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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

These Are O. R. Scrubs

It seems like it was written in the stars.

It seems to have been ordained from the start.

Before they were conceived by Wes Anderson, we all knew I was going to love them.

Aside from "Bottle Rocket" (too unintentionally uneven) and "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou" (too intentionally droll), I've been pretty much in love.

And, it's like-- obviously. I wear glasses. I'm emotionally overwrought. I'm eccentric. I'm... white. Why shouldn't I, wouldn't I, couldn't I love Wes Anderson movies? Is there any reason, conceivable or otherwise?

No. There isn't.

There are people I know and care about and respect who don't like these movies, and I can appreciate that. I understand and acknowledge that. But I can also remember seeing "Rushmore" in the movie theatre in Manayunk with a good friend of mine who's long since moved away to Minnesota and we maybe talk once every three years, if that. And I can remember, as Rod Stewart and "The Faces" clanged along with their guitars and their off-key piano as Max Fisher and his teacher met on the dance floor to complete his, and Wes Anderson's, fantasia-- I cried. It wasn't the hysterical, heaving, heart-bursting crying that came out of me, and my two sisters, as we arrived at the end of Tim Burton's "Big Fish", it was a much more restrained, tears forming and rolling kind of crying. More like falling, it was. And we could spend a lot of time talking about what that was and why that was, but I don't really see much of a point in doing that.

It just... was.

I was having a chat with a friend of mine recently about Wes Anderson movies, and it's not easy having a chat with a new friend, about anything, really, but it's made extra tricky when he's a great deal more intelligent than I am, and knows more about pretty much anything that we happen to discuss. He is an extroardinary film buff, and so I tread lightly in conversation. I like to listen to him talk, and I am much happier when I'm listening to him than when I'm talking to him. But I realized something very interesting (at least, it's interesting to me) during our chat about Wes Anderson films. My friend was talking about how, in the "Darjeeling, Ltd" there wasn't a central location that the action centered around to ground the film, and that bothered him. In "Rushmore" it was, well, Rushmore Academy. In "The Royal Tenenbaums", it was 111 Archer Avenue. In "The Life Aquatic" it was the submarine. I argued that, in "Darjeeling, Ltd" it was the train, and noted the meticulous care that was taken to paint the train and to treat it as another character in the film, but I don't think my friend was buying it. And, frankly, I wasn't buying it either, because I couldn't conceive of how something like that even mattered. And it made me realize that this friend of mine and I look at film in an entirely different way. He conceptualizes and is engaged by construct and directorial intent. His way of looking at films is technical and almost clinical.

I fall in love with the characters. I crave them. I ache when they try to connect with each other and cannot. The scene where Chas drags Royal into the old closet filled with board games to rip him a new asshole. The scene where Mrs. Fox tells Mr. Fox she never should have married him. The scene where Francis tells Peter and Jack, "I want us to become brothers again, like we used to be." The scene where Miss. Cross offers Herman a carrot.

I just... I don't know.

This past weekend, Mrs. Apron and I took my aunt who's visiting from Australia to an Art for the Cash-Poor art show in Northern Liberties. If you know Philadelphia, you won't be surprised to hear that it was a hipster art show. Chicks with sleeve tattoos carrying ironic dogs. Dudes in little plaid shirts and skinny jeans and wax-tipped moustaches. One vendor was selling computer-art renderings of Wes Anderson film posters. Another vendor was selling oil-on-canvas paintings of scenes from Wes Anderson films-- Baumer sitting on the bench waiting for Margot to step off the Green Line Bus, etcetera. I was instantly embarrassed by my love for these films, these movies that I seemed pre-destined to connect with. Of course, I bought three of the posters anyway. Because, let's face it, you can't stop love.



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