Friday, March 14, 2014

The Grand Budapest Hotel

There are two types of movie-goers on this planet: those that LOVE Wes Anderson films and people like me.  To say Wes Anderson has a cult following is an understatement.  He really has quite a large fanbase of extremely devoted followers who absolutely adore his films 'Bottle Rocket', 'Rushmore', 'The Royal Tenenbaums', 'The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou', 'The Darjeeling Limited', 'Fantastic Mr. Fox', and 'Moonrise Kingdom'.  Well I don't.  Of course, this is not to say I hate Anderson, or have any ill will towards him.  In fact, I respect him for creating such a unique and recognizable style and for attracting such incredible talent willing to take on even the smallest of roles just to be a part of his films.  But the simple fact is, as much as I want to be, and as hard as I try, I am simply not entertained by his movies.  To me, Anderson is more of an artist, and perhaps even more of a magician, than a storyteller.  His films are like paintings and his dialogue, while hardly lacking in words, seems to say very little though it certainly works overtime giving off the appearance of saying a lot.  And this is akin to the art of misdirection, of which any good magician is master.  He has you so focused on his heavily stylized production design, costume, and verbiage, that you don't even notice that he hasn't offered you much in the way of substance.  At least that's how I feel.  So despite an amazing cast including Ralph Fiennes, Jude Law, F. Murray Abraham, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Ed Norton, Jeff Goldblum, and a host of alumni from past Anderson films, and going in with the most open of minds, I simply couldn't wait for the closing credits to arrive.  To be clear, that's not to say this is a bad film.  It's clearly a work of art, but just not the kind of art I go for.  I am not a hipster, nor did I play one on TV.  No, I'm just more of a 'Best Exotic Marigold Hotel' kind of guy.

Grade: C

Who is this movie for?  Wes Anderson fans will undoubtedly be overwhelmingly pleased.  Personally I much prefer this parody of his films from SNL:

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