Thursday, November 01, 2007

Two Things I Already Knew

An appointment was canceled at the last minute today so I went to the movies. I did a sneaky double feature -- two first-run movies for the price of one. I wanted to see Michael Clayton again. And I was right in doing so as it was as good the second time around. I said as much the other day in my post Not So Pretty As You Please. A couple of scenes seemed slowed by my foreknowledge, but overall I was maybe even more interested in the film. The scene between Clooney and Wilkinson on the street in Tribeca is amazing. Were I still teaching acting I would assign that scene. Hell, I might even shoot it as an exercise. It was interesting to watch and see where Gilroy played his hand, especially since there's an elliptical flash-forward scene. Like did he slip stuff in knowing we might not notice it the first time around. Not so much. He steered well clear of clever. And Tilda Swinton, once you know what she's doing, is even better. Anyway it's a solid film, one worth seeing and then seeing again. So that's one of the things I already knew.
I saved the second viewing of Michael Clayton for dessert. I suffered through the liver and onions of my entree first aka The Darjeeling Limited. I've surmised in this blog that I think I might hate theater. I might just have to admit that to myself and save my whining and my money. As a side note, my friend David Millstone issued a call for help on finding monologues for some upcoming auditions. He asks what roles we might like to pay $75 to see him play. Taking nothing from David, but I wanted to leave a comment stating that I don't want to pay $75 to see him in any play, though I would gladly pay $20 for a movie ticket, a soda and some popcorn to see him in a film. I didn't leave that comment as such a thing might be misinterpreted in a blog which a lot of theater people read.
Getting back to my horrid entree, it might take Wes Anderson casting Millstone for me to sit through another of his films. It's torture. It's all surface. I like his high-key art direction -- it's super cool. Entirely too cool. It's a movie about luggage meant to be a metaphor for emotional baggage that remains a movie about luggage. None of it rings true; the unifying element is self-consciousness. All it does is draw attention to itself while underscoring the monochromatic, shallow and very mannered storytelling. The opening short film with Natalie Portman and Jason Schwarzman was awful. I read somewhere recently that she regrets a scene she'd done in the past year because it was in poor taste. I couldn't help but wonder if this was it. I've had many interactions with Waris, the dude that plays the head steward. He's cold, smug and obsessed with the surface of things. I never liked him much and it didn't seem at all surprising that Anderson cast him. I'll bet they love each other. I'm willing to temper my piss taking by saying that I'm sorry Owen Wilson is so troubled that he tried to off himself. Unfortunately, I don't think I want to watch a film with him in it again. Honestly. I can see why Anderson loves Wilson. He hammers away at his assigned single note in earnest from titles to end credits. Ultimately, and like all of Anderson's films, it's an affected film about disaffected people, and no cast in the world could save it. It was all I could do not to sigh and moan and groan. Especially at all the musical slow-motion interludes. At one point I flipped the bird at the screen. I kept it low, but I had to do it. So that's it, I'm not seeing another Wes Anderson film or a film starring Owen Wilson.*** And the trouble is I already knew all of this going in.

Not as grumpy as I sound,
Signore Direttore

***Unless David Millstone or another of my friends is in it.


Zach said...

Haven't seen "Michael Clayton" maybe this for "Darjeeling" you said what I felt better than I could have.

Signore Direttore said...

The thing that really makes me want to avoid Anderson's films is I think he's doing exactly what he wants to do. It's not like he's failing or missing his intentions. Just like W., there's no sense in trying to meet him even halfway, because he's on his own fucked up agenda.