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Starring: Jason Schwartzman, Scarlett Johansson, Tom Hanks, Jeffrey Wright, Tilda Swinton, Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Adrien Brody, Liev Schreiber, Hope Davis, Stephen Park, Rupert Friend, Maya Hawke, Steve Carell, Matt Dillon, Hong Chau, Willem Dafoe, Margot Robbie, Tony Revolori, Jake Ryan, Jeff Goldblum, Sophia Lillis
OUR RATING: ★★★☆☆
Romantic comedy written and directed by Wes Anderson. Asteroid City (2023) is set in a fictional American desert town circa1955, where the itinerary of a Junior Stargazer/Space Cadet convention, organized to bring together students and parents from across the country for fellowship and scholarly competition, is spectacularly disrupted by world-changing events.
Our Favorite Quotes:'In my loneliness, or perhaps because of it, I've learned not to judge people, to take people as I find them, not as others find them, and most of all, to give complete and unquestioning faith to the people I love.' - Stanley Zak Click To Tweet
Host: Asteroid City does not exist. It is an imaginary drama created expressly for this broadcast. The characters are fictional, the text hypothetical, the events an apocryphal fabrication. But together they present an authentic account of the inner workings of a modern theatrical production.
Host: Our story begins, of course, with an ink ribbon. Conrad Earp, playwright, native of upper Wyoming, well-known for his romantic poetic tapestries of life west of the Rocky Mountains.
Host: There is little amusement to be had, however, in watching a man type. Skip ahead, then, past the lonely, agonized months of composing, revising, polishing, editing, rewriting, cutting, pasting, pacing, doodling, and solitary drinking, and join our company as they take the stage for their first read-through rehearsal.
Conrad Earp: Note to chief electrician, the light of the desert sun is neither warm nor cool, but always clean. And, above all, unforgiving.
'“Time heals all wounds.” No. Maybe it can be a Band-Aid.' - Augie Steenbeck (Asteroid City) Click To Tweet
Stanley Zak: [over phone] You’re not here?
Augie Steenbeck: We’re not there. The car exploded. Come get the girls.
Stanley Zak: The car exploded?
Augie Steenbeck: Parts of the car exploded itself, yes. Come get the girls.
Stanley Zak: I’m not their chauffeur. I’m their grandfather. Where are you?
Augie Steenbeck: Asteroid City. Farm Route Six, mile 75.
Augie Steenbeck: The time is never right.
Stanley Zak: The time is always wrong.
Billy: Dear Heavenly Father, we thank thee kindly for a terrific bus ride. I ate three boxes of Cracker Jacks, got a dog whistle, and a miniature map of the original thirteen colonies. Also, we saw a coyote get run over by a fourteen-wheeler and left him flat as a pancake.
Midge Campbell: My word. It’s hot.
Dinah: It’s the desert. What’d you expect?
Midge Campbell: I don’t know if I expected one thing or another, but I’m wilting like a cut petunia.
Dinah: Humans don’t wilt.
'If you wanted to live a nice, quiet, peaceful life, you picked the wrong time to get born.' - General Gibson (Asteroid City) Click To Tweet
Motel Manager: You’re in cabin seven. Well, tent seven. Here’s the key, but there’s no door. Just a flap. Tent flap.
Motel Manager: I upgraded the electrical system Tuesday morning. Better lighting, power for the ice machine, and a wall-mounted bug zapper. Unfortunately, a mistake got made, and cabin seven burned to the ground. It’s a tent now.
Montana: This bucket of nuts just stole my quarter.
Woodrow: You’re saying our mother died three weeks ago?
Augie Steenbeck: Yes.
Andromeda: When is she coming back?
Woodrow: She’s not coming back. Let’s say she’s in heaven. Which doesn’t exist for me, of course, but you’re Episcopalian.
'We're not going to abandon my daughter at a motel in the middle of the desert buried next to the communal showers.' - Stanley Zak (Asteroid City) Click To Tweet
Woodrow: [referring to his mother] Is she in there?
Augie Steenbeck: Yeah. She’s in the Tupperware. Cremated.
Augie Steenbeck: When my father died, my mother told me, “He’s in the stars.” I told her, “The closest star, other than that one, is four and half light-years away with a surface temperature over five thousand degrees centigrade. He’s not in the stars,” I said. “He’s in the ground.” She thought it would comfort me. She was an atheist. The other thing she’d say, which is incorrect, “Time heals all wounds.” No. Maybe it can be a Band-Aid.
Augie Steenbeck: Your concept of time is completely distorted though. I don’t think any of you except Woodrow even understands what fifteen minutes means.
Pandora: Fifteen minutes is sixty-two hundred hours.
Augie Steenbeck: Exactly. That’s not your fault.
Host: The character of Augie Steenbeck in the imaginary tale of our production was to become famously and indelibly connected to the actor who created the role, a former carpenter discovered in a bit part by the play’s director, Schubert Green.
Host: The occasion of the first meeting between playwright and player is now, in our fanciful telling, a matter of theatrical lore and legend.
'Sometimes I think I feel more at home outside the Earth's atmosphere.' - Dinah (Asteroid City) Click To Tweet
Augie Steenbeck: It’s a fact, we’re not alone. The alien stole the asteroid. Long thought to be a lunar splinter fragmented from the lesser moon of the hypothetical planet Magnavox-27, now considered a rogue pygmy cometette, according to the encyclopedia. Obviously, she would’ve said something to him. I’m certain of it. Your mother, I mean. She would’ve gotten him to tell us the secrets of the universe, or yelled at him, or made him laugh. She would’ve had a hypothesis.
Augie Steenbeck: I think your sisters might be aliens too, by the way.
Midge Campbell: You took a picture of me.
Augie Steenbeck: Uh-huh.
Midge Campbell: Why?
Augie Steenbeck: I’m a photographer.
Midge Campbell: You didn’t ask permission.
Augie Steenbeck: I never ask permission.
Midge Campbell: Why not?
Augie Steenbeck: Because I work in trenches, battlefields, and combat zones.
Midge Campbell: What are you going to do with it? That picture.
Augie Steenbeck: Well, if it’s any good, I guess I’ll try to sell it to a magazine, now that you mention it. “Midge Campbell eating a waffle.”
Midge Campbell: Make me a print first, to approve.
'I think you're pretty smart, but I think you're pretty dumb.' - Shelly (Asteroid City) Click To Tweet
General Gibson: Each year, we celebrate Asteroid Day, commemorating September 23, 3007 BC, when the Arid Plains Meteorite made Earth impact.
General Gibson: Now, I’ll start by presenting the commemorative medals. But first, I’ll do my speech first, which you’ll also receive in a folio edition as a souvenir.
General Gibson: Chapter One. I walked to school eighteen miles each morning, milked the goats, plucked the chickens, played hooky, caught fireflies, went skinny-dipping in the watering hole, said my prayers every night and got whipped with a maple switch twice a week. That was life.
General Gibson: Chapter Three. Another war. Arms and legs blown off like popcorn, eyeballs gouged out, figuratively and literally. The men put on shows under the palm fronds dressed as women in hula skirts. That was life.
General Gibson: In the meantime, somebody else’s story. A man thinks up a number, divides it by a trillion, plugs it into the square root of the circumference of the Earth multiplied by the speed of a splitting atom, and voilà, progress.
'I'm in no hurry. I like the desert. I like aliens.' - Stanley Zak (Asteroid City) Click To Tweet
General Gibson: Junior Stargazers and Space Cadets, we watch transfixed as you enter into uncharted territories of the brains and spirit. If you wanted to live a nice, quiet, peaceful life, you picked the wrong time to get born. That’s my speech.
Shelly: I synthesized an extraterrestrial element. It’s going to be added to the periodic table next year.
Woodrow: What do those pulses indicate?
Dr. Hickenlooper: What? Oh, the beeps and blips? We don’t know. Indecipherable radio emissions from outer space. Probably a red herring.
'Your curiosity is your most important asset. Trust it. Trust your curiosity.' - Dr. Hickenlooper (Asteroid City) Click To Tweet
J.J. Kellogg: Less than zero point, zero, zero, zero, zero percent chance exists of extraterrestrial life in the entire universe. It’s a scientific fact. Other than space bugs and microscopic worms.
Roger Cho: I assertively disagree.
Sandy Borden: So do I. It’s not a scientific fact.
Roger Cho: It’s not even a number.
Clifford: I call it “Triple Orbit and Return without Burning Up in the Atmosphere”.
Dinah: Are you shy?
Woodrow: I’m a late bloomer. So I’ve been told by my parents.
'You can't wake up if you don't fall asleep.' - Augie Steenbeck (Asteroid City) Click To Tweet
Dinah: [referring to his mother] When did you lose her?
Woodrow: Officially, this morning, but I think I already knew.
Woodrow: I love gravity. It might be my favorite law of physics at the moment.
Host: Players of the stage, a tribe of troubadours and nonconformists. They lead unconventional, sometimes dangerous lives which nourish and elevate their artistic aspirations and illuminate the human condition.
Midge Campbell: [reading Schubert’s note] “If she sasses you, sass her back. Tell her she’s a borderline neurotic with an Achilles heel complex.”