Director Wes Anderon’s 11th intriguing film “Asteroid City” came out this summer and it was amazing.
The film stars Jason Schwartzman, Scarlett Johansson, Tom Hanks, Edward Norton, Jake Ryan and Grace Edwards. It is set up as the creation of a play, and the play itself takes place in a fictional city in the desert of Arizona named Asteroid City in the autumn of 1955. The city has a giant crater and is hosting a “Junior Stargazer” convention, which honors five teenage prodigies.
The convention is interrupted by an extraterrestrial being, played by Jeff Goldblum, who steals a piece of the meteorite that created the crater. The city then gets placed under quarantine to figure out how to handle the alien invasion.
The film has a lot of humor in the style of Anderson’s other films such as absurd events being treated as mundane.
For example, in the movie there is a bridge that is demolished and instead of tearing the rest of it down there is only a sign that reads “ramp closed indefinitely.”
This form of humor is very silly and I laughed a few times in the theater watching the film. The film also has references to the Looney Tunes’ “Roadrunner” cartoons, which were also quite comical.
“Asteroid City” has three acts which periodically get interrupted by the creation of the play. In the creation, playwright Conrad Earp (Norton), meets actor Jones Hall (Schwartzman) who is immediately cast to play the character of Augie Steenbeck (Schwartzman). Conrad and Jones develop a romantic relationship with each other as well.
Augie is a war photographer and a widower who is taking his son Woodrow (Ryan), and his three daughters to Asteroid City to see Woodrow be honored at the Junior Stargazer convention. Augie meets actress Midge Campbell (Johansson) whose daughter Dinah (Edwards) is also honored in the Junior Stargazer convention.
Both Augie and Midge, and Woodrow and Dinah fall in love during the week-long quarantine. The romantic segments are quite short lived, not much happens with it but it really gets the characters out of their shell.
Something in particular that I found great and relatable about the film is how Woodrow starts out very shy but becomes more integrated with the other prodigies. It is always awesome to see characters who are shy make friends, as it is important for them to learn. It might be a trope, but it is a good one and one I relate to wholeheartedly.
The nonsensical plot of “Asteroid City” was nice to see as it was humorous throughout the whole film. It is also refreshing to see Anderson get back into directing films again, as they are always great to watch. Anderson has a particular sense of humor and style that is appreciated but not able to be replicated perfectly. His movies are important to the culture of films and they are all worth a watch. I personally recommend watching “Asteroid City” if you have not already because it is good to see how a master makes a film.
Nico Brazill can be contacted at