Anyhow, in the interim, I have had Cassavetes' name invoked time and time again. First is in a recent NY Times fluff piece feature about Spike Jonze's Where the Wild Things Are. In my review of the film for Paste, I bemoaned the film's "infantile dialogue" and "plot devoid of conflict," spurring a reader to comment that I needed to "read Eggers' adaptation prior to seeing the movie...(so as) to pick up on a lot more of the subplot." Which I uh...geez, really? I need to read an adaptation of a children's book (but not the original book itself) in order to understand a movie that children (and or immature adults) will go see? Per the Times piece, it says that Spike Jonze and screenwriter Dave Eggers modeled such inanity on the films of Cassavetes.
Not even a few weeks on, I came across Richard Brody's
Anderson’s men still behave like petulant children in the throes of arrested development, while the women—be they Margot Tenenbaum or Eleanor Zissou—are chilly and hastily sketched, serving mainly as objects of desire for the male leads to place on pedestals. All of Anderson’s characters blindly stumble about, emotionally estranged from family, relationships, themselves, and ultimately reality. And yet for all of their personal tumult, they exist in a cute, stylized world as tidy as any play or book.Needless to say, Darjeeling did little to alleviate such concerns, existing in a bubble outside of modern-day concerns. (And Slate's grousing about Anderson's films and "the clumsy, discomfiting way he stages ineractions between white protagonists --typically upper-class élites-- and nonwhite foils" is dead-on but a whole other can of worms.) The piece asks if Anderson's films are apolitical, to which he responds: "The politics in them is the politics among the characters."
For two directors that trade in cleverness, stylishness, and neat'n'tidy characterizations, not to mention eternal childishness, can they be more any more opposed to the femme-centered, mentally-messy, confounding, irrational, uneasy, emotionally-draining, raw, yet totally mature and adult films of Cassavetes?