You know it is a Wes Anderson Movie if it makes you feel like you just ate a pot brownie and feel like you woke up in a greeting card. He is one of the most phenomenal directors in the Hollywood industry, and he has given us some of the most beautiful movies of all time. No wonder he’s loved by all. His peculiar style gets causes him to be recognised as the “modern-day auteur.”
The vividness in the hues and the idiosyncratic behaviours of characters, typically resonate the Anderson vibe. With an eye for meticulous details and visual aesthetics, Wes Anderson movies are an absolute treat for your mind, body and soul. His films give us the feeling of nostalgia even if we have never been in that situation. His movies are capable of taking us down the memory lane, and situations we wish we had.
Having written and directed films, at the same time gives him the most power over the movie as he everything is under his control. To enjoy a Wes Anderson movie, there are twelve features that you need to look into while deconstructing his films—
A micro-world with a focus on the Art Direction
His films make us feel like we’ve entered a human dollhouse. The set and the production design is so overabundantly detailed gives the impression that it belongs to a peculiar number of characters and adventures that we do not see on camera.
The production design and costumes in the film help in developing the characters and stories.
Children and Adults acting like each other
Charles Schulz has a significant influence on Wes, and most people have noticed the Charlie-Brown like nature of the child characters in his movies. Children in his films think and talk like well-educated adults. The adults never talk down to children and mostly treat them as emotionally superior beings or as equals. Children go on to teach adults how to stay a child at heart and have irresponsible fun in life.
Characters becoming unglued
Wes Anderson proved that falling apart needn’t necessarily be serious; it could also be funny. The memorable characters are hyper achieving, fully formed consciousness and secure about themselves reveal themselves to be slightly deteriorating and deeply damaged by anxiety, social expectations and dysfunctional families.
It invites us to escape along with the characters to some fantastical locations, thanks to the picturesque real shooting locations in the Italian Riviera and Naples. It invites us to disappear into the carefully curated tableaus and quirky characters. We also encounter dark issues and tender humanity.
The Peculiarity In Speech
A dry, deadpan delivery of dialogues brings out the particular brand of humour in Anderson’s films. The actors deliver their lines with a serious face even though what they’re saying has the potential to make us exhale harder. This combination leads to delivering sincerity and absurdity.
The Recurring cast
We see a lot of his film with the same cast. For instance, Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman, Owen Wilson, Luke Wilson, Anjelica Huston, Willem Defoe, Wally Wolodarsky, Jeff Goldblum, Waris Ahluwalia, Edward Norton, Tilda Swinton and more.
The Color Palette
This is one of the best features of his films, and you will see the colours of the shade off of the most obvious rendering. So, for example in the movie ‘The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou’ you will find the colour of the submarine not to be yellow, but mustard, in ‘Rushmore’ you will find the use of the hue Navy instead of blue.
These colours contribute to the giving you the feeling of seeing something that’s right out of a pastel storybook illustration. Most of his films have an overall chromatic appeal, and it is followed throughout the film. Say, the earthy yellows and browns in ‘Fantastic Mr Fox.’
Some of the best Wes Anderson movies use a lot of wide-angle shots with a blend of symmetrical centre framed shots. Wes Anderson also incorporates shots that contain rectilinear lines (straight lines) that create movement and direct the eye into a particular direction, thereby giving more perspective and symmetry in that specific shot.
He uses this style in most of his films to portray emphasis on the symbolically loaded moments. For instance, the Whitman brothers making hopping onto the train in slow motion, letting go of all their metaphorical excess baggage as they go back home. The slow-motion shot is a celebration of their triumph of renewed closeness and their revelations about themselves.
The 60’s and 70’s music
There is popular music from the ’60s and ’70s in his films, and it has made the songs mainstream through his movies. They’re mostly deep cut tracks from that era and adds to the mood of the characters that they’re feeling.
Just like the way a dream within a dream has a psychological effect on us, there is usually a performance within a performance in his films. It is a way of conveying information about the movie we’re watching, be it bringing attention to specific details, foreshadowing or even characterisation.
Here are 12 best Wes Anderson movies ranked from the worst to the best. Although every film of his is unique, it is nearly impossible to categorise any of his movies to be the “worst” ever.
12. Bottle Rocket (1996)
IMDB Rating: 6.8
The predictable crime story deals with the life of two young men, Dignan (Owen C. Wilson) and Anthony (Luke Wilson). Luke is just out of the mental hospital, and he goes to search for his friend Dignan who happens to be another nutjob.
The duo is determined to start a vicious crime spree after having their neighbour, Bob (Robert Musgrave) recruited in their gang. The wannabe crime team then embarks on a road trip to find Dignan’s previous boss, Mr Henry (James Caan) to find some crime to commit. Unfortunately, the trio has no idea about the first thing about crime.
11. The Darjeeling Limited (2007)
IMDB Rating: 7.2
After a year after the death of their father, Francis (Owen C. Wilson), Peter (Adrien Brody) and Jack (Jason Schwartzman) plan a trip across India to cope up with the depression they’re dealing with. Francis, the eldest one, who is recovering from a bike accident and he has organised the trip.
We find that the brothers actually don’t do well with together, they fight, argue, sulk and are resentful of each other. Jack, the youngest one, alienated from his girlfriend, finds himself attracted to an attendant on the train.
The middle one, Peter, leaves his pregnant wife at home because he is not ready to become a father. A few days later, Francis discloses the final destination that could leave them feeling unsettling.
In lieu of being amidst foreign surroundings, will the brothers unite and sort their differences?
10. Castello Cavalcanti (2013)
IMDB Rating: 7.2
In September of 1955, an F1 racer crashes his car during one of the races. During this time, he gets stuck in a village, but it leads him to find all good surprises to come his way.
9. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)
IMDB Rating: 7.3
This film is a perfect blend of action, adventure and comedy. It follows Oceanographer Steve Zissou (Bill Murray) who plans to exact revenge on a mythical shark that killed his partner. He rallies a crew that includes a beautiful journalist, his estranged wife, and a person who may or may not be his son. The crew sets off on a wild expedition of a lifetime!
8. Hotel Chevalier (2007)
IMDB Rating: 7.3
This film is a prologue to the ‘The Darjeeling Limited’, and it is a prologue of a heart-breaking story of love. It consists of depression, grief, and ambiguity all locked up in a Paris’ hotel room. Jack Whitman (Jason Schwartzman) orders a grilled cheese sandwich, and he gets a call from his girlfriend (Natalie Portman) that she is on her way to see him. He makes up the room with a zest of a romantic touch.
The food arrives, and so does she, and soon we see the complications of their relationship unfurl. He invites her to come to the balcony and see the beautiful view. Will there be a happily ever after or never after?
7. Come Together: A Fashion Picture in Motion (2016)
IMDB Rating: 7.4
The movie opens on a Christmas morning on a train named “The Winter Express” on the fictional lines of H&M. The conductor Ralph tells his passengers over the intercom that due to bad weather and mechanical difficulties, the train will be delayed by eleven and a half hours.
Will the passengers make it in time? Watch the quirky short film to find out!
6. The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
IMDB Rating: 7.6
The story is based on the lives of three grown prodigies, all blessed with a unique genius of sorts and their mother who stay in the family household. Their father, a Royal, left them a long time ago, comes back to make things right with his family. He is that eccentric member of a highly dysfunctional family who returns for a very particular reason.
IMDB Rating: 7.6
A beautiful first-grade teacher arrives at prep school and ends up attracting the attention of an ambitious teenager named Max. Soon, he realises that he has fallen in love with her seeks help from the father of two of his schoolmates to help him woo the teacher.
Things take an ugly. Turn when Max finds out that one of his closest friends gets involver with her. He makes a ruse to win all of her attention.
4. Isle of Dogs (2018)
IMDB Rating: 7.9
Set in Japan, an outbreak of dog flu has spread all over the city of Megasaki, and Mayor Kobayashi has demanded that all dogs be sent to Trash Island. On the island, a young boy named Atari (Koyu Rankin) sets off to find his lost dog Spots with the help of five other abandoned dogs.
With many obstacles in the way, will Atari unite with Spots?
3. Moonrise Kingdom
IMDB Rating: 7.8
The story is set in the backdrop of the year 1960s on the coast of New England. A young boy and girl fall in love and decide to run away together. It leads to a series of not so unfortunate events when the search party goes to look for the two kids. During this search, the whole town turns upside down and maybe it is for the better? Watch the film to find out!
2. Fantastic Mr Fox (2009)
IMDB Rating: 7.9
Fantastic Mr Fox is the story of Mr Fox (George Clooney) and his funky instinctive adventures. He needs to put his wild way behind him and become responsible like most fathers are. His rebellious nature and wild ways make him plunge into “just one more raid” on the three obnoxious farmers.
It is a story of drawing and crossing the line of being responsible, the midnight adventures, friendships and awakening of the country life that is Fantastic Mr Fox and his friends’ way of life.
1. The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
IMDB Rating: 8.1
The movie was so good that it went on to win four Oscar awards and 130 other awards. The film recounts the adventures of M Gustave (Ralph Fiennes), an illustrious concierge at the famous European hotel. Later, he befriends Zero, a junior lobby boy who goes on to become his protege. Gustave prides himself on giving the best and first-class treatment to all his guests, including the sexual needs of many older women who stay at the hotel.
On one fine day, one of Gustave’s lovers dies mysteriously. He finds himself to be the recipient of a rare and immeasurable painting and he also becomes the prime suspect in the murder case. The sheer absurdity of the story easily makes it one of best Wes Anderson movie.
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