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Discussion in 'Mayberry Lounge' started by europe1, Apr 11, 2018.
For me it was more Barton Fink.
That's a sound connection. Gilliam and Burton are idiosyncratic directors, just like Anderson. Yorgos Lanthimos would be the extreme version.
Further Burton and Anderson wear their childhood experiences and traumas on their sleeves and often populate their films with super quirky characters surrounding a lone lead who clearly marches to the beat of a different drum. While Anderson is a bit Kubrickian with his commitment to central framing, his and Burton's films still feel like family affairs. People in rooms discussing banal situations with ludicrous perspectives, plus a would-be iconoclast who may or may not suffer sociopathy.
All three express adoration for composition, and often use pastels and pinks in their color palettes. And I daresay the fractured chronology across all three more than suggests similarity.
I actually saw this as a commentary on class and the rights that are inherent to a person within a particular class of society, in a specific place. Gustav bangs rich old women and works in a luxurious hotel. But he sleeps in a shabby room where the focus of the shot are his perfume bottles, his attempt to be worthy and of acceptance because of his expensive scent. He knows his place in society. When faced with an arrest driven by a wealthy nobel, he knew who would have credence with the authorities. It makes total sense to me that he panicked and ran. It’s the same real life intelligence that told him that he needed to fight in prison so that he wouldn’t appear as a victim. I would also caution against using the rights we inherently have as Americans, as rights that exist in the rest of the world. To me it is credible that nobody would believe, or give a shit, about whether he had an alibi or not.
"Charming! Oh, how charming! How marvelously, stupendously charming!"
I feel like that's what Wes Anderson wants us to say about his films.
And indeed they are charming. And they're extremely well-crafted. And he has a knack for bringing together these excellent ensemble casts and getting top-notch performances out of them.
But for as charming as they are, and as well-crafted as they are, and as well cast and acted as they are, I can't avoid the fact that I always only find them moderately entertaining. That is, I enjoy them. But I'm always left feeling at the end that they were a trifle that didn't amount to much. That's probably not fair, but it's how I end up feeling. They are always worth the time, but only marginally.
Grand Budapest is no different. I can find almost nothing to criticize about it . . . beyond the fact that at the end my reaction is simply, "Eh, yeah, that was all right."
I had seen it once before, and frankly, of the four choices this was the third down the list for me. I would've preferred to re-watch either Rushmore or Moonrise Kingdom.
I'll give it a 7.5/10 but that score is bolstered by the sheer level of craftsmanship on display.
You may have seen this already, but for anyone who hasn't:
Whoa! Gotta shift my paradigm here. <chugs beer, hits, bong, pets dog>
Yep. Wonderful observation. Thanks for expanding my view on the film. You're already an asset to the club.
Now is there any way you can talk me down on the misplaced absurdity of the Defoe scenes? For me that's about all that stands in the way of perfection.
Are you a fan of subtle humor? This film seems to be based on the acting more than the gags.
To me, the entire movie was an exploration of the absurd and a gentle mocking of traditional movie scenes and tropes. I expected certain things to happen and I feel like the director played with that anticipation. I worried that Agatha would be violently hurt, but she died by natural causes (Prussian flue - club members have already researched it for us!!! Thank you dude who looked up the flue shit!),
I expected the Fly to jump off the train and run into the proverbial dark and forbidding place that would result in his death. I expected multi-ringed Dafoe to track him by scent alone, coz he is a bad mofo and that is how those characters roll in movies! In some cases, the scenes played out stereotypically, but expertly, and in others they subverted our expectations, and they subverted some of them for our better good (I was relieved that Agatha died of natural causes) and some of them to soften the blow, like when Gustav died by gunshot but we weren't forced to see it.
I appreciate a movie that mocks itself. I feel like this one did that. Like there were moments where they were laughing out loud at themselves as they were creating the scenes. They didn't take themselves too seriously.
I'm all for mocking. It's the subjective boundaries of consistency that got me with those scenes.
It was definitely a set-up with Agatha. And well-done too because the result was the same but it felt totally different than had it gone done violently. Less cynical perhaps?
If you're happy with impossiblillity breaking the veneer of believable quirkiness then cool. And as I've stated, I love the movie in spite of these criticisms. But they still exist in my mind and that's the nature of the beast (i.e. critique). As an aside, the Dafoe character, the way you describe it, reminds me of Buscemi in Things To Do In Denver When You're Dead. Maybe you've seen that one?
I'm not sure I'd say it mocked itself so much as I agree it came from a perspective of not taking itself too seriously. Similar, but maybe in the middle I suppose. We might have different notions of "mocking". I didn't see this as a send-up or parody in anyway. Like how Scream both mocked horror and turned the tables at the same time.
I absolutely agree that it isn't Scream mocking caliber....I would say the adjective gentle applies to every aspect of this film, including what I have described as self-mocking. I think maybe it lies between my characterization of self mocking and your characterization of not taking itself too seriously....and I do get the Buscemi reference
In this film, Buscemi is so clearly a character. He is the two dimensional equivalent of the train going up the mountain. They all were to a degree, G and M were given some depth, but in general were also very caricature like. This felt like a movie poking gentle fun at movies with varying degrees of success in their choice of scenes. Buscemi bothered you. I wasn't offended by that level of implausibility, but felt that the scene where Agatha looked though the roof and then the other lady's head was presented was a little cheap. But like you said, its all small potatoes...great, fun movie overall...
The film is mostly gentle with well-placed breaks that add juxtoposition. Gustave's brutal insults assessments and his attempted undressing of Zero after the escape served to add somewhat of an edginess to the film overall. For my money that worked in its favor.
Yeah, not much depth of character outside of the two main protagonists. At least not in the writing. I'd think that's where you need acting. Human subtlety and pictures being worth a thousand words. Even though I saw Bill Murray as Murray, he still sold me on the role. Would totally want him as a concierge.
Buscemi didn't bother me in the context of that movie. It added to it that he was this in-stoppable pee-wee dude. The film did stop short of having the audience witness the implausible though. For whatever that's worth.
I liked that film. Saw it at the theater on an early date in a long-term relationship. Fond memories for sure. A subsequent viewing had me convinced the movie was trying just a bit too hard to be hip though. This came on the radio during the trip home. We sang together. Greatest Rock 'n Roll song ever. Guess it was destiny we're married today.
She's literally making me a sammich at this very moment! Ha!
I hope she's a good cook! Nothin like a tasty sammich on a Friday night....Buen provecho!
Every time I see Wes Anderson I wonder how he would react if I were to dunk right in front of him. Would it shatter his world-image? Can he even concieved of something like that happening?
See, to me, that was more indicative of the "story-within-a-story" aspect of the film.
Mustapha -- the Lion King -- is telling all of this as a story to the writer, Wilkinson. He does it because he want's to relieve the happy, formative parts of his life. He skims over the death of Agetha and Gustav because he doesn't want to dwell on the sadness of their passing. He even says at one point in the movie that he can't talk much about Agetha because of how much it pains him. The filmmaking decisions being a result of taking this vantage-point.
I've never seen that, thanks. Apparently he is obsessed with symmetry. As @europe1 mentioned, shapes are also used heavily and meticulously to frame shots and provide lines or references of perspective. It's kind of mesmerizing, I really like it.
Something-something-something Kubrick better Wes Andersson symetry.
You'll get no argument from me, I love Kubrick.
Wes brings his own unique feel, though, so I get to like his stuff in a completely different way.
Was it just me, or did this feel like you were watching a kids movie for adults? The goofy and cartoony nature of some scenes, such as them hopping over the guards sleeping in the beds, the sled chase scene, the silliness of some characters, the set design and costume colors, and even the lighthearted firefight at the end gave the movie a tonal feel you would expect in a kids movie. I'm not saying this is a negative thing, but I feel as though I watched something for children had it not been for some R-Rated violence, sexual depictions, and swearing.
I really only have positive things to say. The movie looked fantastic, and I loved the way it's shot. At times, it reminded me of Terry Gilliam's style. Fiennes was by far the standout, and I really enjoyed his character. The story was fun, and even though it featured family betrayal and murder, a dangerous hitman, tragic loss of loved ones, and had a sad ending for Zero, I didn't walk away overly bummed out by this one. The movie keeps its dark-natured moments lighthearted by masking it with quirky humor or not dwelling in its own sorrow.
Fun and good looking flick. Would watch again.
Also, I’m off to see Isle of Dogs this very minute, so I’m primed for more Wes.
I think the difference between Terry Gilliam and Wes Anderson style is that Gilliam has a much more lived-in, world-weary design. In Anderson's work everything is meticulously pristine, from the costuming to the framing, it's all built up like a loving doll house. Gilliam is much more about absurdity and grotesqueness of his visuals, there is a chaotic side to him.
Gilliam also involves his camera in his style a lot more than Anderson does who usually relies on framing. Low-shots and dutch angles and such.
Obviously, on a storytelling and thematic front, they're quite different. Virtually all of Anderson's film seems to be about characters that are experiencing personal abysses. While Gilliam is much more wide-ranging, touching on stuff like authoritarianism, bureaucracy but also personal wishes and longings.
I get your sentiment about his work because it’s how I felt after watching Royal Tenebaums, Life Aquatic, and just recently Isle of Dogs. They’re objectively good, but I still feel no desire to ever revisit them. Well, maybe Life Aquatic some day because it’s been several years, and I might like it more now as a seasoned moviegoer.
However, I liked Grand Budapest enough to where I think it was pretty entertaining, and I’d gladly watch it again. I felt the same about Fantastic Mr. Fox. All the Wes movies I’ve named are all the ones I’ve seen, so I still have a handful to go.
In fact, watching Budapest Hotel felt like flipping through pages of a very well-drawn and colorful children’s book, especially when the centered perfectly symmetrical framing style gives it that flattened look, as if it were on a page. Then you have the chapters, which also gives it that storybook feel.
Edit: To add more:
As for the Gilliam comparisons, I guess I draw the likenesses from the whimsical tone, the overall quirkiness, the use of stop motion animation, and the use of miniatures and painted backgrounds, which gives it an artsy touch. But your differences are on point.
Strange to me. Both of you seem to praise the film for its composition, praising it almost as a work of art, but at the same time, dislike it for its content. One of you feels that its pretentious, while the other would characterize it as, dare I say, boooring. I didn't get that feeling, either way, when watching the film. The character Gustave was pretentious, but he liked to keep up the illusion right and I never felt that the story was just "all right." I felt more like the sets and dialogue all fit together in a nice way that ended in the sadness of an old man who's best days were behind him. The ending, if anything, felt real to me. That is what life does to a great many of us. In the end, all we have is memories from an earlier day.