The weakness in this coffee-table book is not at all in the graphics, design, or layout, all of which, as one might expect in a book devoted to Wes An...moreThe weakness in this coffee-table book is not at all in the graphics, design, or layout, all of which, as one might expect in a book devoted to Wes Anderson, are charming, meticulous, and revelatory (in addition to multiple on-set and film stills of Anderson, his work, and related miscellanea, Seitz helpfully includes stills and other pictures to complement his and Anderson's discussions of other films/visuals that have had conscious or unconscious influence on Anderson). The essays by Seitz are certainly well-written, and perceptive enough (his focuses wouldn't necessarily have been mine, but his readings are solid and enthusiastic). No, the trouble is something Seitz probably couldn't have helped: The copious interviews with his acquaintance Anderson, while not entirely superfluous (some good filmmaking anecdotes and bits of autobiography are certainly on offer), come nowhere near the insightfulness and informativeness of THE WES ANDERSON COLLECTION's forebear, the celebrated HITCHOCK/TRUFFAUT book-length, career-spanning interview compilation. Seitz is too much the fanboy, Anderson (predictably) much too reticent, for that. The interviews too often consist of Seitz's proffering of over-elaborated psychoanalyzing/projection/theorizing about Anderson's work, all of which, of course, the filmmaker refuses to be pinned down by. The reader will undoubtedly be amused and delighted at intervals, but he or she will also likely find him or herself responding to much of the written part of the book with the same noncommittal bemusement with which Anderson greets at least one of Seitz's questions or observations on nearly every page. To wit: "Hmmm." (less)
I picked this book up at the local library branch on a whim: They had it on display for Pride; I was in the market for something I could read in light...moreI picked this book up at the local library branch on a whim: They had it on display for Pride; I was in the market for something I could read in light, bite-size chunks; and, for the same reason I'll occasionally go back and re-watch a movie or album I didn't really like just to reassess/confirm my position, I thought it would be fun to get annoyed once again with Dan Savage, whom I've always found fairly annoying.
To my pleasant surprise, the Savage here is sharp, funny, ecumenical, fair, and surprisingly low on the hostile, self-aggrandizing snark -- something he acknowledges in these very pages is a change from his sometimes glib, button-pushing past. The arguments are eminently rational and thorough, the stories quite funny and actually moving. I wish Goodreads did half-stars; I'd give Savage an extra half-star here for the generous handful of spots where he takes the time and humility to go back and admit he's been wrong about certain things, the ability to acknowledge one has been wrong being a rare trait I admire, and one I was surprised to find in Dan Savage.(less)
I knew it before I ever read the book, but David Mamet is MUCH more worthwhile in practice (I very much admire HOUSE OF GAMES and HEIST) than when he'...moreI knew it before I ever read the book, but David Mamet is MUCH more worthwhile in practice (I very much admire HOUSE OF GAMES and HEIST) than when he's theorizing, explaining art and the world to us and offering commentary.
If anyone was surprised by his big public coming out as a Glenn Beck-worshiping political conservative, they never read between the lines of the extreme, simplistic narrowness (very erudite and well-informed narrowness, but narrowness nonetheless) he offered up in essay-books like these. Solid proof that "bright" is much like "cool"; in and of itself, it's very often not nearly enough.(less)