The Wes Anderson phenomenon is one that’s pretty easy for me to criticize. You’ve got a filmmaker with a set of extremely well-defined tropes, quirky dialogue from determinedly simple characters, vintage color palettes, and a cinematic style which you could call “quaint”, “miniature”, or straight up “silly”. The world is an antique dollhouse, and the same handful of actors reunite to play dress-up every couple years, to ironic hipster laughter and critical acclaim.
It’d be easy for me to say that, if he weren’t so damn talented. Anderson is a filmmaker with such a singular vision, it’s impossible for me not to drink the Kool-Aid. Grand Budapest Hotel didn’t have the heart of Rushmore or the Royal Tenenbaums, the childlike soul of Moonrise Kingdom, or the pure joy of Fantastic Mr. Fox. But what it lacks in heart, it more than makes up for in whimsy and complexity. Even if the story isn’t profound, the meta-story of a director and his band of traveling actors committing to their zany plot points and nonexistent country, pulls me in.
Armed with a beer, sore throat, and the level of energy that comes with an 11pm recording, Chris and I review GBH: