Episode 9: Moonrise Kingdom & The Wes Anderson Debate

Aaron, Mark and David Blakeslee talk about Moonrise Kingdom, which ties closely to personal events in David’s life that he was generous to share with us. We also discuss the dichotomy of Wes Anderson. Why is he such a divisive director? What is it about him that attracts and repels people with such passion?

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Show notes:

Special Guest: David Blakeslee from Criterion Reflections, CriterionCast, and The Eclipse Viewer. You can find him on Twitter.

Outline:

0:00 – Intro, Welcome, Shout-Outs
17:50 – News
27:30 – Moonrise Kingdom
1:26:15 – The Wes Anderson Debate

Intro

David and Mark on Pierrot le fou
David and Mark on Red Beard
David and Aaron on Violence at Noon

David’s infamous Criterion shelf image that went viral.

News

Barnes and Noble Sale – potential confirmation

Flash sale incoming?

Newsletter Drawing – Rivette?

Ousmane Sembene Phantom Page

Welcome to Criterion’s Online Cinematheque

Moonrise Kingdom

David’s Moonrise Kingdom video for Brandon and Katie.

David's Moonrise KIngdom swag.

David’s Moonrise KIngdom swag.

Where to Find Us:

Mark Hurne: Twitter | Letterboxd
Aaron West: Twitter | Blog | Letterboxd
Criterion Close-Up: Twitter | Email

Posted on October 3, 2015, in Criterions, Film, Podcast. Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. The playback got a little wonky when you started debating Anderson, so I couldn’t catch it all.

    I hated Bottle Rocket, sort of like Rushmore, but really started loving Anderson aftert those two. I’ve described his films on my own blog as having a sort of “pastel sweetness” to them, and that’s what I love. I think the man is a genius filmmaker.

    • Interesting. That’s something we picked up on. Some people take to the first two films and are lost with the rest, and others are the opposite.

      Just curious, how was the playback wonky? We tested on our end and it sounded fine. Can you give more specifics? We can try to fix and get it back up.

      • It got a little choppy (but I am running a ton of stuff on the laptop right now), then it just stopped. I can’t get it to play. I’ll try again later, when I’m done with some of the other things I have going on. It’s probably on my end, not yours.

        Back to the films, though: I would like to give Bottle Rocket another shot just to see how my age has changed how I view it. And don’t get me wrong, I l ike Rushmore, but I believe it is one of his weaker films.

      • Phew. You had me worried. Wes’ work is odd and people do react strongly to it, which is something we tried to investigate. I am a big fan of Bottle Rocket, but if you didn’t engage the first time, then I’m willing to bet you won’t a second time.

  2. I definitely liked his last two movies quite a bit. Prior to that he was always hit or miss. Nice to see you have made this divisive artist a podcast subject!

  3. Entertaining, healthy Wes Anderson discussion. Each podcast is getting better.
    Other than recalling the trailer for Rushmore years ago I had never seen one of his films until I started my Criterion collecting. I watched Rushmore and was blown away by the random, intelligent humor. He has tweaked the quirky, whimsical story-line to near perfection with Budapest. Not sure where he takes it from here especially since Budapest took him to a new level of mainstream popularity.
    My order would be:
    1. Rushmore 2. Moonrise Kingdom 3-T. Royal Tenenbaums 3 – T. Grand Budapest
    5. Darjeeling Limited 6. Life Aquatic 7. Mr. Fox 8. Bottle Rocket
    However, there are none that I dislike or cannot sit through multiple viewings.

    • From all that I’ve heard since the episode, you’re an outlier in that you have Rushmore and Bottle Rocket at opposite ends of the spectrum. Most people pair those films, either love them or hate them. I am in the love camp, but I am mostly fond of his other work (despite all the Haterade I was drinking).

      • It’s not that I dislike Bottle Rocket, but I watched it after Rushmore, Tenenbaums, and Mr. Fox. As his first film it naturally seemed a little raw with glimpses of where he would eventually take his other movies. While his other films (other than Darjeeling) created more of a fantasy world around the characters, Bottle Rocket is more of an internal fantasy.
        I can’t wait to see what he does next. Along with Malick I think Wes is one of the most intriguing modern day directors. You recognize that he sets his own course with his craft and is not simply looking for a big paycheck.

  4. Here’s a blog post from Indiewire on some lesser known films that inspired Wes Anderson to make Moonrise Kingdom:

    http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/wes-anderson-says-francois-truffauts-small-change-ken-loachs-black-jack-alan-parkers-melody-are-influences-on-moonrise-kingdom-20120410

    Truffaut’s Small Change seems to be a title that Criterion may release in the future. It got a new 35mm theatrical tour (almost five years though) and and Anderson is a big fan of the film. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

    • Appreciate you sharing that. Ken Loach makes perfect sense even though I haven’t seen that one. I’m a fan of Small Change, which definitely could get Criterion release or possibly Twilight Time. He probably saw Amarcord as well.

  5. Thanks for this. Here’s another take on Anderson, although I’ll say that I really enjoy nearly all his films and love more than a few.

    For my taste, I increasingly adored Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, and Royal Tenenbaums, with Tenenbaums being my favourite for balancing emotion with Anderson’s fastidious production design. Life Aquatic loses some of the emotional sincerity in exchange for a more ambitious world-building and Darjeeling falters significantly.

    I agree that Fox succeeds by challenging Anderson, although I think it has less to do with it being animated. Rather, Anderson is obliged to put his aesthetic into the service of (1) the material of someone else – Dahl – and (2) a genre with something of its own conventions – a children’s film – thereby obliging him to organize his efforts rather than indulge in them. Moonrise doesn’t quite reach Fox levels of success but is still a very good film for the same reason – Anderson is making a 1960s/70s-styled young adult novel (read: no teenage vampire or dystopias, just kids with problems).

    I’ll go out on a limb and say that I strongly appreciate Budapest without loving it, putting it in a similar category to Life Aquatic. It is an impressive and entertaining world that lacks the sincerity or emotional depth of Rushmore, Tenenbaums, or Fox.

    I presently feel about Anderson much the same way I felt before Fox, that he needs to put his style in the service of something else (a genre or a specific pre-existing work) and I’ve always felt that Anderson needs to make a movie about movie-making. It would allow for a large ensemble, obsessions over sets and props, Anderson-ian anxiety, and a high degree of self-awareness and reflexivity. Basically, I want a 2-hour version of his Mastercard commercial.

  1. Pingback: The Martian, Everest and Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival on Monday Morning Diary (October 5) | Wonders in the Dark

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