the grand budapest hotel

Well, I just saw this. I enjoyed it, but I was not blown away (or, really, involved).

I was never a Wes Anderson fan. I saw The Royal Tenenbaums, and I thought it was tedious. Other than Gene Hackman’s character, everybody was depressed (for no particular reason), and completely one-dimensional.

But I then I saw Moonrise Kingdom, which I really liked. I wrote about it here quite a bit. But, oddly enough, it didn’t make me want to go back and catch up on Anderson’s other films.

But I did rush out to see The Grand Budapest Hotel.

The positives:

1) Ralph Fiennes is hilarious (a sentence I never thought I’d write).
2) It moves right along, including some things that are really funny.
3) It looks great (of course).

The negatives:
1) It is suffused with nostalgia, for things for which I am not in the least nostalgic (servants, service, elegance).
2) I didn’t give a damn what happened to any of the characters.
3) It’s a guy movie. The female characters are complete ciphers.

It is funny how we’re encouraged to pledge loyalty to specific artists. Taylor Swift has her Swifties, and Miley Cyrus has her Smilers. I’ve known fanatic Tori Amos fans, and in Web forums I’ve encountered the mavens who adore every picture by Scorsese or Christopher Nolan or David Fincher (all of whom are iffy with me — some good pictures and some not so much).

I’ve said before that I’m a devotee (and a disciple) of Robert Altman, but he made some crappy movies, too (and I’ve never even seen HEALTH, since the opinion of its suckitude is so unanimous). I was considering seeing Pompeii because I’m a big fan of Paul Anderson’s work in 3D, but, really, no.

So, seeing Wes Anderson’s newest, hoping for the best because of Moonrise Kingdom, I felt that I should be liking it more than I was. But I didn’t. That’s the way it goes. The same thing happened with Jim Jarmusch, who made some of my favorite movies for a while, and then started boring me.

Although, you know, I hear his new one is supposed to be good, a real return to form…

Anyway, it goes the other way, too. I’m certainly no Swiftie, but this performance at the Grammy Awards kills.

Anyway, two final comments on The Grand Budapest Hotel:

1) See this and then see Gosford Park (if you feel nostalgia for service and servants in the 1930s).

2) I quote Jean Shepherd: “Nostalgia is based on the idea that things were ever better than they are now.  They weren’t. Things have always been lousy.”

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