Title: Asteroid City
MPA Rating: PG-13
Director: Wes Anderson
Starring: Jason Schwartzman, Scarlet Johansson, Bryan Cranston
Runtime: 1 hr 45 mins
What It Is: We follow Augie Steenbeck (Schwartzman), a photographer and new widower. He alongside his four children are in the desert town of Asteroid City for a junior stargazers event. Likewise movie star Midge Campbell (Johansson) is there with her daughter for the same reason. These two are just a few of the cast of characters present at this event. When something life-changing occurs every single person there will be changed from it. Some for the best…some, well, not so much.
What We Think: What a bloated, self-fellating bit of nonsense. Wes Anderson, who I love, continues to just try to be too cool for everyone and too smart for most. Instead it just comes off as all trying far too hard. I’m all for quirk and style but I am at my limit with Anderson. It isn’t that he isn’t talented. There are definitely some moments in this that show how good a filmmaking eye Anderson has. He just gets in his own way. He’s far too concerned with his aesthetic and never concerns himself with making the film approachable. Your average film enjoyer is not going to want to partake in this film. The hipster chic aesthetic and kitsch production design wears really thin and the approach (a film within a play) just confuses.
Our Grade: C-, Too pretty a film for me to completely hate it. This thing is a mess. Confusing storytelling, mixed with a massive missed opportunity to make something digestible, and less frustrating. You FINALLY get Tom Hanks and he puts his all into it and it misses the mark around him. Wes. Buddy. We gotta talk. Being frank I would love for you to just make a film that easy to watch. Something that feels like there’s emotion and passion in it. This and The French Dispatch just didn’t really work for this reason. Give us something with heart and people will flock to it. You’ve proven you can do it Wes. Show us…again.