Monday, October 29, 2007

The Life Advertic With Wes Anderson

One of the best things about watching the World Series was seeing those fascinating AT&T commercials, with the actors having scenery move behind them as they're whisked from city to city. Part of them fun of them was trying to figure out why they were so fascinating, since there isn't much happening in any of them (and the final conceit of running all the city names together is kind of dumb).

Now, I didn't realize this until I started researching this post (yes, I really do research these posts), but the spots were directed by the great Wes Anderson, mastermind of Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, et cetera. So that would explain what's so engrossing about them. One obvious asset is that the acting is really, really good in them, especially considering that the actors have very little to do in them. The guy playing the actor, for one, is Larry Pine, a Broadway veteran whom you may have also seen in Louis Malle's 1994 movie Vanya on 42nd Street (and if you haven't seen it, you should).

Another cool thing about them is that the star of one installment will turn up in the background of other spots; Pine, for instance, is also the college student's dad and is in some kind of boardroom in Flagstaff for the salesman ad. Something fun to watch for next time you see one.

We at OPC are very glad to see talents like Wes Anderson making TV ads, as we've noted before. TV's bad enough as it is; it's nice when a little quality leaks through.

Here's Larry Pine:

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Fascinating post. It's impressive that Wes Anderson could actually convey his voice as a director in such short form.

T. Nawrocki said...

Thanks. I had no idea it was Wes Anderson until I went nosing around on the Internet trying to find out who the actors were. Perhaps someone better versed in filmic grammar could have identified the spots as the work of Wes Anderson, but all I could tell was that they were really good.

Anonymous said...

Oh -- I hope I didn't imply that the spots are identifiable as Anderson's. They're only identifiable once you know it, if that makes sense. The exotic locales, the baroque touches ... even the seemingly throwaway timing of Pine saying "Monty" into the cellphone at the very end of one of them. Once you know they're Anderson, it just feels right.