Wes Anderson

REVIEW: ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ Is Wes Anderson’s Most Cartoonish Effort Yet

I didn’t always dislike Wes Anderson’s work so intensely. It may be that when he stops clowning around long enough to make live-action films that aren’t self-conscious mash-ups of Looney Tunes and Buster Keaton/Charlie Chaplin Silent-Era capers I will like it again.

I am shivering all alone way out on a frozen tundra with this opinion. The New York Times has made The Grand Budapest Hotel a Critics Pick. I seldom disagree with them on their picks, but I can see A.O. Scott’s reasoning; to understand the film properly, in particular Anderson’s reference to Austrian writer Stefan Zweig, one should read Scott’s review.

Black Sheep of the Family

A Black Sheep for Thanksgiving

While pondering dysfunctional relationships the other day in anticipation of my trip home for Thanksgiving, I hopped links until I landed on a few sites that discussed the phenomenon of the black sheep/outcast in a family.  The gist of some current pop psychology thinking is that, unless the black sheep has a mental impairment or other function-obstructer, it is the family that outcasts him that is dysfunctional, not him.  Apparently they tend to hide behind a wall of acute conformity and normalness, and make him the scapegoat for their various neuroses, anxieties and other personality bugaboos.

The goats and the sheep make it a little too Old MacDonald Had a Farm, I gotta say.  As almost purely a descendant of Scottish Highlanders, goats and sheep are in my blood.  Maybe I’m indentifying with this.  Maybe not.

The notion of the dysfunctional family heaping their shit on the black sheep makes some sense, but I’m not sure I entirely agree—I am certainly no victim, and very much enjoy and cultivate my outsider status.  My family couldn’t disagree with their dysfunctionality even if they tried: my father has been in AA for maybe thirty years; my brother has been sober most of his adult life because the drinking was getting out of hand when he was younger (but he’s not in a program that I’m aware of); my sister once qualified herself to me as an “enabler,” and has tried all kinds of programs; my mother met her husband at an Al-Anon meeting.  Counting me, that’s all of us.