I had to do a double-take after reading on Stereogum today that indie-country troubadour Will Oldham, a.k.a. Bonnie “Prince” Billy, had lashed out at director Wes Anderson’s “completely cancerous approach to using music” in his movies. Cancerous? Really? That quote came from a longer interview with The Onion A.V. Club in which Oldham referred to Anderson as “the cancer that is that Darjeeling guy,” then accused his methods of amounting to, “basically, ‘Here’s my iPod on shuffle, and here’s my movie.’ The two are just thrown together.” As one of my EW co-workers retorted upon reading this: “Jeez, I like Wes Anderson’s use of music in movies so much more than anything Oldham has ever done (and I like Oldham).”
I’m not sure I’d go quite that far. (I See a Darkness is pretty awesome!) Oldham’s making a very weird argument here, though. Anderson is justly renowned for his skill at picking the perfect song to accentuate the emotions in a given scene. Think of the way he used Elliott Smith’s harrowing “Needle in the Hay” in The Royal Tenenbaums (below — warning, graphic imagery), or the Rolling Stones’ “I Am Waiting” in Rushmore, or Seu Jorge’s Bowie covers in The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou. Anderson has certain arguable flaws as a filmmaker, and Oldham isn’t obligated to love his movies by any means, but those sequences are definitely not the work of a lazy dude pressing “shuffle”!
Or maybe I’m over-reacting. What do you think of Oldham’s critique? Do you have a favorite Wes Anderson music moment?
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Dave Matthews Band kicks off 2009 tour at Madison Square Garden
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