Screen Junkies » bottle rocket Movie Reviews & TV Show Reviews Fri, 19 Sep 2014 21:04:14 +0000 en hourly 1 Soundtrack Studies – Wes Anderson Tue, 20 May 2014 16:49:44 +0000 Penn Collins Music is Anderson's second-biggest calling card. Next to his unabashed love of the Futura font.

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While every Soundtrack Studies to date has focused on a specific album, it seems that focus is somewhat wasted on the works of Wes Anderson. While the true nature of variance among Anderson’s films could be debated (and surely is), it would be difficult to contend that Anderson’s style isn’t homogeneous.

Though I realize just by saying that, I’ve just readied a legion of Anderson fans for rebuttals. Oh well, they’re all probably wispy and weak.

Wes Anderson’s pursuit of a timeless (but certainly not placeless) quality to his films has gone from a quirk early in his career to a his calling card, to perhaps a crutch worth of mockery, as SNL’s The Midnight Coterie of Sinister Intruders so artfully indulged in.

In his avoidance of contemporary technology in his films, he also brings an aesthetic to the costuming that doesn’t belong to any era, but rather seems to belong to Anderson himself. And the same is true for the music in his films.

Curiously, the music in his films is far from anonymous. While a car in a Wes Anderson film is essentially an unbranded, shapeless placeholder for a car, the music belongs to famous artists. The Kinks, Simon and Garfunkel, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones.

These are among the most famous artists in popular music, albeit from an era that seems to vaguely jive with the costuming, technology, and production design. So why use the Stones when you could pick some unknown French chanteuse to sing them in her native language? It ups the quirk by a degree or two, and certainly would help keep the budget down by avoiding licensing the expensive originals.

It merits noting that Wes Anderson isn’t the sole gatekeeper of his soundtracks. I mean, he’s the director, and the de facto brand, so he certainly could exercise veto power, but he works hand-in-hand with Randall Poster, a music aficionado who, through his passion for music and film, landed a career soundtracking films. He’s worked with Anderson since Bottle Rocket, so if you’re looking for another reason for the alarming consistency, that’s one right there.

Another such indicator is that Anderson and Poster have what Anderson describes as the “vault,” which is a list of songs they have pre-selected with no particular movie or scene in mind. So, to that end, it appears that reason the duo picks some songs is simply because they like the song, and not because a particular scene is begging for its inclusion. To say that a song is “shoehorned” in would (probably) be dismissive, if only because the design DNA of the films and the muted emotion are so prevalent that the taste in music runs along the same lines, so perhaps there are handful of songs in the vault that are good contenders for a scene.

Or, what I believe more likely to be true, is that while audiences and critics may mock Wes Anderson, and the choice of music for his films, that doesn’t mean they don’t like it. They’re essentially pointing out a consistency, which is an odd thing to be critical of, in and of itself. The type of people who like, or even watch Wes Anderson films aren’t the type of people who object to a deep cut by The Kinks. So while these people may object to Anderson & Co. returning to the same well over and over, it appears that they say that despite really enjoying the water from that well.

Of the artists to enjoy several track listings in a Wes Anderson film, virtually none are American or English speakers. That shuts the naysayers up pretty quickly; criticize my heavy use of this artist and you’re a xenophobe. The most glaring and recognizable example of this would be the Seu Jorge tracks on The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. They’re all David Bowie covers sung in Portuguese, which is so damn Wes Anderson-y it makes me want to run out into the streets and cast Bill Murray in something.

For all of his fans, and the acclaim his films get, Wes Anderson’s soundtracking with Randall Poster is rarely described as masterful, despite being so heavily stylized and recognizable. The people that like these films understand that they’re buying into the Wes Anderson brand, and that brand is rife with things like Portuguese covers of David Bowie songs, “Hey Jude” played by the Mutato Muzika Orchestra, or just some obscure Rolling Stones song while the characters are running down the street with suitcases.

Few directors have made as powerful and distinct a brand out of their style, and while Wes Anderson’s style has many facets, it’s hard to say that his choice in music doesn’t set the tone more than any other aspect of the film. It’s good-natured, not of this era, slightly odd, but very comfortable. And to that end, he chooses music that perfectly fits the tone of his films.

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8 Movie Wardrobes That Should Be Spun Off Into Fashion Lines Wed, 02 Nov 2011 14:00:19 +0000 Penn Collins It's high time you started dressing like a fictional rape victim.

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It was announced recently that Swedish clothing retailer H&M will be launching a 30-item line of clothing inspired by Lisbeth Salander, the heroine of the popular book and upcoming film The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. It’s not up for debate that this is a very cheesy concept. Lisbeth Salander is sexy because she doesn’t give a shit that she looks like a piece of roadkill. People shop at H&M with the expressed purpose of NOT looking like roadkill (with varying results). So the whole concept seems disingenuous and a little lame.

However, there are fashions from film that we would very much like to be peddled directly into our lives, be it cause they are funny, fashionable, or just because, if only for a few hours, we would like to dress like Michael Cera.

Bottle Rocket-Inspired Custodial Workwear

Sure, janitorial coveralls aren’t meant to differentiate, but why aren’t they? Just because one is cleaning or painting for most of the day doesn’t mean they don’t want to feel fashionable (I’m guessing. Maybe they don’t)! So let them look like characters in everyone’s favorite Wes Anderson movie that isn’t Tenenbaums, Rushmore, or Steve ZissouBottle Rocket.

While you’re cleaning the windows on the 25th floor of a skyscraper, imagine the happiness you’ll realize when an occupant of the building holds up a paper sign that reads:


The Reservoir Dogs Collection

When you’re stepping into an interview, you want to appear tough and motivated. And who appears more tough and motivated than the gang from Reservoir Dogs? That’s right. No one.

The next time you’re sitting down trying to sell someone on yourself, wouldn’t you prefer to be channeling the spirit’s of Mr. Pink, Mr. Brown, Mr. Black, Mr. Orange, Mr. Blonde, and Mr. Blue, so that you can project an air of “If you don’t hire me, I swear on my mother’s life that I will cut your ear off, douse you in gasoline, and set you on fire.”

With that air of confidence, you’ll be sure to score the kindergarten teaching position!

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