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The Anderson Boys, You’re Our Only Hope

Greeting and salutations* from San Francisco’s historic Castro Theatre where legend has it, after the 1968 film premier of Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple, a cockeyed Jack Lemmon took a stand for alcoholic film nerds everywhere by conjuring the might of 200 Felix Ungers to uncork a can of whoop-ass on his equally soused co-star Walter Matthau in an ill-conceived charity mud-wrestling match gone amuck.

According to fabled S.F. columnist Herb Caen,  who covered the spectacle, the Charity Dust-Up lasted only two rounds (Lemmon in a T.K.O.) and was the last time moviegoers could buy a Scotch Slushee from the Castro Theatre concession stand …

Are you taking note Fox Television Development Executives? Who needs Paula Abdul when you’ve got Odd Couple Celebrity Mud Wrestling waiting in the wings? If you ask me, that’s high concept entertainment with lowbrow aesthetics, I can totally see a 30 share ... Wait don’t hang up, I’ve got more ideas! Call my agent, let’s do lunch! Shit.

Punch-Drunk Love; courtesy of Columbia Pictures

The Oddball Andersons Rock The Cinematic House

Resigned to the fact my myriad of bizarrely genius television concepts will probably never see the light of day (see Odd Couple Celebrity Mud Wrestling, Genetically Modified Transgender Gopher Bowling and Celebrity Slut Makeover), I’m losing myself this week in the films of two of my very favorite oddball contemporary directors … and a giant John Goodman-sized bag of jerkied beef.*

If you’ve gleaned any shred of filmic cool from my column, you must know to whom I refer, The Anderson Boys: P.T. and Wes … two low-profile film nerds, turned auteur directors, whose movies have a funny way of becoming permanent fixtures in our pop culture iconography. For the nimrods out there who still don’t know who I’m talking about, get your sweet asses on down to the Castro (tonight and tomorrow) and get up to speed before you get left behind.

You’re just in time to check out a few of the Anderson Boys’ lesser-known (yet equally impressive) films: PTA’s Hard Eight and Punch Drunk Love and Wes’ Bottle Rocket and The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou.

The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou; courtesy of Buena Vista Pictures

Putting Up With The Auteur Tango

Note to Anderson(s): No pressure guys but in the last 10 years, you’ve amassed a nearly flawless oeuvre that gives hope to cinephiles everywhere who yearn for an American New Wave to show us the way out of the moronic morass of filmic hell we’ve all diligently suffered through for decades.

Alas, like other auteurs who came before them, Stanley Kubrick, the Coen Brothers, David Lynch and Terrence Malick, I just wish they’d make more movies … Five years is a long time to wait in-between hits boys, you’re killing me! The upside is, in this day and age, who would have thunk art and film could ever mix again? Before Jaws and Star Wars ruined us all forever, everyone did! Thanks for reminding us it’s still possible …

While you sink your teeth into their earlier work, check out the trailers for the two new Anderson flicks coming to a theater near you in early 2008, and, if you’re still not convinced, you’re so dead to me …

On Deck For PTA And Wes Anderson
•    The Darjeeling Ltd. (2008) – Dir. W. Anderson - Four years since The Life Aquatic, Wes is back with another trademark father-centric, ennui-steeped, comic-family-drama laced with childlike storybook whimsy. Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody and Jason Schwartzman star in the tale of three brothers who travel to India to find their late dad who they believe has been reincarnated as an albino leopard. Poppa H can taste the stylized set pieces, ultra-hip rock soundtrack and slow-motion final scene now …

•    There Will Be Blood (2008): Dir. P.T. Anderson - His first feature since Punch-Drunk Love (in 2002), There Will Be Blood is a loose adaptation of Upton Sinclair’s novel Oil!, about um, er … oil I guess. PTA paired with the elusive genius Daniel Day-Lewis (in the starring role) has me drooling already.

Until next time film nerds, be bad, and get into trouble baby*.

Happenings Round Town: Castro Theater
Tues. (8/7) – The Anderson Chronicles Film Fest
•    Bottle Rocket (1996) – Dir. Wes Anderson
•    Hard Eight (1996) – Dir. P.T. Anderson

Weds. (8/8) – The Anderson Chronicles Film Fest
•    The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou (2004) – Wes Anderson
•    Punch-Drunk Love (2002) – Dir. P.T. Anderson

Volume 23 Footnotes*
•    “Greetings and salutations.” – Heathers (1991): Christian Slater doing his best Nicholson impersonation to a monacle-lovin’ Winona Ryder.
•    “This is as far as we go…No more cockamamie cigar smoke. No more Swedish meatballs there, tootsie. And no more phony Irish whiskey…And no more goddamned jerkied beef…The party's over.” – Trading Places (1983): Clarence Beeks threatens Eddie Murphy and company on the New Years Eve Party Train before taking it on the head (then in the caboose) by a gorilla.
•    “Let’s get into trouble baby.” – Tapeheads (1988): Soul Train host Don Cornelius (as Hollywood Producer Mo Fuzz) to upstart filmmakers Tim Robbins and John Cusack.