Friday, July 20, 2007

can't wait . . .

. . . for this, The Darjeeling Limited . . . because Wes Anderson is probably the most sweetly engaging filmmakers working today. attention to detail, in terms of characters, set design, mannerisms . . . unmatched. there's a trailer, here.

i am a little concerned about this poster, however, its crowded composition, which is often a tip off to something that's overdone. i keep hoping that Anderson's "magic" won't fade or wear off or implode. the American Express commercial worries me in this way, although it's actually very good, for an advertisement . . .

so but what isn't a commercial? i think i have faith. i hope.

one of the funniest lines in a Wes Anderson film is, for me, when Steve Zissou (Bill Murray in The Life Aquatic) is looking at the video of the albino dolphins who run "reconnaissance," swimming w/ his ship. Zissou is asking his tech crew member if the dolphins can hear/see and generally check up on the activities of other characters on the ship. the technician pushes a button or two on an antique-looking keyboard, ostensibly asserting a command. nothing. the dolphins swim about with their camera/tech gear mounted to their happily unrepsonsive heads. Zissou watches silently. says, "son of a bitch, i'm sick of these dolphins." timing impeccable. comment unexpected and subversive regarding cultural coding pretty much compressed into our dna. i mean, who hates dolphins? it's dry and very, very funny. Murray's delivery perfection. watch.

this calls forth a dolphin story. first, you have to know that i don't win many things. that damn Presidential Fitness Patch they used to give, drawings, awards, roles. but. when i was young, maybe 5, my parents took me to a Florida managed fun facility called Floridaland; this was pre-Disney, which we actually visited before it was Disney. my father had heard the rumblings about this giant park soon to be built by "a crazy man" near Kissimmee (i remember entering the town and trying to read the Welcome to Kissimmee sign -- sounding it out -- and being sort of enchanted by the name; what did it mean? it felt like something very personal, unlike Disney later felt/feels to me).

back at Floridaland ( i just found a sort of tragic website -- tragic if you love themeparks, which i do not, but still tragic in the shabby yet hopeful appearances -- w/ pictures; see or, more exclusively pertaining to Floridaland, ) . . . we watched a little dolphin show in this sort of pathetic brown pond. i think we sat on something like little league-type bleachers. there was a very cheerful and exhuberant MC w/ a tinny sounding mic, and he was calling out for a volunteer. i honestly do not remember raising my hand; maybe my parents did. they once volunteered my sister Carrie and i to participate in a rodeo event -- we were sort of horrified about going to the rodeo, but we were kids, so no amount of resistance mattered. had to pay to enter this HORRIFYING event where you have to try to "catch" a young bull by securing him about the ears and/or tail. i was, like 4. seriously. terrified. definitely "a supposedly fun thing i'll never do again". recalling my Floridaland adventure presents me with a far less traumatizing -- magical, actually -- memory. somehow i was chosen. someone walked me down to a little platform and i was then led into a tiny boat, a simple paddle boat without a motor. the motor, you see, was a dolphin, a very obedient dolphin who swam once or twice around the pond, pulling me behind. did i wave, parade-style? was i afraid? no, i think i recall something like pleasure, but i don't recall exactly how i felt about it. i think that somewhere my family has some super 8 footage of it (which, needless to say, i would love to have). somehow, thinking about Wes Anderson's work, this scene comes back to me as filmworthy.

from the lost theme parks site, a bit about the dophin show (notice the trainer's resemblance to Doris Day): "And what western town is complete without its... porpoise show? Here Floridaland jumped back to the Florida theme. Note the small, ground level lagoon and platform . . . their budget is once again showing."

notice that in both the picture above and in this one, we see some -- oh, i don't know -- manifestation of a long-cherished dream that plays out as a fascination with using one's legs to prop up hoops through which dolphins jump. what to do with that?

so but, Wes Anderson. sept. 29th. hopefully, the anticipation -- not unlike a child's excitement prior to a trip to something like Floridaland or Disneyworld or whatever -- pays off. i have faith.

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