In Which Hotel Chevalier Claims Its Latest Victim After Destroying Natalie Portman and Jason Schwartzman In The Process

Notes on a Sunday

by Daniel Murray

I am still happy that the next time I enter the cinema, I’ll have the opportunity to sit in Wes Anderson’s India, even after watching the prologue to The Darjeeling Limited.

Hotel Chevalier made me think “Shit! The critics are right. Wes Anderson and his man-boy are stuck. Stuck in the Hotel Chevalier forever!” Yes, yes. It is sort of pretty. But mostly—it takes great pains for me to say this—it is utter shit.

Try playing a Holocaust survivor. I heard they’re casting Elie Wiesel’s Night, get your name out there

We see that finally, Max Fisher has grown up. No longer are his emotions and obsessions all over the radar: he seems focused on only a few things, namely departure and possibly (only possibly) real self-discovery. But like his younger self, he’s limited only to knowing how to dress. Despite his little graces, he doesn’t know when to dress and he can’t speak to women.

Come on! Haven’t we all learned some new pillow talk in the last 10 years!

And despite the most truthful frame in the history of cinema (the first ass shot), Anderson blows his chance with a sad-sack imitation of his own work.

Sandra! Get me my mittens! I wish to prance around in piles of rice and pretend I am in the snow!

“7 Stars” — Apples in Stereo (mp3)

“So Pretty” — Kid Dakota (mp3)

But then I was overcome by a fleeting sense of relief. Anderson had finally left his own world and entered our world, the real world via Hollywood! Thank you!

It didn’t last long.


“Better” — Brooke Fraser (mp3)

There’s always a subtle sense of the lie lurking right behind the eyes and ears of the good actor. He knows the lie and in doing so lives truthfully on the screen. He’s not just a character any more. Schwartzman pulls this off despite the half-hearted effort of his boss and of the finished project. Whatever the (despised) word quirk might mean, I think Schwartzman’s quirk is killer. I could watch the man-boy turn the light switch on and off, throw chocolate wrappers anywhere, and run bathwater from sun-up to sundown. Next time I watch Hotel Chevalier, I will watch it sans dialogue.

I would love to remake the HC as a silent picture, directing my actors with the occasional cow prod to the ass. Leave the music in (a decent tune although the worst Anderson soundtrack ever) and save the gem of dialogue towards the end when NP says something like, “Despite what happens I would never hurt you on purpose.” JP, “I don’t care.” Maybe then it would be what A.O Scott called a “precious gem of a film” or something like that.

I live in a constant state of suspended disbelief. So when I enter the cinema, I’m geared to continue either to a) believe in IT ALL or b) believe in not believing any of it. Hotel Chevalier is neither here nor there. Luckily, it’s at least in Paris.

Which of us should tongue his balls first?

I do wonder if I’m supposed to believe in Anderson’s world. I wonder if Wes wants me to. The HC is a teaser, a prologue, a whatever, for The Darjeeling Limited. But seriously people, did Wes Anderson even direct this piece? I think an imposter produced this shit. Did he call this one in from Dallas? Actually my roommate told me Marc for Marc Jacobs directed it.

“I Saw a Light” — Bat for Lashes (mp3)

“I Can’t Stand The Rain” — Ann Peebles (mp3)

Alas, the formula doesn’t work here. And he had the audacity to throw in that stupid fucking slow-motion track at the end! And why the fuck was NP standing nude in the parlor?

At least the track leads to a marvelous final frame, one that luckily eclipses the rest of the film. The view not of Paris but of a building: a tableau of empty windows rendered in a lovely early-evening Parisian blue. How lovely, thanks for thinking of us, Wes! The typical Anderson irony that we love, and I think, finally, it works.

I can’t believe Lindsay Lohan vomited on all of us, THAT’S LIKE SO WEIRD

But the bull wears thin. Hotel Chevalier is essentially only a deleted scene from the TDL. I do look forward to discovering what she put in his suitcase and discovering why she’s tattered and beaten. I do want to know why this grown up Max Fisher finally had enough and ran away. I give Anderson props for pulling a stunt like this, but if it continues, he will be the one wearing them bruises.

Daniel Murray is a writer, photographer, and filmmaker living in Williamsburg.

“Fog (Again)” — Radiohead (live, mp3)


Indulge in the Best of Tess:

Workin For The Church While Tyra Banks Diets (And Part Two) was the most hilarious parody of an Arcade Fire lyric ever.

Barack N’ Roll: Part One brought us closer to G.O.D.

This much was obvious: Meg White Doesn’t Care About Your Listening Pleasure Like We Do

ANTM’s Cycle 9 Cannot Possibly Be Talked About Enough. Agreed.

6 thoughts on “In Which Hotel Chevalier Claims Its Latest Victim After Destroying Natalie Portman and Jason Schwartzman In The Process

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