Monday, November 23, 2009


[Warning: this post contains Unnecessary Capitalization.]

After seeing The Fantastic Mr. Fox, in which Wes Anderson applies his by now overly familiar bag of tricks and tics to an animated Roald Dahl adaptation and succeeds beyond all expectation, I naturally got to Looking Back and Taking Stock of the filmmaker's Career So Far. This is what I came up with:

Anderson has made three more or less completely successful films out of six, Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, and Mr. Fox. The other three each contain some great things, but none of them quite Achieve Unity. Look back at the filmographies of some of the Great Directors, and I think you'll agree that .500 is a solid average*.

*Of course, you might also point out that many of the Great Directors of the past were cranking out movies at a much faster clip, making the occasional Indifferent Effort inevitable. To which I might rejoin that the faster pace of movie making in the Golden Age of Hollywood prevented directors from overthinking, thus helping to produce the scores of relaxed, effortless-seeming masterpieces we treasure today. In the end, though, Wes Anderson would have been as out of place working in the Studio System as Howard Hawks^ would be in today's Hollywood.

^Hawks might not be the best choice as an example here. Although he could be considered Anderson's opposite in some ways, Hawks was famously independent of the studio system and took on projects at his own pace. Still, take a look at the periods 1938-1941 and 1944-1949 in Hawks' filmography to get a sense of the tremendous streaks of creative productivity of which he was capable.

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