W[/dropca]e all have our favourite and when it comes to movies, it’s a certain flavour of Director that gets people salivating. For me, a double scoop of Wes Anderson is all that’s needed to brighten our day, and you can hold the nuts.
From 1998’s cult classic Rushmore to the multiple award-winning The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014; pictured above), no one has more of a penchant for the extraordinary that Anderson. And with his latest gem, The French Dispatch (2021), settling in nicely in theatres across the globe, we thought it is timely to have a look back at his genius during past two decades. The movies below are listed in alphabetical order
1. Rushmore (1998):
Back in 1998, Anderson had one small project to his name (Bottle Rocket) and was entrusted with reviving the career of one the biggest names on the planet (though he didn’t know it) in Bill Murray. Rushmore is a coming-of-age story of an over ambitious high school senior (Jason Schwartzman) whom falls for his teacher. Befriending a local industrialist (Murray) to help win her affection, he’s betrayed and seeks revenge instead.
Money-wise, this didn’t make Anderson a wealthy man by any stretch of the imagination, but it did earn him plenty of respect, and rightly so. Rushmore is one of those movies that like it or hate it, you’ll respect the efforts the Director has gone to make an incredible movie, and it has since been selected for preservation by the US Film Registry, being deemed “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant”.
2. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004):
Anyone whom has watched this movie twice will know it for the simple greatness it aspires to be, although history has cemented it as a box office failure. Nethertheless, The Life Aquatic’s cult status will live on.
Steve Zissou, played by none other than Bill Murray, is a renowned Jacques Cousteau-like, documentary film maker whom is a little over his best but trying hard to get back in the groove. Shooting his latest film, he takes to the sea in search of the possibly non-existent Jaguar-shark that may or may not have eaten his comrade. On the way he deals with the emergence of a long lost son, a wife that hates him and a crew that is set for mutiny.
Packed with a cast that would compete with any Hollywood blockbuster including Owen Wilson, Willem Dafoe, Anjelica Huston, Cate Blanchett and Michael Gambon, the cinematography is pure talent, casting on par and the storyline like no other. How this film didn’t gross billions we’ll never know, but maybe Wes should have hunted down the best new online casino Canada has to offer (read more here) to bolster the profits on this one.
3. The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014):
Set back in the thirties, this typical Anderson mash up of slap-stick comedy and arthouse design was by far his biggest earner to date. Following the adventures of the hotels concierge, M Gustave, he navigates the wealthy hotel patrons, a beckoning war, prison and the training of the new Bell-boy, all whilst remaining the epitome of style and panache.
Yes, this may have been nominated for nine Oscars and won four, including Best Production Design, and many believe that Anderson should have taken out Best Director (he lost to Birdman’s, Alejandro G. Inarritu, whom also took Best Picture), but it’s the way that we fall in love with the characters in this movie that really shows Anderson’s expertise.
Funny, beautiful and non-stop action, The Grand Budapest Hotel ranks in many a best-of-the-best list, dealing with issues of racism, fascism and an underlying tone of friendship and loyalty. And all whilst being a heist movie at heart. It will certainly go down as Andersons finest work, or will it?