Ranking Wes Anderson’s movies

The list of my favorite movies by my favorite director.

Joe Hill recently tweeted this:

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I think he put it perfectly.

1. The Royal Tenenbaums

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This was the first of his movies I had the pleasure of seeing in a theatre. This is the perfect Anderson movie. The cast is unbelievable, the sets and cinematography are breathtaking, and the characters are written so brilliantly that you feel like you’ve known them your whole life. This movie is filled with dark, cringe-worthy humor that’s off-putting for many people, but is right up my ally. And, of course, there is the perfect use of Elliott Smith music.

2. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

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Bill Murray is just on fire in this one. My favorite performance of his. I think, out of all the reoccurring actors Anderson uses, Murray best understands what Anderson is trying to do. Reviews for this movie were mixed, even among Anderson lovers, and I never really understood why. Some of them said it’s too depressing, but all of his movies have an underlying sadness about them. Other people didn’t like the fantastical elements, but I think it adds a certain charm. Wes Anderson movies are never really set in reality anyway. I thought it was beautiful. My favorite scene:

3. Moonrise Kingdom

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In a few years, once I give it plenty of replays, this might climb up to the top. I saw it twice at The Enzian, and I’ve really only been to a handful of movies at the theatre more than once in my life (part of that is because The Enzian is so great, of course). I don’t know how he does it, but Wes Anderson always seems to fine such wonderful child actors, and I usually loathe child actors. And as good as they are, Ed Norton and Bruce Willis steal the show here. The world created in this movie is so captivating. I wish I lived on that island.

4. The Fantastic Mr. Fox

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After I saw this movie, I instantly declared it my favorite. After I let it simmer a little while, it cooled down a little bit for me, but there’s still not much I don’t love about it. I guess maybe some elements are a bit too silly for me, but they are very few. The stop motion is just killer. True eye candy. I think maybe the characters, simply because they are not human, lack that Anderson charm, but the voice acting is strong enough for them to carry the movie. One of the admittedly funny but kinda silly scenes that didn’t quite fit for me:

5. Bottle Rocket

Bottle-Rocket

Anderson’s first movie, and you can tell he’s still finding his footing. This was also the first movie of his I ever watched, so it holds a special place for me. Owen Wilson is at his best here. Dignan is probably my favorite character on this whole list, which is really saying a lot. I’ve always wondered how much of the writing of his character was his and how much was Anderson’s. I love the colors, I love the awkward romance between Anthony and Inez, and the heist-gone-wrong at Hinkley Cold Storage is just hilarious.

6. Rushmore

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It’s hard for me to put such a great movie so far down on the list. Here again we have Anderson and Wilson collaborating (wish they still did!), and the results are golden. Even more so than Bottle Rocket, the whole Anderson style is really coming into its own in this film. Anyone wanting to know how to write a perfect character who is deeply flawed yet powerfully endearing should study Max Fischer. Amazing that this was Jason Schwartzman’s first role. This was also Bill Murray’s first appearance in an Anderson movie, and he hasn’t been left out of one since. I love how, during an important plot point, he pauses to reject the shot of some random kid playing basketball:

7. The Darjeeling Limited

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I have to admit, this is the only Wes Anderson movie I didn’t really get into, despite having both Wilson and Schwartzman in starring roles. Something bothered me about the characters. They were just a little too unlikeable. And the plot just seemed to creep along. That said, I’d still say it’s worth watching. The scenery is fabulous, and it still does have it’s moments.

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One response to “Ranking Wes Anderson’s movies

  1. My 4, 5, and 6 would be Rushmore, Bottle Rocket, and Fantastic Mr. Fox. I’m surprised you didn’t place Bottle Rocket higher because it was your introduction to Wes Anderson.

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