For Heaven’s Sake Let’s Bring Back The Friday Song

London

There’s little joy to be had this Christmas (although ‘West Side Story’ was a surprisingly good remake – if a trifle unnecessary) so here are the opening titles for Wes Anderson’s ‘The French Despatch’, which will cheer you up if you’re a Wes fan and nauseate you if you’re not.

Anderson noticeably modelled his early films on the output of his tortured mentor, Hal Ashby, one of my favourite directors. In particular, ‘Bottle Rocket’ pays respect to Ashby’s static-framed scenes. Since then Anderson has become his own beast, too dense for some, too whimsical for others. Here at Fowler Towers, though, we love everything he does, although he’ll never improve upon ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’. ‘The French Despatch’ probably needs two or three more viewings before I can decide where it ranks. But that’s how I feel about most films I like.

NB The Friday Song is still not appearing on a Friday.

14 comments on “For Heaven’s Sake Let’s Bring Back The Friday Song”

  1. Paul+C says:

    Thanks, I really enjoyed that ! Loved Anderson’s Rushmore and Grand Budapest Hotel (Moonrise and Zissou were too saccharine and twee ?). Fascinating to learn that his mentor was Hal Ashby whose Being There & Harold and Maude I could watch every week. I must know all the words in Harold and Maude – “Dreyfus once wrote from Devil’s Island that he would see the most glorious birds. Many years later in Brittany he realized they had only been seagulls. For me they will always be glorious birds”.

  2. Stu-I-Am says:

    The thing I’ve always admired about Wes Anderson is his fearlessness; much as I admire Stephen Sondheim. Not only for their distinctive creative aesthetics, but their idiosyncratic choice of material on which to apply them. Both observe at one remove from the life they create and perhaps in Anderson’s case, nowhere is this more evident than in his obvious love of writing and literature, which is certainly writ large in ‘The French Dispatch.’

  3. Stu-I-Am says:

    Another ‘Friday Song’ — this one a suggestion from the incomparable John Wilson and orchestra and the brilliant Anna-Jane Casey on how to bring a bit more joy to this grey winter — ‘Tap Your Troubles Away’ (Jerry Herman’s ‘Mack and Mabel’) from a BBC Proms concert from the ‘good old days.’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GgPZU3YsMuw

  4. Joan says:

    I saw the French Despatch by chance, as my Grand Daughter has a crush on Timothee Chalamet (less said about that the better) and had to go, with me in tow! The only other Wes Anderson film I have seen was Moonrise Kingdom, which was odd, but I actually liked it. In the Despatch the first tale was a bit long I thought, but the second and third more than made up for it. I absolutely loved the way the third was done! I’m looking forward to checking out the Grand Budapest Hotel now.
    Good to hear that you have checked out West Side Story Chris and not found it wanting. Always hesitate to revisit a classic film, but it is so iconic and so much part of our youth that we just have to go.

  5. Roger says:

    According to an art historian I know, the big fault in The French Dispatch is: no competent art dealer was ever convicted of tax evasion. Their tax returns are all candidates for the Fields Medal.

  6. Paul+C says:

    Thanks, Stu – the incomparable John Wilson was born in Gateshead and I’ve attended many of his concerts at the magnificent Sage venue in Gateshead (which I’m looking at from my office window across the Tyne). His concerts of old film music (Korngold, Rozsa, Herrman et al) are really thrilling. I’ve met him a couple of times and he’s a very modest and delightful man. See his concerts if you can…………

  7. Stu-I-Am says:

    @Paul+C Paul (and all who may be interested in hearing more of John Wilson and orchestra after our effusive praise) here’s a better version of ‘Tap Your Troubles Away’ and several more videos of Wilson and Co. unlimited working their magic at the BBC Proms. https://www.theguardian.com/music/2017/apr/20/john-wilson-conductor-oklahama-proms-bbcsso

  8. Stu-I-Am says:

    @Paul+C Paul: Sorry. Should have been clearer with the above ‘John Wilson’ link. You must scroll down to the YouTube ‘Tap Your Trouble Away’ insert. Either click on it to watch that performance or start it, stop it and then click in the ‘Tap’ insert to reveal thumbnails of the other Proms performances from which to choose. I guarantee the trouble is worth it, as you and I both know.

  9. Helen+Martin says:

    Have listened/watched the above twice now and feel considerably cheerier. May run it a third time.

  10. Keith says:

    Wow, that was amazing!

  11. Keith says:

    Just out of interest has anyone seen Get Back? For me this has ro be one of the best music docs of all time. The 4K clean up is mindblowing. Yes Yoko’s in it too, but so what? Maybe without her it would never have happened. This is pure gold.

  12. Stu-I-Am says:

    @Keith Welcome back. Yeah, a good ‘un. Especially enjoyed McCartney in his role as the de facto manager (with Epstein gone) and ‘negotiator-in-chief.’ Well worth the eight hours.

  13. Paul C says:

    Thanks for the above, Stu. There are some John Wilson CDs available but his live performances are far better.

  14. Nancy Boespflug says:

    I really did not want the French Dispatch to end – but I would have happily sat through another 2 1/2 hours of the Grand Budapest Hotel, so I am definitely biased in favor of anything Wes Anderson does. I would joyfully re-watch either of those films two or three times, not to decide how I felt, but just to be happy for that length of time! And I secretly wish I’d been around for the early days of The New Yorker, whose editor, Harold Ross, was evidently the spirit behind the Arthur Howitzer, Jr. character.

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