Andrew Rostan was a film student before he realized that making comics was his horrible destiny, but he’s never shaken his love of cinema. Every two weeks, he’ll opine on either current pictures or important movies from the past. Today he’s joined by fellow film student Alex Bean to opine on the 87th Academy Award nominations.
I am incapable of neutral feelings when it comes to Wes Anderson.
Since the Recorder is a magazine devoted to opinions, that’s not going to get me in any trouble, but I wanted to throw it out there anyway. I lack objectivity in this piece because it’s about my thoughts on the new Wes Anderson film, Moonrise Kingdom. To make a long story short, I loved it to death, but where’s the fun in making a long story short?
I first encountered his films when I saw The Royal Tenenbaums with my aunt and uncle sometime during Christmas break my freshman year of high school. Tenenbaums is a big, grand movie, messy and alive with laughter, compassion, and deeply felt sadness. I was delighted and intrigued. My aunt and uncle hated it as much as I liked it. The next time I went to Hollywood Video (remember that place?) I checked out another film, Rushmore, by the same director-writer.
Over the course of the three-day rental, I watched Rushmore four times. First by myself in the basement on Friday night, again the next day with my 11-year-old sister who mostly found it baffling, and twice more on Sunday with and without the commentary from Anderson, his co-writer Owen Wilson, and the star Jason Schwartzman. By the time my dad drove the DVD back to the store on Sunday night I was hooked. Something in that little 90-minute tale about a lonely, weird high school boy’s unexpected connection with two equally lonely souls lit me on fire. Too wry and idiosyncratic to be mainstream, but funny in such unexpected ways and expressionistic that spoke to me in ways that art, literature, and religion never had. Rushmore was a tiny, beautiful world unto itself. It was made whole by Anderson’s devotion to detail and made worthwhile by its acknowledgement that life could be hard and dispiriting, but you should certainly come out the wiser.
I scoured the internet for something, anything I could find about Rushmore, Tenenbaums, Anderson, or any other person or thing related to those films. This continued unabated for at least a year and a half, and had the inadvertent effect of throwing me headlong into the world of cinema. Since I was a devotee of Anderson’s work I tracked down the films that inspired him. I convinced my parents to let me rent The Graduate and Jules et Jim. When I saw those I turned around and found more movies related to them. I found that film was a vast, undiscovered country filled to the brim with the emotion and thoughtfulness that seemed in short order in my high school life. Cinema, and the cinema of Wes Anderson in particular, became a safe haven, where I found people who felt as broken and adrift as I sometimes did. Fast forward 10 years to today and, that still rings true. My obsession with cinema did not wane in the months or years after I first saw Rushmore. It grew exponentially into a full blown career path, and, well, here we are.