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The Awkward Movie Challenge: The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

December 01, 2009 By: Category: Greatest Hits, The Awkward Movie Challenge

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According to Netflix, Mike and Jeffrey agree with each other on movies 84% of the time. In their weekly semi-regular feature, The Awkward Movie Challenge, they search valiantly for that sweet 16% that results in big arguments and big laughs.

Jeffrey:

life_aquatic-posterIt’s difficult for me to understand why so many people have such animosity for Wes Anderson. Read the comments on any review of The Fantastic Mr. Fox and you’ll find half a dozen variations on the phrase, “He hasn’t done anything worthwhile since The Royal Tenenbaums.” For those of you keeping score at home, the “nothing worthwhile” in this comment refers to two movies (out of a five film career): The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and The Darjeeling Limited. I’ll agree, The Darjeeling Limited was a waste of everyone’s time and should promptly be forgotten. But this is only because Anderson ignored the first rule of filmmaking in the official Filmmakers Guide to Making Films: do not let Jason Schwartzman collaborate on your screenplay. Anderson can be forgiven for making this rookie mistake because from what I hear, he ripped up his Filmmakers Guide to Making Films years ago and replaced it with lollipops.

Anderson’s greatest claim to fame may be his introduction of the word “whimsical” to the handbook of movie reviewers’ derogatives. I’m not sure how he came to embody the essence of whimsy, because a surface glance at any of his films reveals a deep undercurrent of sadness. Bottle Rocket ends with one of the main characters getting sent to prison. In Rushmore, no one ends up particularly happy. Hackman dies in The Royal Tenenbaums and Luke Wilson engages in one of the gnarliest suicide attempts I’ve ever seen captured on film. In The Darjeeling Limited, everyone’s an asshole and the movie sucks. The only one that actually fits the characterization of pure whimsy to me is The Fantastic Mr. Fox, and that’s garnering Anderson some of the biggest raves of his career. So go figure.
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Fantastic Mr. Fox Trailer Is In!

July 30, 2009 By: Category: Movies, Videos

Clearly, Roald Dahl is the best. We can all agree on that. There would be no Awkward Press if it weren’t for Roald Dahl, because I would have never wanted to be a writer if I hadn’t read his books. For that matter, if it weren’t for Roald Dahl, there would be no me or you, because the world we live in did not exist before Roald Dahl. It is his matrix. We just live in it.

When I heard that Wes Anderson was making an animated version of Mr. Dahl’s Fantastic Mr. Fox, my first thought was, “that is certainly a lesser choice from the Dahl canon.” Full disclosure: Roald Dahl has been my favorite writer since I was old enough to read, but I have not read Fantastic Mr. Fox. Is that okay? I just haven’t. Maybe it’s great. It’s probably great. I should read it. Don’t judge me!

Unlike you, I have not given up hope in Wes Anderson. I have given him a long leash based on my love for Rushmore and Bottle Rocket. I hated The Privileged Brothers Go to India, but I like his shtick, for the most part. It’s whimsical! Get used to it! There is room for whimsy in life. Enjoy the whimsy. Stop being so New York all the time.

Anyway, so Anderson made an animated version of Fantastic Mr. Fox, and here is the trailer:

If you ask me, they should change the name of this movie to Fantastic Mr. Fantastic. Because it looks pretty fantastic, is why I recommend that change. I am starting a movie studio next!

(Via Videogum.)