under quirky circumstances.

    I probably need some time to think about this one as a whole and possibly another viewing but it feels like a 8.5/10 to me...for reasons I have trouble explaining.
     
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  5. AndersonsFoot

    AndersonsFoot Brown Belt

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    I enjoy the story in this movie, but it's basically everything else about it that made it great to me. It's very aesthetically pleasing. It manages to keep my attention just because I'm enjoying everything in the frame, even if I'm not really paying attention to what the characters are saying. I could probably watch this movie with no sound and be satisfied.

    The quirkiness is off the charts but done so well. Ralph Fiennes is great, the bellboy is good, and I didn't realize until recently that his love interest is Saoirse Ronan from Lady Bird. Overall this is a really phenomenal cast.

    The prison escape scene always cracks me up, basically Mr. Gustave's entire time there is a good time. When you find yourself in a place like this, you must never be a candy-ass. There are a lot of moments that I always find myself chuckling at even though I've seen it happen a dozen times. When Dmitri punching Gustave starts a chain reaction of people getting punched and knocked down, Gustave running from the police, etc.

    I'm not smart enough to properly convey why I really like a movie most of the time, but here I can say I basically enjoy everything about it. Characters, visuals, dialogue, story, cinematography. I can really respect a movie when it manages to be fun, even if it isn't exactly well made. But this is a perfect mix of both.
     
  6. pookiyama

    pookiyama Green Belt

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    Possibly the best shot movie I've ever seen.
     
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  7. MusterX

    MusterX Steel Belt

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    I really felt the same way in terms of liking the movie but unable to really articulate why. I think one thing is the dialogue is very good. Looking back in the past to a movie like 12 Angry Men, we see that a movie driven by dialogue can be very good if the dialogue is good enough. I get that feeling when I watch this film. The dialogue drives the film and even when almost nothing is happening it doesn't seem boring.

    M. Gustave was a wordsmith and there are several parts of the movie where this is illustrated, none so funny as his letter from prison to The Grand Budapest Hotel, accompanied by a 48 stanza poem. Its just ridiculous yet so good.
     
  8. AndersonsFoot

    AndersonsFoot Brown Belt

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    Mr. Gustave is so elegant when he speaks too. He really maximizes the already great dialogue.
     
  9. MusterX

    MusterX Steel Belt

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    What was the deal with Agatha? Gustave is killed by firing squad and then they said what happened to Agatha but I wasn't clear on that. Was she killed by invading forces or a disease of some kind?
     
  10. AndersonsFoot

    AndersonsFoot Brown Belt

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    Her and their infant son were killed by a disease. I forget the name, if it's even a real disease, but Zero said it can be cured quickly during the present day. I don't think he mentions her much after that.
     
  11. MusterX

    MusterX Steel Belt

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    Alright, so I went on an errand to figure this out. In the movie he says, she was killed by the Prussian-Greek, and I did find notes on Wiki about Prussian diseases similar to the plague but then I came across what is known as the Prussian Grippe which is I think what he says that sounds like "Prussian-Greek."

    Basically what it comes down to, is Prussian-Grippe is influenza.
     
  12. AndersonsFoot

    AndersonsFoot Brown Belt

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    Nice. I think Zero losing everything but the hotel was the way to go. It just adds another layer of emotion to the ending.
     
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  13. AndersonsFoot

    AndersonsFoot Brown Belt

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  14. europe1

    europe1 It´s a nice peninsula to Asia

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    This write-up might feel sappy. But damit, it's an Wes Anderson film. I don't know how else to write it.

    Gustav


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    Wes Anderson's style is a cushion for the melancholic. The story's in his films are often sad, depressive, or filled with some form of heartache or dejected longing... if they were to be taken at face value. But Anderson never really takes things at face value. His style is like a pillowy veener that lays over his films. It dampens the blow. It builds an colorful artifice and hides great emotional earnestness under said artifice.

    *pause for puking due to pretentiousness*

    Look at those quotes concerning Gustav. One is said by him -- the other about him. What are they about? The world is evil. All we can do is to put on an air of civility to mitigate that fact. That is what Gustav is trying to do. That is also what Wes Anderson is trying to do.

    Things look dire for the servants of The Grand Budapest. They're embroiled in this art feud with thuggish villians. Facism is spreading through Europe1.

    In his speech to Zero about managing the Hotel, Gustav points out that their job is to make their clientele happy. They are like an island of civility. The rich old widow loves the attention that Gustav gives her because he is the only one whom is tender with her. Gustav does have motivations for doing this in being written into her will — but it's also in-line with his overall mission-statement, being an island of civility in callous times.


    However — a bit unusual for Wes Anderson films — Gustav's facade cracks at several points. He says "oh fuck it" when in the train. He curses visiously right after escaping prison -- barely managing to keep up apperences in such an ungodly enviorment. Right afterwards, he also callously quesitons why Zero would immigrate penniless to a place that doesn't even need him.

    The pressure is getting to Gustav. It is making him boil. This is a level of "imperfection" that we didn't see in previous Wes Anderson films. He shows cracks in his stylistic whimsy — allowing the desperation of the situation creep through.

    Wes Anderson's style is always pitched in this zone where it could — at first — be interpreted as either hipster sarcasm or sentimental earnestness. I believe, that it is little touches like this — the brief cracks in the pleasant facade of people like Gustav -- in which the film really does earn it's emotional earnestness. Gustav wants to keep up appearances, he wants to bring civility to the world. But at times, not even he can.

    Moustafa

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    So the entire story is told to us by Moustafa. Well, actually it's a young girl telling a story about the author who meet Moustafa... but he's the main jist of the storytelling.

    What can we gleam from that fact? Wilkinson notices Moustafa lonesomeness. Then, Moustafa contacts Wilkinson (it is he who initiates conversation, not Wilkinson), and as a result of that, the story is told.

    I said that Wes Anderson uses his style as a cusion of melancholia.
    Then I said that Gustav's mission-statement is to be an island of civility in a callous world.
    Moustafa wants to tell a story that highlights his good times.

    Moustafa tells a story of great tribulation, adventure and eventual triumph. This is the main plot of the film. These are his happy moments -- his formative period, when he had a father figure (Gustav) and meet the love of his life, Agatha. [side-note, am I the only person who always thinks of Agartha when I hear the name Agatha?]

    All this is told with Anderson's usual pomp and style. However, when it comes to the tradgedy, he is brutally succinct.

    And right afterwards, Agatha and their child dies from a disease.

    And then -- Moustafa tells Wilkinson that he can't bear to sell the Hotel because they are his only link to his happy days. Obviously, a hotel is a poor substitute for your father and your love. So he spends his time as Wilkinson first noticed him, in abject loneliness.

    Him telling the story -- is then his attempt to relive his happy days through storytelling. Wes Anderson pillowy styles highlights this fact, accentuating all the pleasantries of the Hotel in it's glory days. When tragedy comes -- neither of them is nowhere to be seen.

    So what we have here, is a series of people trying to mitigate the evil in the world by exalting the good.

    *ending with puking due to pretentiousness*
     
  15. europe1

    europe1 It´s a nice peninsula to Asia

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    It's so fucking funny how the constaple looks at his assossiate for the mere trifle of a second as if going "did he just run away from us!?" before chasing after him. :D

    See, for me, Anderson is pleasant to watch but his aesthetics isn't really fascinating. That is to say, he doesn't leave much of a lasting impression. Stylistically, he is all about center-framing, frames-within-frames, and a cakey colour palette.

    On Youtube, there are a bunch of Wes Anderson fan videos, where his minions ape his style. They are able to do so rather thoroughly. I think this sort-of lies behind why I can't get into him so much. In his ostentatiousness, he is actually rather easy to ape, easily to deconstruct, there is a "shallowness" (for lack of a better term) to his stlye. Though in Budapest Hotel, he really brings out the all of his animal cunning in making his style as imaginative as possible
     
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  16. sickc0d3r

    sickc0d3r Black Belt

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    We Anderson films are an experience, and this was the most Wes Anderson-y film I have ever seen. The use of color, perspective, and choreography really gives the impression of a storybook brought to life. Or a series of illustrations across an expansive tapestry.

    Every shot is a meticulously crafted work of art. Even as the camera pans from one shot to the next, left or right or up or down or forward or back, it does so in a blur as if turning a page, and lands precisely on the next perfectly centered frame.

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    Physical movement against that perspective often feels like a live action simulation of stop motion, which is ironic since stop motion was originally a way to bring three dimensions to animation, while this film's set pieces paint a very two dimensional picture out of a three dimensional world.

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    It's quite hypnotic, and maybe a little distracting at times. Like, I think there was a story here about an effeminate confidence man who liked to dupe old ladies out of their money, and who is accused of murdering one of his marks. But it could have been a sham-wow infomercial and I'd barely have noticed.

    I really did enjoy the old school acting, though, especially from Fiennes. He nails the humor and the tone.

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    All-in-all, a great film. Probably the best I have seen from Anderson.
     
  17. sickc0d3r

    sickc0d3r Black Belt

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    Hilarious that he was a little upset, but ready to forgive Zero for failing to bring disguises and some other stuff, but flew off the handle and made it personal when he learned he didn't have his perfume. "I just got out of prison! I smell awful!!"
     
  18. Cubo de Sangre

    Cubo de Sangre Steel Belt

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    What an enjoyable film. Totally dug it. With hotel in the name and the quirkiness, I was initially reminded of The Hotel New Hampshire. This quickly proved different. Almost like a Coen Brothers flick. Lobby boy was awesome. Great casting. Loved Agatha's birth-mark (at first I actually though Italy, lol). The star cameos were fun. Not sure how well Norton pulled off his.

    Dafoe was good but most of his scenes didn't work for me. The film went from quirky to fantastic where he was concerned. The whole skiing/sledding scene was fun but totally ludicrous. Him strolling into the prison made no sense. Mostly though I find the Goldblum killing annoying. He's on a crowded bus, sees he's followed, should know he's in danger, then proceeds to go to some secluded spot for no apparent reason. And of course Dafoe easily found and caught him without ever breaking stride. It's like the worst shit out of a horror movie. But whatever. That's about all I can criticize and it did very little to diminish my overall enjoyment.

    Excellent selection, club!!
     
  19. Cubo de Sangre

    Cubo de Sangre Steel Belt

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    Interesting observation on Baron Munchausen. Not sure I agree though. In this film I took everything at face value. In Munchausen I took it all as fabrication, but dismissable due to the entertainment value of his embellishments.


    That was the one other spot I wondered about. Him running was funny, but seemed out of character. Not to mention it should have been easy to establish he wasn't in the area such that he could have done it. It was an out of town trip, near as I can tell. Plus Norton saw him on the train heading too the estate. Him saying he couldn't divulge his alibi to protect a woman's honor seemed like convenient writing. I don't know. Just didn't seem right.
     
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  20. europe1

    europe1 It´s a nice peninsula to Asia

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    Good point!

    That's another good point.

    I've always thought of someone like Buster Keaton in Anderson's two-dimensioalness. There is an silent era-quality to it.

    Don't forget frames within frames. Rectangles within rectangles within rectangles.

    See, I think that is a bit indicative of what I was talking about previously. About how Gustave wants to bring an air of civility to the world.

    We actually center on perfume bottles at one point in the movie. When we're shown Gustave's private quaters -- and he's eating his breakfast in his sleeping wear.

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    Gustave can forgive practical concerns. Masks an such. But he needs the perfume to beautify the world, to keep up appearances, to keep up his veneer of civility.

    I was thinking of Raising Arizona a few times.

    Lol, I thought of the very same thing.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2018

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