Both movies do the same basic thing: They celebrate fine writing. As I complained in an earlier blog, as I sat watching The Grand Budapest Hotel, I thought, “Darn, I’m not clever enough to have written that.” When I watched Birdman, I didn’t have that same sensation because I was too busy marveling at how Iñárritu and co. were able to masterfully use Raymond Carver’s story and bring it to life in a whole new way. I’ll never be able to teach it again without thinking of the performances by Ed Norton and Michael Keating.
As a writer, I won’t stop dreaming either. When Matt Damon made a name for himself with Good Will Hunting, I thought: if this guy can come out of nowhere and put himself on the map, I can surely do the same thing. I haven’t written a great screenplay yet (although I’ve written several). I don’t have a novel famous enough to be adapted for the stage—yet. But I can certainly appreciate the fine writing I see at the movies, especially when it gets recognized in the most public way.
This is not to say that everyone I know loved these films. One friend thought The Grand Budapest Hotel was a simple, predictable story, but the guy has a CV about three hundred miles long, so perhaps he’s naturally critical. And another friend disliked Birdman. (What?!) But to me, both were fun, strong films. Wes Anderson captures a whimsical era and has fun with it in every moment. Alejandro González Iñárritu captures our fears of inadequacy while reminding us of the very difficult prospect of understanding and embracing true love.
We can’t go wrong either way.
To read about my novels:http://www.drransdellnovels.com
For my post on The Grand Budapest Hotel: