Why Do You Hate Wes Anderson?

I am back with a vengeance. I want to talk about something that really grinds my gears and that I experience every single day as a Film Studies student – snobbery. It happens with almost anything that is remotely popular – Star Wars, Ryan Gosling, Marvel. Whatever the people are enjoying these days, the film students will not. Due to the recent release of The Grand Budapest Hotel, the Wes Anderson Collection, and the month of March being Wes Anderseason at my local independent cinema it seemed like the perfect time to talk about this. I was recently in a seminar with just one other dude who I always end up arguing with about film. It’s fun and I don’t mind, but sometimes he hates shit just to hate it. I said I was excited to see The Grand Budapest Hotel, and he sighed. Why? I understand that perhaps pastels and symmetry and Jason Schwartzman might not get everybody going quite as much as it does me, but why hate Wes Anderson?

Most people’s reasoning comes from the ‘quirky’ or ‘hipster’ connotations that come with Wes. But many people (film students included) have never actually put in the few hours that it would take to get caught up on his filmography and actually formulate some kind of reasoning for their unspeakable hatred. I save my complete abhorrence for filmmakers who have actually perpetrated crimes, such as Woody Allen or Roman Polanski, but if pastels are really what pisses you off then there’s nothing I can do for you.

I think what we have to remember is that film is for entertainment. First and foremost. We study it and pick it apart and we revere artists and filmmakers who are less well known, I guess this is a good thing. But as a film-academic-in-training, I have to tell you, film doesn’t actually really matter. If somebody watches The Avengers or Moonrise Kingdom or Harry Potter or Twilight and it gives them two hours of escapism or catharsis or joy, who are we to say it’s wrong because we don’t think they are technically accomplished? Entertainment is entertainment. I can give you a thousand reasons why Wes Anderson is a good filmmaker, a talented writer, and an important director – but I won’t. I think the only reason I need to give for enjoying his films is that they matter to me and they make me laugh. Hating things without watching them will not make you laugh, it will just make your soul black.

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