The Best of Wes

A borderline love letter to Wes Anderson while ranking his films.

By Josh Tuper

Dear Wes Anderson,

Please take me under your wing, and show me the ways of making great films. I will work cheaply and I can brew a mean pot of coffee. Thank you for your consideration.

Okay, I’m glad that’s out of the way. Last week, we were treated with a trailer for the upcoming movie, Moonrise Kingdom, which you can view here. With familiar faces (Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman), yellow all over, and a nerdy yet confident youngster, wise beyond his years; it is a typical Wes Anderson film. I couldn’t be more excited. Anderson is my second favorite film maker (behind my hero Woody Allen, of course) and his movies are beautiful and funny, and the closest thing we’ll ever see to a film adaptation of a J.D. Salinger book.

Wes Anderson has never made a bad movie. This is a fact, okay fine it’s just an opinion. Many would probably argue against that, and would most likely say they are nothing but a motion picture version of an offbeat hipster’s wet dream. This is a statement I can agree with. But that aside, and even though every obnoxious kid in Brooklyn wants to be Richie Tenenbaum, I get Wes and I have nothing but pure love and appreciation for his movies. Therefore, I have taken the liberty of ranking his films from worst* to best**. Because I know you all care about my opinion on the subject.

*”Worst” doesn’t mean bad.

**”Best” is a loose term, they are all the best.

Bottle Rocket

Perhaps I should have replaced the word “worst” with “my least favorite”. Bottle Rocket is in no way a bad film. It’s actually quite good, and it’s always important to look at a film maker’s beginnings. The growth Anderson made since Bottle Rocket is tremendous. Then even more appealing is Owen Wilson’s growth as both an actor (this was his debut) and a writer (he co-wrote it with Wes).


Fantastic Mr. Fox

Growing up, I was a huge Roald Dahl fan and when I learned one of my favorite directors was in charge of adapting Fantastic Mr. Fox, I was really excited. It was a spot on adaptation, despite the stop motion animation freaking me out a bit. Being an animated movie, however, I just don’t think it can stack up to the rest. With or without George Clooney’s sultry, yet manly, voice as the main character.


The Darjeeling Limited 

This is definitely Wes Anderson’s most beautiful work. It was shot wonderfully in India and is beyond aesthetically pleasing. The plot and story are simple yet heartfelt, and at its core is about family and love. Furthermore, if you’ve seen The Darjeeling Limited, also check out the short film “prequel” Hotel Chevalier. It’s equally beautiful and Natalie Portman gets, like, totally naked in it.


The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou

Critically, this has been deemed Anderson’s worst. It got poor reviews and many of his fans strongly disliked it. However, Life Aquatic is one of my all-time favorite movies. Perhaps I’m a sucker for Bill Murray and the more the better. Or maybe it’s the David Bowie songs performed in Portuguese. I just feel it’s a great movie with a ridiculous story about an absurd man.


The Royal Tenenbaums

Being an aspiring screenwriter, sometimes I watch a movie and I think, “I wish I wrote that. I quit because anything I do will never be as good”. The Royal Tenenbaums is one of those films. It’s one of the best stories I’ve ever seen on film, with an equally impressive cast. Drop what you’re doing right now and watch this. It’s funny, sad, and sweet all at the same time; which is rare in cinema, and it has the happiest of happy endings. Sort of.



Rushmore is my favorite movie ever. Anything I say about it will be extremely biased because I think it’s the greatest movie ever. I mean, yeah the whole article is biased, but not like this. Think of the greatest film ever, in your opinion. Got it? Okay, well I think Rushmore is better. Like Tenenbaums, it’s a strange brand of funny and sad at once, and makes you love and hate the main characters all at the same time.


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