My Review of The French Dispatch

by | Autumn 2022, Prose

        On our first date, Marc-Anthony takes me to see the newest Wes Anderson movie.
        “He’s a visionary,” he tells me. “Just spectacular.”
        Marc-Anthony is a tall Italian-American boy who lives on a street named after his great-grandfather. He says that was back when you could hop right off the boat and sell heaps of lettuce until you saved up enough to buy your own farm. 
        “Just selling lettuce?” I ask. 
        “That’s what they tell me,” he replies with a wink.
        Marc-Anthony is one of those film boys who is eclipsing everything into a script. When we stand in line to buy refreshments he tells me he is thinking of dumping his slurpee on top of his popcorn right  in front of the cashier, just to see what she will say. He says it is a thought-experiment and asks me to videotape the whole ordeal. I laugh at him in the way you might laugh at someone mispronouncing your name and shuffle ahead. In the end I intercept the snacks before he does.
        The movie happens and it is fine. When Timothee Chalamet comes on screen Marc-Anthony leans over the armrest and delivers a moist message into my ear.
        “A lot of people say I look like him,” he whispers far too audibly. 
        I reflexively nod in acknowledgement. It is true that he is lanky and white and sharp-jawed and carries himself with a self-important sway. He even has cactus prickles sprouting on his upper lip in a way that looks intentional. I imagine, though, that anyone else who took their first date to this movie could say the same. 
        When Timothee says a quick-witted line, Marc-Anthony howls in laughter. He doubles over himself and continues snickering even after the scene has ended. Our hands sometimes graze each other in the popcorn bucket, but he makes no moves to prolong the touch. Once I even try curling my pinky around his, but he quickly retracts to wipe the butter glinting across his stache, effectively smearing it across an even greater surface area. 
        When the credits roll and the lights dim back on, I feel puzzled and slightly irritated— the final scene gives no sense of resolve. Marc-Anthony, however,  leaps to his feet and delivers an outstandingly loud applause. I remain in my seat, but several others in front of him do the same. When they turn around he inhales with delight and gallops over to them with glee. I notice his head bobbing as he moves, too big for his body, curls flopping like a jellyfish hung out to dry. I consider that he does, in fact, move in a manner similar to Timothee Chalamet. 
        He delivers high fives and chuckles of recognition to the four men he has gone to greet. Each, in his own respect, also resembles Timothee Chalamet. I find myself wondering if they have discussed this.  Then, swiftly, they begin to unzip one another’s jeans and caress one another’s cocks. They are gentle and ginger at first, but the scene soon lapses into a flurry of motion and skin. Marc-Anthony is quick with his fingers and knows exactly how to make his Timothee feel good. Another Timothee gets down on his knees and envelopes his lips around Marc-Anthony. He moves quickly and diligently, and Marc-Anthony looks pleased but not too pleased to stop pleasing the other Timothee. The five Timothees erect a pentagon of pleasure. Nobody else leaving the theater notices. 
        I stand there watching the spectacle. I give their movie a good audience. It is why, I suppose, I was invited in the first place— though they do not notice me. When they are done, semen glides like icing across the rubycolored rug. White splotches ornament their palms, which they quickly wipe onto the theater seats. They collectively sigh in relief and I clap for them. It is a job well done. The four Timothees nod and saunter out, looking very pleased with themselves. Marc-Antony jogs back over to me and loops his arm in mine. 
        “Those guys really loved the movie,” he pants. 
        I nod. That much was clear.
        “What did you think of the movie?” He doesn’t ask. 
        It is less puzzling now that I have seen the ending.