Monday, January 10, 2005

The Life Neurotic

That was the best pun I could come up with to describe the bitter, insecure Wes Anderson fans who have been e-mailing me ever since I posted a negative review of The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. Since I don't think these are going to end up printed in Las Vegas Weekly, I thought I'd share some of the accusations.

This came from an e-mail address from Vassar College, which I imagine accounts for the essay-style questions and use of film theory terms "diegetic" and "extradiegetic:"

Dear Mr. Bell:

I have recently seen this film, and I would just like to ask you and a few
other film reviewers a few questions regarding your review.

1.) Why do you think that the characters of the film 'have no souls'? Can
you define to me what do you mean by 'soul', and how could it enhance the
characterization of a cinematic individual?
2.) Why do you think Steve Zissou is textually passionate of the ocean yet
visually disconnected and lethargic? D you think this juxtaposition serves
any diegetic or even extradiegetic purpose? If it does not, can you
explain how this 'trick' distracts from the narrative?
3.) Can you explain how the film may be improved if the characters are
'human' and 'emotional'?
4.) Why do you think does Anderson constantly reveal the artificiality of
the ship? Do you think this serves any narrative purpose? If not, how does
it destroy the 'flow' of the narrative?
5.) Why does this film proves once and for all Anderson's cynicism,
worthlessness, and arrogance, and how do you think he mocks the audience
and his characters in cinematic terms?

Thank you, and I apologize for taking your time.


I like that he apologizes for taking my time, like I'm actually going to compose detailed responses to his thinly-veiled attacks.

This guy does not veil his attacks, thinly or otherwise, and resorts to the classic tactic of people who disagree with movie reviews, the personal insult:

I just read your review of The Life Aquatic which I cant take issue with havent not seen the film. I will however address your mindless trashing of all Anderson's films. To say "Anderson's films have always been empty collections of quirks" easily reveals your ignorance and perhaps your insecurity with having never created anything insightful. Your review has a tone of disgruntled anger for Anderson's success beyond your own meager station in life. Get a clue. To say Anderson gives no consideration to plot and character is to demonstrate your own vapidity. Were you paying attention at all during Rushmore or Tenenbaums? There is nuch more than "a sliver of humanity." They are comedic masterpieces with dramatic action and real character in disguise. They are about redemeption and the search for meaning and beauty in life in the face of genuis, a theme that has perhaps been useless in your own pursuits. Apparently it doesn't take a film critic to notice these "big picture luxuries." Try not to let your own biases and petty discriminations distort what can be honest and imparital writing, but then again you are a film reviewer for the las vegas weekly. Better keep your day job, pal.

Strangely enough, reviewing films is my day job. He does get one thing right, though: Being a film critic certainly is a "meager station in life." You should see my paychecks.

This guy just gets right to the point:

Add this to the pile of similarly themed e-mails you must be receiving.

You're a bitter idiot (bad combo).

I guess if I were just bitter, or just an idiot, it would be okay.

Finally, in sad proof that I spend much of my free time Googling myself, I came across this mention in some blog:

Dear Josh, please consider taking a job in the marketing department at car dealership. Your lack of creativity and acceptance for new and different things puts you in the perfect role to make car advertisements less annoying.

Again, projecting onto me that because I didn't like the movie I must not be creative or able to accept new things.

I guess these aren't quite as bad as the hate mail (scroll down) I got from Hilary Duff fans when I panned her last movie, but in a way the Anderson fans are as blindly loyal and deluded as the Duff ones. They can just use bigger words to express themselves. Anyone with an interest in the cult of Anderson should check out this article in some magazine called n + 1 (talk about your pretentious hipster titles) that posits that the failure of The Life Aquatic is a death knell for hipsters. Which would be okay with me, I guess, although I find hipster chicks kind of hot. [link via Gawker]

No comments: