We never thought the course of writing this blog would bring us around to Steely Dan, but then we never imagined we’d be witness to so many meetings revolving around the placement of an ass (a story for another day). Anyway, though the jazz-rock band and Jack FM staple is supposedly on tour, they’ve had plenty of time for a jokey throwdown with Owen Wilson over "You, Me and Dupree"‘s alleged similarities to their song "Cousin Dupree."
They’ve now brought Wes Anderson into the fray, addressing an open letter to the director on their website:
Let’s begin with a quick review of your career so far, as it is known to us and your fans and wellwishers in general.
You began, spectacularly enough, with the excellent "Bottle Rocket", a film we consider to be your finest work to date. No doubt others would agree that the striking originality of your premise and vision was most effective in this seminal work. Subsequent films – "Rushmore", "The Royal Tenenbaums", "The Life Aquatic" – have been good fun but somewhat disappointing – perhaps increasingly so. These follow-ups have all concerned themselves with the theme we like to call "the enervated family of origin"Ã‚Â©, from which spring diverse subplots also largely concerned with the failure to fulfill early promise. Again, each film increasingly relies on eccentric visual detail, period wardrobe, idiosyncratic and overwrought set design, and music supervision that leans heavily on somewhat obscure 60’s "British Invasion" tracks a-jangle with twelve-string guitars, harpsichords and mandolins. The company of players, while excellent, retains pretty much the same tone and function from film to film. Indeed, you must be aware that your career as an auteur is mirrored in the lives of your beloved characters as they struggle in vain to duplicate early glories.
Heh. Anyway, it leads to Walter Becker and Donald Fagen each offering a title song for Anderon’s next project, "The Darjeeling Limited." We prefer Becker’s version, which is based on the career advice that Anderson return to his "Rocket" roots, and that starts out with a snappy:
Real or imagined
People or places
Living or dead
As-if or actual
Characters or circumstance
It’s all in your head
Whew! We are all ironied out. Hell, it’s August Ã¢â‚¬â€ what have you got to talk about?
Update: The Hollywood Reporter has a piece today on Fox Searchlight’s picking up of "The Darjeeling Limited." Seems a better fit than Disney’s Touchstone Pictures, which released Anderson’s last three films.
+ Wes Anderson — help is on the way (SteelyDan.com)