I recently watched The Grand Budapest Hotel for the first time all the way through since I saw it in theaters early last year. I almost think I may have lessened my enthusiasm for the movie as time went on, convincing myself that it was good but not too good, or anywhere near as good as The Royal Tenenbaums.
It may not be, but I thoroughly enjoyed the second viewing, and came to appreciate it as its own film, not just as another volume in the Wes Anderson library.
I find it hard sometimes to write about lines that stood out to me in a film, because there’s no way to convey with words how it feels to watch something and have some random phrase rise up from the rest of the work and go straight to your heart. In my recent Grand Budapest viewing, it was a line spoken through voice-over by Jude Law’s character, the 1968 version of the author whose book, “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” frames the movie’s story. He explains how his chance meeting came about with the hotel’s owner, which leads to him learning about the establishment’s storied history:
“…until, in what I’ve found to be its mysterious and utterly reliable fashion, fate, once again, intervened on my behalf.”
This really makes no sense out of context, and I can’t find a clip of this exact moment. But I just thought that was a really beautiful way to describe fate, or whatever force you believe causes events to happen. “Mysterious and utterly reliable.” You never know what will happen, but when whatever happens does happen, it seems to be perfectly timed.
Also, as is my wont, I have developed a newfound obsession with an actor in a movie whose performance I enjoyed but who I didn’t know much about. That would be F. Murray Abraham, and I’m working on watching more of his stuff. Though I did already know – because everything in my life has some weird Watergate connection – that he played one of the cops who busts the Watergate burglars in All the President’s Men.
One other random movie tidbit: I was so distraught over Oregon’s loss to Ohio State in the college football title game on Monday that all I wanted to do to cheer myself up was watch Juno, so I could reminisce about the role that made me love now-Golden-Globe winner and Oscar nominee J.K. Simmons.
Juno is one of my all-time favorites, and while Simmons has a smaller part, he plays it perfectly. You totally buy everything he says and does. He’s a small-town dad who has a simple life but who works hard for his family and knows the little things are the most important. And his wife is played by Allison Janney! The best couple, basically.
I love awards season. For some reason all the races and the controversies and the glamour are fascinating to me. And while there’s obviously a fair share of big names nominated this year (and a lot of love for Grand Budapest), I love that J.K. Simmons, the dad from Juno, whom I’ve known of for years because of that role, finally found the role that’s getting him his due.