Thursday, October 22, 2009

Dr Seuss and Roald Dahl never did me any harm

In Martin Amis’s excellent autobiography Experience (by far his best book) he describes how he is Saul Bellow’s ‘perfect reader’ (and Chris Hitchens, he suggests, is Kingsley’s perfect reader). I think I might be Wes Anderson’s ‘perfect viewer’. The Darjeeling Limited, The Royal Tenenbaums, Rushmore – I could watch any of them any number of times with a fixed expression of rapt wonderment and glee, of the kind that you might see on the face of a five year-old if Bob the Builder came riding into the living room on Thomas the Tank Engine, bearing a tray of Milky Bars and plastic tat. The Life Aquatic is possibly my favourite, but if there are flaws in any of Wes Anderson’s films then I am impervious to them.

A stop-motion animation of Fantastic Mr Fox is next from him. It’s bound to be good, though the other day Nige gave us a surprisingly hostile rant against Roald Dahl. I seem to remember our own Peter B, I think, launching a similar tirade against the nonsense verse of Dr Seuss once (correct me if I’m wrong, Peter).

Well I loved both Dahl and Seuss, and it never did me any harm. Certainly I didn’t seem to turn into a psychotic spouter of nonsense, but grew into a perfectly rounded and responsible member of society. And if you don’t believe that’s true,
I’ll fill your nostrils up with glue,
I’ll stuff your pants with itchy ants,
And give you weird breast-implants.
I’ll run you over with a tractor,
Then make you sit through The X Factor
(Including the bits with the Irish twins),
And then I’ll put you in three bins.

In three bins, you say,
But how?
I do not understand you now.
You could put me in a box.
You could put me with a fox.
You could put me in a house.
You could put me with a mouse.
In a tree
Or on a flea
Or with a Zizzle-Zozzle-Zee.
But still I fear I cannot see
How in three bins you could put me!

Before your puzzlement increases:
I’ll chop you into little pieces,
Your guts will burst like pus-filled pimples,
And in three bins I’ll put you.



Nige said...

Hoho! Great stuff - and I'm with you on Wes Anderson, even if several teams of wild horses wouldn't drag me to Fantastic Mr Fox. Oh and I'm all for Dr Seuss too, esp Green Eggs and Ham.

Gaw said...

Great stuff. As Seb Faulks is to Ian Fleming so Brit could be to Dr Seuss?

Didn't The Royal Tenenbaum's run out of steam after the first third or so? Didn't go anywhere and wasn't funny enough to justify running on the spot. Similar problems with his others: clever and amusing concept but lack of plotting means they don't keep you involved for the whole 90-120 minutes.

I don't think Wes Anderson's as good as Spike Jonze, who for some reason I bracket him with. He's not directed anything as accomplished and clever as Adaptation.

Brit said...

I've no idea, Gaw. As I said, I'm quite impervious to any flaws in Anderson's films. To me they're pure joy. I love the worlds he creates, I suppose - just 10% off reality.

I liked Adaption but preferred Being John Malkovich, but find I have no urge to re-watch Jonze, as I do with Anderson's films.

Gaw said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gaw said...

This is just a wonderful bit of bile. Children's literature can be surprisingly and enjoyably full of needle. Who knew?

Uncle Dick Madeley said...

There is a hole in my brain where there should probably be a love of Wes Anderson’s films. I quite enjoyed ‘Rushmore’ but absolute hated (HATED!) ‘The Royal Tenenbaums’. I know... I know... I’ve had this argument many times with friends who think Anderson bears the genes of Christ but I just can’t abide the man’s films. I seem to recollect being appalled by the smug pretentiousness and the fact that I just didn't find it funny.

Brit said...

I really, honestly can't see any pretentiousness in them. They're too silly to be pretentious.

Peter Burnet said...


At the time, I think I was just out of re-hab, having been driven to drink by the film "How the Grinch Stole Christmas". It was years before the nightmares about being trapped in an elevator with Cindy Lou Who stopped.

Mike Beversluis said...

Rushmore's really good, but my favorite Wes Anderson movie is Harold and Maude.

Gaw said...

T and the boy (4, just) went to see Mr Fox. They're both big fans of the book.

T thought it was well-executed and attractive visually but the plot was all over the place. It lost both kids and adults numerous times ('self-indulgent meandering', 'as if it was made for the director and actors rather than the audience').

Boy said he loved it but T reckoned he spent half the film talking, eating sweets, playing with sweets and asking for more sweets. This activity coincided with the longuers.

ghostofelberry said...

Good use of Nico's "These Days" on Tenenbaums; also The Faces' "Ooh La La" at the end of Rushmore; and Iggy Pop's "Search and Destroy" on The Life Aquatic.

i tried to show Rushmore to my stalker friend the Viking - he started moaning and covering his eyes and beating his skull as Max's stalker tactics so closely mirror his own. We had to stop and switch to Platoon.