John Andrew Fredrick

Fucking Innocent: The Early Films Of Wes Anderson

Published by Rare Bird Books

Apr 10, 2018 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Full of erudition and insight, John Andrew Fredrick's book on the early films of Wes Anderson also has a great feel for the auteur's characters, and for Anderson himself. The three essays - on Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, and The Royal Tenenbaums - are formed from lectures given by Fredrick at the University of Southern California on Anderson's early work, and reading them one gets caught up in the excitement and admiration Fredrick clearly has for this trio of films, reminding us just how wonderful Anderson's movies are. I even literally laughed out loud at Fredrick's description of Max's scholarship-earning play in Rushmore and the discussions of Royal Tenenbaum himself. Some of the stylistic choices in the writing are disconcerting at first - heavy use of the '/' and "or" - less not wanting to commit than showing scope - as well as occasional word repetition, i.e. "prophetic prophet", perhaps understandable given their oratorical origins, though these quibbles pass swiftly along in the tumultuous force of all the author has to say. A musician himself (do check out his long-running band The Black Watch for some good shoegaze-y pop, who deserve an award for their album title Led Zeppelin Five), Fredrick rightfully points out Anderson's deft placing of the right song for any given cinematic moment and explains why such greats by The Who, The Beatles, The Creation, etc. are the perfect fit. The chapters get shorter as the book goes along, with the one on The Royal Tenenbaums a mere twenty-one pages. But you'd never know it save for the paper thinness in your right hand such is the wealth of information and analysis present regarding that film. Reading these is like listening to a friend so steeped in a subject he gets you rearing to dive into it again yourself post-haste, armed with all your new knowledge.

(www.rarebirdbooks.com)

 

Author rating: 8/10

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