I’ve thought about Wes Anderson a lot lately.
I think there’s a trough, as your age becomes equidistant from Max Fischer and Steve Zissou, where it’s important that you act all better than Wes Anderson. At least, it seems to be an important rite of passage for most of my friends and contemporaries. It was probably most acute for people exactly my age (I’m twenty-seven) who were in high school when “Rushmore” and “Tenenbaums” came out, then went away to college only to discover that what made you unique in high school (you liked the films of Wes Anderson) made you the very opposite of unique at your hippie-dippie art school, or in the hippie-dippie arts clique at your gargantuan state school. It was there you discovered that dudes who, like me, probably did not realize Max Fischer was more of an anti-hero than someone to be revered the first time they saw “Rushmore,” so blinded were they by the cool blazer and ambitious auteur school plays and girls whose highest aspiration was to be a third-rate Margot Tenenbaum were a dime a dozen and still overpriced. In fact, Wes Anderson fandom was merely the tip of an entire iceberg of things that had set you so gloriously far apart from your peers in high school that, in college and then in your twenties, would only serve to make you so painfully like everyone else sharing in the well-educated-hipster mono-opinion.
But to front on Wes Anderson, as I have, passionately, deliriously, running as far away from that opinion monolith as my skinny white legs will carry me, is to A) front on how important he was to you and to B) front on how, you know, great he is. But I’m not here to defend Wes Anderson to you. I’m just here to point out something I thought was interesting that I realized after recently seeing “Rushmore,” “Tenenbaums,” and “Life Aquatic” again on the big screen at The New Beverly here in Los Angeles (which is, by the way, the best place in Los Angeles). This thing has probably already been observed a million times, but to my knowledge, never so hastily or so ill-researched, so it’s worth doing for that reason alone. There may be more examples of the thing I’m about to describe in “Bottle Rocket,” but I haven’t seen it in a while, I only saw “Mr. Fox” the one time, and I’ve never seen “Darjeeling,” as it fell smack dab in the middle of my Anderson Effrontery Trough (or A.E.T. if you’re trying to save time while hitting on someone in a bar by passing this observation off as your own.)