“I was at Coachella, leaning on your shoulder, watching your husband swing in time, I guess I was in it, cause baby for a minute, it was Woodstock in my mind…” – Lana Del Rey, Coachella – Woodstock In My Mind.
Here’s a potentially grandiose statement: Festival life is the best life. While Coachella is across country borders and on the opposite side of this continent, here in Montreal we have Osheaga every summer and just like Lana felt some Woodstock vibes at Coachella this year, I felt the same sort of transformative magic over the 3 days at my music festival this August. The impact was so huge that nearly a month after the festival has closed, I still feel it reverberating now – this feeling that the power and energy of festival life should and must find its way into our everyday lives.
My experience with Osheaga has been limited – I attended a couple times in the first few years when the festival was in its infancy and my interest then waned for several years, perhaps around the same time that I forgot that music is my boyfriend / I bought a house and had no disposable income… But last year, everything changed. Four little (big) words: Radiohead. Lana. Del. Rey. My two favourite artists, headlining a music festival in the city I was growing to love more and more as I waited for my house to sell in the suburban countryside just outside of Montreal? It was meant for me. I went. I danced. I loved. It brought back memories of what it is that causes me to thrive in the environment of a live show – the energy and joy of people around you, all focused on the universal love of music and musicians – in other words, real life magic.
So, long before the lineup was announced in early 2017, it was already evident to me that I would be attending, if not for the music then to absorb that magic and revel in its power. When the lineup was finally released, I saw a handful of musicians I loved overpowered by a mass of groups and individuals I had never heard of. And in that moment it became clear that this was an opportunity to not only discover new music (and I did, oh did I ever) but also a chance to approach this festival with an open and free heart willing to go with the flow and do whatever felt right in the moment, with little regard for the scheduled performances.
The result was a series of vivid and magical moments that were very much true of Osheaga-August-2017-Montreal-Quebec, but could very well have been Woodstock-August-1969-White-Lake-New-York (barring all the iPhones and Instagram posts). What follows are snapshots of moments and nothing more, but while they are nothing, they are equally everything – these are my Osheaga-rose-coloured moments.
Appreciation of the weather and elements: On Day 1, Friday, August 4th, it pours. There is thunder and lightning. It rains sideways at times. Shows are cancelled for a few hours. Attendees huddle under trees in the hopes that they will not get electrocuted by lightning. Strangers become friends as they wait for the claps of thunder to pass so the music can start again. And in what most would call miserable weather, I find myself in the middle of a bleak and nearly empty field in front of the tiniest stage laughing hysterically at warm pellets of rain falling onto my face, soaking my body to its core. Because what is life, but a series of moments that are either bright and sunny or dark and miserable? Even in the dark and hot rain, my spirit soars and is in appreciation of everything Mother Nature has decided to throw at us.
Dancing with strangers: Late afternoon on the first day after being poured on for hours, the sun comes out and we find a (relatively) dry patch of grass to plop down on for 1 or 2 sets so we can gather our energy for the night ahead. And yet, after sitting for only a few minutes, I spot 2 people a few feet away dancing with an energy that is infectious. I lean over to my friend to tell her that I want to – no, I must join them, if only for a moment… So we do. We hop up and start dancing with them and they immediately accept us, even going so far as to share their dance move, uniquely called “The Cauliflower” – but they tell us that it can be named whatever we want. All that matters is embracing the arched backward and forward movement and enthusiastic waving of your arms. The time we spend dancing with them is fleeting, perhaps the length of only one song, but they are the kindest and most open dance partners I’ve ever encountered.
Love Love Love: Everywhere I turn, I see love incarnate. Free and open or delicate and closed, it is there in every form. Couples sway together or stand still, simply holding each other in a quiet moment. Friends run from stage to stage holding hands. Men loving each other, women loving each other, men and women loving each other, friends loving each other – it appears at different moments in different iterations and in every interaction I witness, there is a tenderness and passion so powerful that it radiates through the atmosphere, creating a blissful energy that is impossible to ignore.
Music Music Music: While my peak lineup was realized at Osheaga in 2016, going into this weekend there are still artists I am excited to see and they deliver performances that fill my heart and body to maximum capacity. I fall madly in love with Father John Misty as he smokes a cig while singing with fervour about the end of the world. My body explodes with energy and dance as Justice flawlessly transitions from one song to the next in a way that feels intense and epic. Alabama Shakes paralyze me temporarily – I am floored and unable to process the power of Brittany Howard’s hypnotic voice and feel the same emotion from others around me; the crowd at this set is so quiet it’s almost eerie.
Dance Dance Dance: I realize at one point over the weekend that my ability to weave through the crowds with ease and agility is not necessarily because of my small stature, but more because I have not stopped dancing since I have stepped onto the Osheaga playground. Yes, of course there is dancing at each of the sets – even when the music is soft and quiet I find myself dancing in slow motion, and this escalates all the way to the opposite end of the spectrum when an act like Sofi Tukker has me jumping and spinning non-stop for 60 minutes. But as I traverse from stage to stage around and between masses of people, it occurs to me that this too is a dance – and not the metaphorical kind. I’m actually dancing as I lead the way for my little crew of friends and this moment of realization is powerful: I am a sorceress of dance-navigation.
Style Style Style: Another moment of epiphany comes to me about mid-way through the weekend – festival style is the best style. Not because it is so crazy / over-the-top / dramatic / silly (which it is, and then some) but because it represents people in their most free and fearless state, wearing that which they most desire without fear of judgement. It is fun and wild and worn with pride – there is no trace of shame or insecurity on the faces of the spectacularly dressed, myself included. (Alright, I’ll admit it, I’m not so out there – crop tops and shorts and running shoes are low key but I leave my bras at home and that feels amazing.)
Goodwill amongst the lovers (or strangers, if you need to be literal): I feel that I cannot call the attendees of this festival strangers, particularly after spending 3 days with them in the same environment. They are all lovers… Of music, of dance, of style, of (let’s be honest) drugs and alcohol, of the manifested energy at the festival, of specific artists, of friends / lovers who love Osheaga (second-hand festival lovers)… and what they love on this list is irrelevant, because we are united by our presence in this place. We are respectful of each other’s space when it gets crowded. We offer strangers hand sanitizer at the porta-potty. We chase each other down when we notice someone has dropped a shirt or money. We love each other. We are lovers and strangers who care for each other in the tiniest but most meaningful ways.
Quiet and loud living in harmony: Most of my time is spent at what my friend and I decide to call the floating stage – a dock of inter-connected plastic blocks that rocks and bounces over a body of water under a tall DJ booth that blasts the best dance music all weekend. The music is fast and loud and the energy high – but early one afternoon only steps away over a wide bridge that crosses a calm body of water flanked by greenery, we stumble upon the quietest and smallest stage where a beautiful solitary female sings softly as the lovers around us lounge on the grass. This juxtaposition of quiet and loud so close yet so completely separate strikes us as pure magic and we stand in the quiet for several moments, taking in the serene energy around us… breathing deeply before we return to the wild jumping and dancing of the floating stage.
Bodies of water and seas of people: The location of Osheaga changes this year due to renovations on the other side of the island so the space is foreign but quickly adopted by me as an adult playground largely thanks to the numerous bridges that we need to crisscross to travel from stage to stage. Every moment crossing a bridge feels like a deep sigh of happiness (quite literally, my friend sighs with every crossing) and more than once we stop in the middle of a bridge to take in views of the water or watch people around us passing, engrossed in their own world and experience. Late on Day 3 it occurs to me that we are not only surrounded by bodies of water under the bridges and around the island; our lovers – the other festival attendees – represent a sea of people that flows around the playground in a beautiful swirl of water unlike any I have seen or felt before. There is the calm stream of people at the tiny stage where the movement is so slow we feel that we are creek-side… And then there are the strong tides of people moving back and forth between the 2 main stages, so powerful that one can get swept away if they do not keep their head up and footing strong.
Knowing looks on the Metro: The best feeling at the beginning of each day is being underground in the Metro and noticing or catching the eye of a fellow Osheaga lover. They are unmistakable, not because of their bright pink wristbands but because their style or their giddy energy screams OSHEAGA. A similar sentiment is felt at the end of the night – we all exit the playground together and as we return to the real world, we feel united even as we trickle away at every stop.
Closing ceremonies and a powerful drop of energy: The Weeknd closes Osheaga and he goes out with the best bang possible – fireworks. Yet even as he returns to the stage for his encore, lovers begin to exit – perhaps in an effort to get a jump on their special time in the Metro with other lovers? As the lights turn on and my immediate lovers suggest we depart, I request that we stand completely still. Let the lovers around us go, we’re in no rush, we have a long wait to get home. So we stand facing the main stage, watching and feeling the tide of people split and part around us… And in that moment, I feel a powerful surge of energy in the air that sparks and begins to fizzle. It is the energy of the lovers and this magical festival, slowly dropping from the upper levels of the atmosphere, quieting and softening as it releases until it drops to my toes and dissipates into the earth. I silently thank the lovers (and organizers!! WHO ARE YOU, YOU MAGICAL BEINGS?!) while attempting to absorb the energy so I can carry this magic into the real world, and say goodnight.
The other day I was listening to my (perfectly) curated “Fall Fall Fall” seasonal playlist made by yours truly on Spotify and as one of my favourite tunes came on I had this unexpected epiphany about the song that sent me into a spiral of random and interconnected thoughts about repetition. Herein is my attempt to summarize those thoughts in a (hopefully) coherent and eloquent manner for no reason other than getting it out of my brain and onto (virtual) paper. Let me repeat: This is random, but it is interconnected. Or if anything, it feels interconnected. Let’s start by playing this song on repeat:
This lovely track by The Morning Benders has been a favourite of mine for a few months – it inevitably makes it onto most of the playlists that I put together and whenever I hear it I always get all sorts of feels. It’s got all the good things you want to hear in a great song: A slow build up at the beginning, a rolling drum that prevails through the course of the 5 minutes of song, a bridge that sucks you in by dropping most of the instruments and focusing mainly on layered vocals before building back up with all the sounds… It’s a goodie. I’ve listened to it countless times (often on repeat) and love love love it. But something clicked for me the other day when it came on that I had never noticed before. Right around the 40 second mark, after that awesome introductory build up at the beginning of the song, the music swells with strings and a very familiar melody comes into play… Do you hear it?
Did I imagine it, or is there something resonating in those strings that sounds just a little like the strings in this endlessly classic love song? It isn’t exactly the same but there’s this slight familiarity that suddenly became very apparent to me in that moment and I haven’t been able to shake it since. This isn’t to say that I think “Excuses” is copying “At Last” – it’s been years since I’ve read sheet music but I’m sure if you put these two songs side by side they would differ – and it’s quite possible that nobody else will hear this the same way that I do. But to me, the connection is there and it only made me love the song even more.
This newly born enhanced admiration is fascinating. Why is it that I love something even more now that it reminds me of something else that I’ve loved for ages? Is it the familiarity? Is it like the comfort of an old and trusted friend? Is it the fact that repetition is something that I love and embrace whenever possible? I’m certainly guilty of incorporating repetition into my life on a regular basis – songs are repeated multiple times across the playlists that I create on Spotify, I’ve re-read books that I adore countless times (can I get an amen from other HP fans out there?), I will happily watch my favourite TV shows or movies multiple times to the point that I can throw out obscure quotes without any prompting, and I even feel the act of writing this blog to be one of the most feel-good repetitive activities in my life. And now, as I write these words, it is starting to occur to me that it’s not really surprising at all that I love repetition, because it allows me to fill my life with things that I know I adore with complete certainty.
If we apply this idea universally, I think it explains why we see (and more importantly, accept) repetition in so many areas of our lives. We all love the chorus of a song because it’s same words repeated over and over, allowing us to recognize, appreciate, and sing along. It seems like every other song on the radio these days includes a sample from an older song that we all know and love… And because these new artists are drawing from classics that are timeless, they are sure to pull in a wider audience – even the kids who don’t know the original may feel a nostalgic familiarity when they hear the music, perhaps from that one time on the radio when they were quite young or at a distance from an older sibling’s bedroom. Reboots of old movies and sequels seem to achieve the same thing – it’s like all of Hollywood collectively had a realization that remakes and extensions of stories = box office gold. What’s not to love? A classic story is timeless, so retelling it with a slightly new spin is just another way to relive it again and again.
In my English Literature days at university, one of my graduating seminar courses was all about those epic stories that we retell over and over thematically with only minor changes in the plot. The fight of good against evil. The flawed hero. The journey to a distant land and triumphant (or sometimes bittersweet) return home. The evolution of a character from naive youth to wise (or disillusioned) adulthood. Do we tell the same stories and love them unconditionally because their formulaic beginning, middle, and end are predictable but still surprising in their minor variances? What’s that saying? “We are creatures of habit.” We embrace the repetition because we know what to expect and are delighted when what we thought would happen transpires exactly as we predicted.
It’s such a funny concept, because we love that predictable and comfortable feeling of repetition but we are equally thrilled when we are presented with something completely new. Every album by Radiohead is drastically different than the last and nothing ever sounds like anything they’ve done before… And while that consistency of newness is an act of repetition in itself, that novelty produces a feeling unlike anything I can get out of listening to a favourite old song on repeat. The same goes for a film or any type of story that shocks us with a surprise ending or twist along the way that goes against the conventional story-telling that we’ve come to expect in our repeat-saturated society. I love a movie that ends with the main characters not reuniting after a ridiculously romantic grand gesture. I adore stories that end abruptly with no clear indication as to the resolution or aftermath of the climax. I like it when we abandon the repetition every now and then.
This tension between the conventional and unconventional has been on my mind for a few days. I know without question that I love repeat offenders. But I know that I have an equal passion for that which is brand new and unfamiliar – I’ve even written about embracing that type of discomfort on this very blog in the last year. And while the focus of this post has been purely around stories and music, my line of thinking extends to how we live our lives and interact with each other. So much has changed in my life in the last year and while I’ve settled into new routines (thereby grounding myself in repeating familiar daily and weekly activities), I’ve also found myself venturing into unknown territory that’s far from the standard mould of life that I (or society) believed was the only way of living. I followed one template for life (and lived it well) for many years and then it fell apart… Leading me to question if that template is the right one for me, or if there is a different template that exists that I ought to follow, or if I just need to live life without any template at all… Which would be a life of zero repetition in the act of doing things differently and embracing the new or unknown. (Scary! Maybe Exciting!)
As I run through the list of things that repeat in my life that I love passionately, #1 on the list has to be the changing of the seasons. The consistency of observing one season melt into the next is probably one of the most beautiful markers of the passage of time in my life. Spring will always follow Winter. The leaves will always change colour as Summer transitions to Fall. The sun will set in a different spot in the sky throughout the course of a year. In this corner of the world, I know with certainty that the seasons at their very core will always be a constant in my life and that’s incredibly comforting. But, at the same time, I know that every season will be a little bit different than the last… We can know without question that it will eventually snow here, but when and how much is unknown.
So maybe that’s the trick to finding a balance between repeat offenders and new inventors. We can embrace repetition by acknowledging and nodding to things that occurred in the past while simultaneously valuing and striving for something just a little bit different and somewhat new within the act of repeating. For all I know, “Excuses” is an intentional riff on “At Last” (I think that they are both hopelessly romantic in their own way within their respective eras). This blog is often an unintentional source of repetition – whenever I write a post, I question if I’ve used the same words too many times or if I’ve repeated certain phrases or ideas in older posts, but even in that doubt I know that there’s a unique story in every post, even when it refers back to something I’ve already spoken about. And anyway, I think I’ve decided that repetition isn’t necessarily a bad thing… In fact, I actively embraced it today. (Did you notice the repeated use of brackets? Didn’t I already have a blog post title that refers to repeat offenders? Did I use the word repetition a lot? Did I ask several open-ended questions?) Let me repeat: This is random, but it is interconnected.
Does anyone else remember this Apple commercial?
It popped into my head yesterday on my drive home from work as I was dancing in my car in traffic (you’re welcome by the way, fellow commuters, for those entertaining moves) and I had this pretty huge revelation that music is in fact my boyfriend. To be clear, this isn’t because I am now single – even when I was with my ex I was essentially cheating on him every day with music, my true and unwavering lover. Thank you, CSS, for creating Music Is My Hot Hot Sex, because this song literally describes a reality that I think many of us feel, which is that music can be someone’s life, their escape, their release, their passion, their religion, their everything.
Is this a universal truth? Maybe not. I know some people who aren’t bothered by silence and feel no need to fill their lives with music. But for me, my life isn’t really complete without a soundtrack and I can’t imagine a world without the incredible compositions and words that fill my ears on a daily basis.
Before I go any further though… can we talk about that Apple commercial? It is almost unbearably dated, so much so that I had to watch it three times and found myself laughing harder and harder with each viewing. iPods! The size and shape of the device! That keyboard! Those app icons! The blue bar at the bottom of Safari! iTunes!!! They all look archaic! And I’m pretty sure this only dates back to the late 2000’s… yikes. I feel old.
But about my boyfriend. He’s the greatest. He always knows exactly how to change my mood when I need it, or complement it when I just want to embrace the emotion I happen to be feeling in a given moment. He takes me dancing, he helps me fall asleep, he keeps me company when I’m cooking dinner, he makes cleaning the house waaaaaay more fun, he helps me stay sane when I’m stuck in traffic, he keeps me calm and happy when I’m at work, and he fills my life with love.
It’s sort of challenging to write about something auditory – how can I really explain my love of music when all I have is words? The only option is to embrace the medium and share some lyrics from a very small sampling of some of the songs that I love. Disclaimer: This is probably the most random collection of quotes you will come across in your lifetime… Some are happy. Some are sad. Some are deep. Some are silly. Some are weird. Some are really special to me. I present these with no commentary – just the words are enough, at least for me. I hope you enjoy them.
“One good thing about music, when it hits you feel no pain.” Bob Marley, Trenchtown Rock.
“If there was a better way to go then it would find me, I can’t help it, the road just rolls out behind me, Be kind to me, or treat me mean, I’ll make the most of it, I’m an extraordinary machine.” Fiona Apple, Extraordinary Machine.
“It’s the terror of knowing, What this world is about…” Queen + David Bowie, Under Pressure.
“Love is the answer, At least for most of the questions in my heart, Like: Why are we here, and Where do we go, and How come it’s so hard?” Jack Johnson, Better Together.
“Cause it’s a bittersweet symphony, this life, Try to make ends meet, You’re a slave to money then you die.” The Verve, Bittersweet Symphony.
“When food is gone you are my daily meal.” Florence and the Machine, You’ve Got The Love.
“No one will be watching us, Why don’t we do it in the road?” The Beatles, Why Don’t We Do It In The Road.
“I’ll write you a song and it won’t be hard to sing, It will be a natural anthem, familiar it will seem.” The Postal Service, Natural Anthem.
“Now how can he have her heart, When it got stole, So he tries to pacify her, Cause what’s inside her never dies.” Amy Winehouse, He Can Only Hold Her.
“When I was young, I dreamt of a passionate obligation to a roommate.” Father John Misty, Bored In The USA.
“You were sorta punk rock, I grew up on hip hop, But you fit me better than my favourite sweater, and I know, That love is mean, and love hurts…” Lana Del Rey, Blue Jeans.
“I can’t tell you how I feel, My heart is like a wheel, Let me roll it.” Paul McCartney, Let Me Roll It.
“All my life I’ve stepped to the rhythm of the drums inside my head.” MØ, Walk This Way.
“Don’t get any big ideas, They’re not gonna happen.” Radiohead, Nude.
“Home is wherever I’m with you.” Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Home.
“I wish that I knew what I know now, When I was younger.” Faces, Ooh La La.
“It’s better to feel pain, than nothing at all, The opposite of love’s indifference.” The Lumineers, Stubborn Love.
“It’s not him who’d come across, The sea to surprise you, Not him who would know, Where in London to find you.” Feist, The Park.
“Stand beside it, we can’t hide the way it makes us glow, It’s no good unless it grows, feel this burning, love of mine.” Beach House, Take Care.
“We could slow dance to rock music, Kiss while we do it, Talk til we both turn blue…” Lana Del Rey, Freak.
Honestly, I could go on for hours and I feel like I haven’t even scratched the surface. So many of the artists and genres I adore aren’t represented here – what can I say, it’s just impossible to really capture all of my boyfriend’s nuances and special traits! And this doesn’t even come close to covering songs without words (or songs with words that I can’t quite make out). Those wordless songs hit me just as hard as the poets I’ve quoted above. Is is possible for me to describe this feeling? When I hear certain chords or a sequence of notes that are so beautiful, or even the simple ooh-ing and ahh-ing of an amazing artist, it’s like this swelling emotion that starts in my heart and expands through my entire body. It fills me up and makes that intangible concept of one’s spirit feel real… because that energy and magic I feel when I listen to really good music can’t really be attributed to anything else but my spirit. Music. Are you my spirit animal?
I know, I’m gushing. I sound like someone who’s newly in love but the funny thing is, this boyfriend has been around forever and my love for him only grows. I love him. I will always love him. He is mine and I am his.
Dear Thom, Jonny, Ed, Colin, Philip,
Let me start by saying thank you, for supplying the soundtrack to my life. I have enjoyed your music for many years, and I think this must really be true love. You are with me through it all. When I am feeling blue, I listen to you. When I am feeling anxious, I listen to you. When I am feeling happy, I listen to you. When I am feeling introspective, I listen to you. When I am feeling like I need to dance, I rock out with you.
Your music is beyond powerful. It takes only a few bars of your songs to instantly change my entire state of mind. I become more alert and I just can’t help but start to move along to the tunes. You calm me down, and make me feel more at peace by confirming that I am not alone when I think the world is a crazy place. I am so glad I found you, and that I have you to keep close to my heart (and ears).
I’ll be honest. I didn’t always feel this way. My older sister found you long before I did, and when she used to blast your songs from her bedroom in the basement, I wondered what that noise was and turned up my pop music in response. How I regret those early days of our relationship! If only I had stopped to appreciate the musical arrangements, and Thom’s hypnotic voice! But, we cannot dwell on the past. I am just grateful to have you now, and to share you with my other loved ones.
Let me add that I would not be able to stand the traffic without you. I count myself lucky that I have you to accompany me as I crawl along the highway, gripping my steering wheel, trying not to curse the people around me for being part of the hell that is rush hour. You’ve been particularly helpful at the end of those extra rough days at work – when everything seems to go wrong and I feel as though nobody is on my side, you’re always there to fill my soul with your beautiful music. Somehow, your angst calms my angst – it doesn’t go away, but it feels less consuming when it is shared.
I also wanted to specifically thank you for this amazing gift. I know I’m about 5 years late in sending my thanks, but my discovery of Scotch Mist was the highlight of my winter holidays at the start of 2008:
How close I felt to you after watching you together in your studio! What a beautiful treat for me, and the millions of others who adore you as I do! And, as intimate and captivating as it was, I was equally floored when I saw you on tour last year. You filled that stadium so completely with your sound, it was hard to believe you were this far away:
Please accept my apologies for only getting face time with you twice in my life. The stadium show was really something, but our first date was one I’ll never forget. A show outdoors, in the middle of the summer, what more could a girl ask for? I didn’t even mind the cold rain, or the very real stampede of people when the show ended. It was a night that I will hold close to my heart forever. Plus, it was a bonus that there happened to be fireworks too, although I’m not sure you enjoyed them as much as I did.
If I could be a rockstar and be chums with you, well, I think that would be just awesome. While writing this letter, I’ve also gotten lost in your website, just browsing around and falling into sections I’ve never seen before. You are amazing artists, and never stop surprising me.
Thank you for The King of Limbs, In Rainbows, Hail to the Thief, Amnesiac, Kid A, OK Computer, The Bends, Pablo Honey…for everything. Here’s to many more years together – I hope you know how much I love you, and how much your albums have meant to me.
With much love and deep appreciation, Andrea
Today I will share some thoughts on why I love (and secretly want to work for) Wes Anderson. This man is a genius. His films are beautiful; both heartbreaking and hilarious at the same time, he really captures that duality in a way that hits me straight in the gut. Watching his movies, I often find myself laughing and crying at the same time – and if that isn’t an accurate representation of life, what is?
The first time I saw a Wes Anderson movie, I was in my graduating year of High School. The Royal Tenenbaums came out and as I sat in the theatre watching that film, I knew I was seeing something special. I don’t think my life has been the same since that day – I had always loved how powerful movies can be in telling a story, but this was different. This was a highly stylized world that I needed to be part of. And so began my love affair with Wes Anderson (little does he know).
The following is an overview, in no particular order, of all the elements that make his work so amazing and endearing.
- The Dialogue. Sharp, witty, to the point, and always perfect – the dialogue in Anderson’s movies is hilarious and honest. He has collaborated with Roman Coppola, Noah Baumbach, Owen Wilson, and Jason Schwartzman on some serious gems that I have been known to quote at random. A few of my many favorites:
“If what I think is happening is happening, it better not be.” –Mrs. Fox (Meryl Streep) in Fantastic Mr. Fox
“This is an adventure.” –Steve Zissou (Bill Murray) in The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (100% the inspiration for my blog’s name.)
“Royal O’Reilly Tenenbaum 1932-2001 Died Tragically Rescuing His Family From The Wreckage Of A Destroyed Sinking Battleship” -The inscription on Royal Tenenbaum’s grave in The Royal Tenenbaums (Not a quote but an example of how much I love the writing.)
- The Letters. On a related note (pun intended?), the use of letters or drawings or other is pure genius. It feels so personal, and adds this extra layer to the character that would otherwise be missed. Sometimes the camera cuts away so quickly, you don’t even know what was said – but doesn’t that make it all the better?
- The Slow Motion. There seems to be at least one (if not many) in each of his films and, man, are they great.
- The Narrators. These films are so centered on story telling, it makes sense that most have narrators keeping us informed along the way. The last clip covered this but, hey, here’s another one for fun.
- The Family Dynamic. Aren’t all families a little dysfunctional, in one way or another? Anderson captures that dynamic in a really poignant way and I just love it.
- The Music. It is obvious that every song is carefully selected (probably long before anything else) for specific scenes. The original scores are also really fantastic; Alexandre Desplat has worked on Anderson’s last few movies and I find myself humming his tunes to myself every now and then. I recommend you check out the Music from Wes Anderson Movies playlist on Songza! It was a good day when I found that one. Music on film is so essential to setting the mood, and Anderson’s choices consistently enhance all of the other elements that make his work so great. Here’s a clip that really shows it all – the slow motion, the design, the music, the hilarious characters and circumstances…
I could probably write an entire series of posts about how much I admire these films. Really, the above list could have been 10 times longer and I still wouldn’t be able to capture what it is about Anderson that gets me. All I can say is, thank you Wes, for these beautiful stories.