Matt Zoller Seitz has completed his five-part look at Wes Anderson’s influences.
Seek out the video links in the right sidebar; they’re better than just reading the text. From the Salinger segment:
Detractors say Anderson’s dense production design (courtesy of regular collaborator David Wasco) overwhelms his stories and characters. This complaint presumes that in real life our grooming and style choices aren’t a kind of uniform — visual shorthand for who we are or who we want others to think we are. This is a key strength of both Anderson and Salinger’s work. Both artists have a knack for what might be called “material synecdoche” — showcasing objects, locations, or articles of clothing that define whole personalities, relationships, or conflicts.
The fifth part, where Seitz annotates the beginning segment of The Royal Tenenbaums with text, images, and video, is particularly fun to watch.