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Tony Grist

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The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou [Jan. 11th, 2006|09:52 am]
Tony Grist
The critics gave this one a hard time, but I thought I'd like it and I did.

It's not laugh-out-loud funny, but it keeps up a constant drizzle of tiny, small absurdities and sight gags. And of course it stars the great Bill Murray, who gets quieter and more mesmerisingly watchable with each succeeding film.

Wes Anderson (too many Andersons in Hollywood already!) is a great stylist. He creates zany, alternative universes, only a little off to the side of the one we all know and love. You could lose yourself in this one.

If Life Aquatic isn't eventually elevated to the status of cult classic I'll eat my patented Zissou diving helmet with special built in bunny aerial for the reception of music underwater.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: frumiousb
2006-01-11 06:27 am (UTC)
I thought that it was pretty great. The NYTimes liked it a lot, actually. So I don't think it really got panned.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2006-01-11 08:43 am (UTC)
I read critics who found it pointless.

I think they were wrong.

The point is the in the creation of this charming, ever-so-slightly bonkers, but internally consistent world.

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[User Picture]From: halfmoon_mollie
2006-01-11 06:46 am (UTC)
I think I must be the only person in the world who does NOT like Bill Murray.
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[User Picture]From: karenkay
2006-01-11 06:55 am (UTC)
Why don't you like him?
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[User Picture]From: halfmoon_mollie
2006-01-11 07:55 am (UTC)
Far as I'm concerned, he's always got a smirk on his face, even when he doesn't.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2006-01-11 08:47 am (UTC)
You have a point.

His early performances were very smirky. And those were the sort of characters he played- self-confident, wise-assed jerks.

But recently he's gone out of his way to do something very different. It's as if he were setting out to be the polar opposite of Jim Carrey and that whole bunch of mugging, prat-falling comics.
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[User Picture]From: four_thorns
2006-01-11 08:49 am (UTC)
have you seen "eternal sunshine of the spotless mind"?
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2006-01-11 08:56 am (UTC)
I have. And, yes, it shows that Carrey can turn in a very quiet performance when he wants to. I wish he'd do it more often.
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[User Picture]From: four_thorns
2006-01-11 09:20 am (UTC)
so do i.
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[User Picture]From: humblenarrator
2006-01-11 11:42 am (UTC)
i loved the truman show for that reason, also.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2006-01-12 01:35 am (UTC)
When the Truman Show first came out I thought it was far-fetched, but as Reality TV continues to take over the globe it's starting to look like a documentary.

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[User Picture]From: violaviolet
2006-01-11 07:36 am (UTC)
Wes has yet to disappoint me. His films are some of the few modern pieces of cinema I pay any attention to.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2006-01-11 08:50 am (UTC)
I hate contemporary Hollywood. Wes is one of the very few film makers who is able to buck the system while still working within it.

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[User Picture]From: violaviolet
2006-01-11 12:44 pm (UTC)
I agree completely. There are those that see his work as pretentious and boring, but I find it hilarious and refreshing. I can only hope that Wes doesn't go the way of his writing partner, Owen Wilson.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2006-01-12 01:26 am (UTC)
Yeah, Owen Wilson has spread himself kinda thin recently. But I liked him in Life Aquatic.
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[User Picture]From: four_thorns
2006-01-11 08:48 am (UTC)
hmm. of all his films, I like the royal tenenbaums best. the life aquatic seemed... i'll always love anderson from a stylistic standpoint, but this time it seemed like the characters were quirky just for the sake of being quirky. also, the world created in the life aquatic is a much colder world than that of tenenbaums.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2006-01-11 08:54 am (UTC)
I prefer this to Tenenbaums (not that I didn't like that film too.) Tenenbaums was so very Franny and Zooey that Salinger might have put in for a writing credit. Life Aquatic, on the other hand, struck me as wholly original.

Odd that you found it cold. I sort of fell in love with all the characters.
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[User Picture]From: four_thorns
2006-01-11 09:29 am (UTC)
i've never (i'm horribly ill-read, you know) read salinger, so i guess i missed that aspect of tenenbaums. but that is interesting to know. i should read more.

life aquatic seemed to me to be, in the context of wes anderson's other films, wholly UNoriginal-- a mismash of bottle rocket, rushmore, and the royal tenenbaums, like he went through a cafeteria of past plotlines and character quirks and picked out a sufficient quantity to make into a film. there didn't seem to be any reason for anything (i don't mean reason in a logical sense, but that nothing seemed earned)

as for the cold, perhaps it was the thought of all that ocean water, but i found the characters a lot less likeable than in any of his previous films--maybe because i didn't feel that they were genuinely developed?
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2006-01-11 09:50 am (UTC)
My friend Judy bullied me into reading Franny and Zooey. I was glad she did. It's a very strange little book.

I haven't seen Rushmore. (Memo to self: must see Rushmore!) but it didn't strike me that he was stealing from himself. I just thought; this is his world, we've been here before and now we're seeing the underwater bit.

Maybe I'm just a sucker for any movie that has pirates in it!



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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2006-01-12 01:28 am (UTC)
"Salinger loved 'the Glass family more than God loves them'"

That's priceless.
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2006-01-11 11:36 am (UTC)
I liked it, too.

When Bill Murray is being droll, he is the best.

God, he was funny in that stupid diving gear.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2006-01-12 01:29 am (UTC)
He doesn't have to work hard to be funny, just stand there.
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From: manfalling
2006-01-11 03:48 pm (UTC)
i too felt like the quirkiness was there for no other reason than to just be quirky. tenenbaums was quirky and that made it cool and hilarious. life aquatic was quirky and it just kind of annoyed me cos yeah, there was no point. it was neither as funny or as cool as tenenbaums.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2006-01-12 01:29 am (UTC)
I guess I just love quirk. :)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2006-01-12 01:32 am (UTC)
What an extraordinary photo. It looks like it was taken in the 1940s. I don't think I've even seen a mugshot of Wes before. How adorably geeky!

And Angelica, of course, is divine.
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