Perspectives on Pop Culture and the Arts

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Steely Dan offer Wes Anderson Advice©

Fans are an interesting bunch. Obsessed fans… well, they’re interesting for slightly different reasons that are more selfish than Golden Rulish. For all of you hipsters who worship Wes Anderson, (even so much as to send bits of assumed advice his way) here is a bit to His Geeky Holiness, Señor Anderson, from the copyrighted and royaltied guys of Steely Dan© - yes, THAT Steely Dan.

You can also link to the full article below, which includes another fine letter to Owen and Luke Wilson.

From: W. Becker and D. Fagen [AKA Steely Dan© ]
To: Wes Anderson


As you may know, we are the founders of the celebrated rock band "Steely Dan"©. If for some reason you don't know our work, check with Owen and Luke Wilson - they're both big fans. Here's something you may not know about us: when not distracted by our “day job” – composing, recording, touring and so forth – we like to head downstairs into the paneled basement of our minds and assume the roles we were born to play - you may have already guessed it by now – the roles of Obsessive Fans of World Cinema.

That's right. Eisenstein, Renoir, Rene Clair, Bunuel, Kurosawa, Fellini, Godard, Tarkovsky, Ophuls the Elder, Blake Edwards, Ophuls the Younger, you name it. Sat there, dug it.

Maestro, we give to you this Message: there was a time when Giants walked among us. And, damn, if you, Wes Anderson, might not be the one to restore their racial dominance on this, our planet, this Terra, this... Earth.

You may have heard that we have recently made it our personal project and goal to deliver a certain actor of no small importance to your past and present work from a downward spiral of moral turpitude from which it seemed there might be no escape. We are delighted to report that, with the news of Mr. ________'s participation in your new film (which we understand to be entitled, indeed, charmingly, “Darjeeling Limited”), our efforts have been repaid, and How.

This unqualified victory has inspired us to address a more serious matter. Let's put our cards on the table - surely, we are not the first to tell you that your career is suffering from a malaise. Fortunately, inasmuch as it is a malaise distinctly different than that of Mr.______ , and to the extent that you have not become so completely alienated from the intellectual and moral wellsprings of your own creativity, we are hoping that we - yours truly, Donald and Walter - may successfully "intervene" at this point in time and be of some use to you in your latest, and, potentially, greatest, endeavor.

Again, an artist of your stripe could never be guilty of the same sort of willing harlotry that befalls so many bright young men who take their aspirations to Hollywood and their talent for granted. You have failed or threatened to fail in a far more interesting and morally uncompromised way (assuming for a moment that self-imitation and a modality dangerously close to mawkishness are not moral failings, but rather symptoms of a profound sickness of the soul.)

Let's begin with a quick review of your career so far, as it is known to us and your fans and wellwishers in general.

You began, spectacularly enough, with the excellent "Bottle Rocket", a film we consider to be your finest work to date. No doubt others would agree that the striking originality of your premise and vision was most effective in this seminal work. Subsequent films - "Rushmore", "The Royal Tenenbaums", "The Life Aquatic" - have been good fun but somewhat disappointing - perhaps increasingly so. These follow-ups have all concerned themselves with the theme we like to call "the enervated family of origin"©, from which springs diverse subplots also largely concerned with the failure to fulfill early promise. Again, each film increasingly relies on eccentric visual detail, period wardrobe, idiosyncratic and overwrought set design, and music supervision that leans heavily on somewhat obscure 60's "British Invasion" tracks a-jangle with twelve-string guitars, harpsichords and mandolins. The company of players, while excellent, retains pretty much the same tone and function from film to film. Indeed, you must be aware that your career as an auteur is mirrored in the lives of your beloved characters as they struggle in vain to duplicate early glories.

My favorite is their aptly appointed theme of “envervated family of origin”©.

Now that’s what I call, “Quality”©.

[Link] to the full letter.

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Thursday, August 03, 2006

Upcoming Criterion Releases!

Lovely things are happening over at the Criterion Collection Factory of Joy this September. They are rereleasing Jacques Tati's Playtime, Fellini's Amarcord, Kurosawa's Seven Samurai, and Terry Gilliam's Brazil. I can hardly believe it myself. But yes, the upstanding folks at Criterion are doing their part to rid the world of poorly transferred reissues of the best that cinema has to offer. Rest assured, you are in very safe hands.

Also, note the cool new minimalist criterion logo that they are sporting these days! Dig it.

The purchasing and hasty consumption of all of these titles may result in the following side effects: extreme coolness, lack of boredom, intense cerebral activity, enlightenment, and various forms of attention from the opposite sex.

The extremely handsome lounge lizards here at Boast are not responsible for the lack of said side effects if persons fail to purchase all of the aforementioned titles.

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