Over the past weekend I saw Wes Anderson's latest film, the Grand Budapest Hotel. Before I proceed, let me preface by saying that I don't normally watch a movie and then feel the need to go and blog about it. I love watching films, but I usually find the goods ones to be no more, no less than a really great piece of storytelling, peppered with attractive faces, hot bods, and cool cinematography. But this film, for whatever reason, did a complete number on me.
I was pretty much giddy through the entire duration.
I adore Wes Anderson.
I adore his work. I think of him as one of the most prolific, creative artists of our century. Notice how I didn't say: prolific, creative filmmakers. Nope. I said artists. In fact, I've plonked him in the category of "All Great Artists", among the Rembrandts, Carravaggios, Boteros, and de Koonings of our world. "How bold!", you might say.....how does this 40 something Texan, deserve such a place in the Grand Artistic Hall of Fame? Oh, methinks he deserves it. I'm not professing to be an expert by any means, but my experience and education make me feel competent enough to back this statement up if I needed to, and this blogpost is an attempt to do just that.
First of all, what makes a great artist? No doubt a tough question to answer, but after some thought this is what I came up with. A great artist is:
• Someone who breaks new ground and goes against the tide. (Wes Anderson? Check.) Among all the Ron Howards, Scorseses, Spielbergs and Tarantinos, comes a voice that is uniquely its own. The story, the telling of the story, the look, the feel, the design of the film - all of it is so very, definitely, Wes Anderson.
• Someone who enables us to transform our perception. (Check.) Just watch the movie if you don't believe me.
• Someone who creates an unforgettable experience. (Check.) Again, watch the movie.
• Someone who sparks curiosity and inspiration within us. (Check.) I'm talking about the kind of inspiration that changes the way you think....the kind that makes you itch to create something matched in its beauty and inspiration. Personally, I haven't felt this level of inspiration from a work of art in, well, forever. Now, that's inspiration!
• Someone who takes the magical and makes it tangible. (Check.) A genius artist is someone who tirelessly, diligently, habitually, works on his craft to make the vision in his head a tangible reality. Just imagine how painstakingly he plans and executes every shot. It kinda makes my head spin.
• Someone who has a great story to tell, and tells it with style and panache. (Check, check and check)
• Someone who can provoke strong emotions. (Check.) Did I mention that I came out of the movie crying?
Do you know how you can tell if a movie is great? It's during those inflight moments when a movie is playing on the airplane and you don't have your earphones handy. If the movie inspires you to scramble to get them or settle for watching the entire thing without sound - I think it's a pretty good guess that it's a great one. If that movie is playing without sound...and you'd rather keep reading your Kobo or take a nap - it's safe to say that you're not being captivated enough to want to watch. Imagine for a second, watching TGBH with the sound off. I'm guessing there would be a mad scramble for those earphones. I'm also willing to bet that a soundless version would be pretty darn lovely, regardless. Every shot is a masterful feast for the eyes, brilliantly composed, much like how an artist composes a painting.
So why do I feel such passion about his latest? Quite simply, because I walked out of the film utterly moved and inspired....by the color, the design, the artistry, the brilliance, the story. I could go on about this, but everyone's busy these days.....so instead I came up with a top ten list.
TGBH TOP TEN LIST
(why I think this movie rocked)
1. Every shot was eye candy.
First and foremost. I'm a visual person, so when things appeal to my eye it tends to put me into a very happy state of wonder. There was nothing out of place in this film. There was nothing that should not have been there, or that "oh well!" happened to end up in the shot. Everything was meticulously considered and placed.