For “Hipsters of a Certain Age”: Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest

by | Nov 8, 2013 | Uncategorized

A first love: Anderson's Rushmore trailer

A first love: Anderson’s Rushmore trailer

When I first saw this trailer for Wes Anderson’s Rushmore as a high school sophomore, I rejected it out of hand.  I was precocious and pretentious enough to consider myself above anything like the final OR scrubs pun.  Little did I suspect that, when I finally saw the movie 3 years later, my love of Rushmore and Anderson would instantly become the most precocious and pretentious thing about me.

I learned a valuable lesson about books and their covers through the experience (or was it movies and their trailers?), and I complacently reveled in the confidence that no other Andersonian trailer could possibly oust it from its place in my heart.  Rushmore was the hidden gem I had found, in a way symbolic of the secret delight I felt so often when reveling in the minutiae of Anderson’s movies: “No one else will ever catch detail X, fully appreciate how clever/beautiful/intricate it is.”

But the secret is out.  After a decade and a half of online oversharing on the part of many—including myself—it turns out that I belong to a vast class of people (we’ll call them hipsters of a certain age) appreciate the exact same details for the exact same cleverness/beauty/intricacy.  And that’s ok.  Perhaps it is the breaking wave of the next post-idiosyncrasy social movement, but I kinda like the feeling the sensation that I am a part of a global brother ‘n sisterhood bound by a common cinematic taste.

Which brings us to the new trailer just released for Anderson’s latest The Grand Budapest Hotel: unlike with Rushmore, no secrets here.  I loved it the moment I hit play.  As noted by many, Anderson’s signature style is instantly and pervasively recognizable.  And Anderson just as clearly has chosen to sidestep his one major weakness: preference for style over actually, you know, having a plot.1

Here the outlines of the romping narrative are pretty obvious from just under 3 minutes:  Gustav H., the philandering concierge at the Grand Budapest with an eye for octogenarians, receives a bequest from one of his paramours after she is unexpectedly murdered.  Thereafter, her indignant son and the police chase Gustav and his devout lobby boy throughout the picturesque Hungarian countryside.  Hijinks, sight gags, and a slew of understated/over-makeupped cameos ensue.

Where Rushmore was a diamond in the rough, Grand Budapest looks like a grand fireworks spectacular.  Me and the rest of Anderson’s Kite-Flying Society should probably get in line for tickets now.  If you don’t like loud noises and lying down on the grass, though, (or in this case, saturated colors and intricate miniatures) you had best stay at home.  If you don’t know Anderson or are on the fence, well, come along for the ride … you just might find your hidden gem.

  1. That means you, Steve Zissou.

Chris Schroeder, SJ   /   All posts by Chris