Sometimes I’ll go on a date with a girl who’s really cute, funny, easy to talk to and most importantly interested in me (that seems to be the hardest quality to find), but for whatever reason I’m just not into her. It’s super frustrating. She has exactly what I want, expect that most important thing, I don’t know what that thing is, I just know it’s the most important. Anyway I’ll usually go on a few more dates with her, trying to capture that thing. Sometimes, I’ll even introduce her to my friends, which invariably makes things more maddening since they always seem to like her. Still that thing, whatever that thing is, evades me.
Why am I telling you this?
Because that’s exactly how I feel about Wes Anderson movies. On paper I should love them. Quirky, shot beautifully, awesome casts (I’m looking at you Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman), but for whatever reason I just can’t get into them. All my friends love them, I want to like them, but I just can’t.
Last night I saw Moonrise Kingdom (it had all the Wes Anderson staples) and my feelings towards it was exactly what I expected. “This is really well written,” “that was funny,” “look at all the yellow,” “that kid’s weird,” “Bill Murray’s awesome,” “Jason Schwartzman’s awesome,” “I kind of want to dress like that,” than it ended and I felt like, “ehh, it was okay.” Why? Why? Why? Why do these films have so many things I like, nay, covet and why can’t I get excited about them? Why do I leave the theater with a feeling of apathy?
I judge movies on whether or not I wake up the next morning thinking about them, and how long those thoughts persist. For example I talked about The Social Network for about two months after I saw it. Midnight in Paris made me want to read everything Hemingway and Fitzgerald ever wrote. On the other hand, the second I hit publish on this post I will never think of Moonrise Kingdom ever again, like I never think of Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums or Bottle Rocket.
What can I say? For me it just misses that intangible, unidentified – thing.