Catholic Culture News
Catholic Culture News

Asteroid City: delightful, decadent, or despairing?

By Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast ( bio - articles - email ) | Jul 14, 2023 | In Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast

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With the release of his new film Asteroid City and with memes imitating his visual style going viral on social media, Wes Anderson is having a real moment in the zeitgeist almost thirty years into his career.

In Asteroid City, Anderson drives further into the immediately identifiable and somewhat polarizing style he has cultivated for the past decade, characterized by meticulous framing, camera moves and blocking, a certain color palette, and deadpan writing and acting. One is always aware of the director’s hand tightly controlling a cute, harmonious little world of his own creation.

The Criteria hosts look at Anderson’s career and try to figure out what he’s trying to achieve by making his movies so aggressively, well, Anderson-y. James Majewski calls it downright decadent and pretentious, style for its own sake to the point of self-parody. Thomas Mirus is concerned that the increasingly airless and emotionally closed-down aesthetic may be a reflection of Anderson’s belief that life has no discernible meaning, and so there is nothing much to do other than create aesthetic illusions (an idea explicitly alluded to in more than one of his films). Nathan Douglas defends Anderson’s style as sincere, in service to something more than shallow visual pleasure.

But we all agree on one thing: Wes Anderson is in despair.

Criteria is hosted by Thomas V. Mirus and James T. Majewski.

Thomas is Director of Podcasts for and hosts the Catholic Culture Podcast. See full bio.

James is the Director of Customer Relations for as well as the host and narrator for Catholic Culture Audiobooks. See full bio.

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