My friend Tim, who’s an art grad student in Savannah, GA, is, I think, equal parts a Coen brothers fan and a Wes Anderson fan. The Coen brothers have so much more output, though, and their aspirations with film strike me as at once more ethereal and metaphysical, with humor within that space, like during the Saddam Hussein bowling-shoe sequence in BL, or with the unexplainable random characters in Blood Simple. For the Coens, humor is something that hovers around the characters without their realizing it. Wes Anderson’s characters seem to realize their humor and their situations more, as if the narrative form of the Hollywood movie is something the characters know they are in. This allows a free space where, perhaps, the acting gets better (if not for the quality of actors). So maybe for the Coens, the story itself carries the film, and for Anderson, the investigation of the narrative form carries the film. I prefer the Coen mode—I just don’t know what to make of the Freudian pretensions of Life Aquatic. I guess you could say that I like my Darth Vader to be Darth Vader. The undercutting of narrative form itself, indicative of postmodern fragmentation, never interested me (this would be Wes Anderson). I like good ‘ol storytelling with postmodern content. Like, interpreting American Psycho as an update on Stendhalian/Nietzschean egotism, as shown in The Red and the Black. How much can we realize ourselves within our narrative? Is it really our narrative?
Excellent to pose the BL against the Tenenbaums.—adam