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Entertainment News

Director Wes Anderson attends Wes Anderson And Roman Coppola On The Red Carpet during The 8th Rome Film Festival at Auditorium Parco Della Musica on November 13, 2013 in Rome, Italy.

Wes Anderson is known in the film world for his unique, aesthetic visuals. With 11 films under his belt, the director has achieved numerous awards for his work. Born on May 1, 1969, in Houston, Texas, Wes used to make silent films on his father’s Super 8 camera. They usually starred his brothers (Mel and Eric) or his friends. Before getting into filmmaking, he first dreamed of being a writer. While attending the University of Texas at Austin, he met his roommate and future collaborator, actor Owen Wilson. In 1991, Wes graduated with a Bachelor of Arts with a major in philosophy.

Anderson’s Early Work

Anderson’s first film was 1996’s Bottle Rocket, which starred Owen and Luke Wilson. Though the crime comedy was well-reviewed, it didn’t do too well at the box office, earning only $560,069 with a budget of $5 million. His next film came two years later with Rushmore, a quirky comedy about a high school student named Max (Jason Schwartzman), who has a crush on an elementary school teacher (Olivia Williams). With Bill Murray also starring in the film as one of the students’ fathers, the film was a critical and financial success ($17 million at the box office). The film launched Murray’s second act as a respected actor within independent cinema. Murray has since appeared in every Anderson film until Asteroid City, which he had to drop out of after contracting COVID-19.

As of 2023, Wes Anderson has directed 11 films: Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, The Darjeeling Limited, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Moonrise Kingdom, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Isle of Dogs, The French Dispatch, and Asteroid City. His next film, The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar, will be his second adaptation of a Roald Dahl story after 2009’s Fantastic Mr. Fox. Benedict Cumberbatch is to star as the titular character, who is able to see through objects and predict the future with the help of a book he stole. The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar is expected to arrive on Netflix in the fall since the streamer acquired the Roald Dahl Story Company in September 2021.

Take a look below at our ranking of Wes Anderson’s ten films, from Bottle Rocket through Asteroid City.

  • 11. The French Dispatch (2021)

    A love letter to journalists set in an outpost of an American newspaper in a fictional 20th-century French city that brings to life a collection of stories published in The French Dispatch. This film was mostly shot in black-and-white and had very interesting stories told by the perspective by some of The French Dispatch‘s team, but when compared to the rest of Anderson’s work, this one was the least memorable.

  • 10. Asteroid City (2023)

    Anderson’s follow-up film to French Dispatch was this film with an ensemble cast. Starting out in black-and-white, the director switches to full color to distinguish between “real life” and a play set in 1955. The play follows a war photographer who takes his son to compete in a junior stargazing event. Small Arizona town Asteroid City brings together other science geniuses, a recurring car chase, atom bomb tests, a famous actress, a vending machine that sells real estate and makes cocktails — and a terrifying-looking alien from outer space. The film is aesthetically pleasing, but at points it’s slow and it’s easy to lose interest. It picks up towards the end, but Anderson’s latest work has fallen short of his previous works.

  • 9. Bottle Rocket (1996)

    In Anderson’s first feature film, the Wilson brothers (Luke and Owen) star as Anthony and Dignan, respectfully. Anthony, who’s just been released from a mental hospital is pushed by his crazy friend Dignan to begin an outrageous crime spree. They recruit their rich neighbor, Bob, and the three of them embark on a road trip in search of Dignan’s former boss. The film is hilarious: Dignan is completely self-unaware, which is played for a lot of laughs. For a low-budget film, it’s a great start to Anderson’s filmography.

  • 8. The Darjeeling Limited (2007)

    This film follows three estranged brothers who reunite for a train trip across India. The siblings haven’t spoken since their father passed away over a year ago and are all dealing with their own issues. Though the film is funny and picturesque, it lacks a cohesiveness and it doesn’t really hook you.

  • 7. Isle of Dogs (2018)

    In this stop-motion animation, the story follows all the canine pets of Megasaki City who are exiled to a vast garbage-dump called Trash Island. It’s a charming film that makes any dog-lover appreciate the special bond between humans and their pets. Per usual, there’s an amazing cast, including Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Bryan Cranston, Tilda Swinton, Jeff Goldblum, Greta Gerwig, and Scarlett Johansson, among many others.

  • 6. Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

    Probably the most popular of Anderson’s movies is Moonrise Kingdom, for its color palette and immaculate framing. Set in 1965, the coming-of-age film follows 12-year-old Sam and Suzy, who have fallen in love and decided to run away. A violent storm is approaching the coastal island off the coast of New England, forcing a group of quirky adults (Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray) to mobilize a search party and find the kids before calamity strikes.

  • 5. Rushmore (1998)

    This cult favorite is a quirky coming of age story following a teenager named Max (Jason Schwartzman) who falls in love with a teacher (Olivia Williams) at a prep school. Max turns to the father (Bill Murray) of his classmates for advice on how to woo the teacher, but he becomes involved with her. The two turn against one another in a war for her attention. Schwartzman and Murray are a hilarious match-up and notably, one of Murray’s best performances.

  • 4. The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)

    The Royal Tenenbaums follows the story of the Tenenbaum family’s unexpected reunion after father Royal Tenenbaum and his wife Etheline separated. After 20 years, his three children, who are all geniuses in their own way, consider their life after their parents’ separation to be their father’s fault. The kids are played by Ben Stiller, Gwyneth Paltrow and Luke Wilson. The film is hilariously messy with all the family’s drama, laced with sarcasm, yet charmingly sentimental. The cast also includes Gene Hackman, Danny Glover, Owen Wilson and Anjelica Huston.

  • 3. Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)

    George Clooney voices Mr. Fox in this stop-motion animated film. Mrs. Fox is voiced by the legendary Meryl Streep and their son, Ash (voiced by Jason Schwartzman), is as chaotic as his father. In order to survive, Mr. Fox raids the farms of their human neighbors and endangers the lives of his family and friends that all live underground near a tree. Mr. Fox has to resort to his natural craftiness to get everyone out of this mess in this fun and wonderfully quirky film.

  • 2. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

    With Bill Murray starring as oceanographer Steve Zissou, he is filming his latest documentary at sea. His best friend, Esteban du Plantier, is devoured by a 32-foot-long “jaguar shark.” For his next project, Zissou is determined to document the shark’s destruction. Zissou is both a parody of and homage to real-life French diving pioneer Jacques Cousteau, to whom the film is dedicated — they even dress Murray’s character to look like him! The plot is very much like that of Moby-Dick and it’s such a fun film, especially in the way they capture a huge submarine with super tiny details.

  • 1. The Grand Budapest Hotel

    Of all of Anderson’s aesthetically-pleasing films, The Grand Budapest Hotel is by far the best. The color palettes and scenery through picturesque eastern Germany alone makes this his #1. Set in the 1930s, the Grand Budapest Hotel is a popular European ski resort, presided over by the wackiest concierge, Gustave H. (spectacularly played by Ralph Fiennes). Zero (played by Tony Revolori ), is a lobby boy, who becomes Gustave’s friend and protégé. The pair go on a wild adventure to chase fortune, all the while taking place during the fascist regime.

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