227 Great Directors: Wes Anderson

“I want to try not to repeat myself. But then I seem to do it continuously in my films. It’s not something I make any effort to do. I just want to make films that are personal, but interesting to an audience. I feel I get criticized for style over substance, and for details that get in the way of the characters. But every decision I make is how to bring those characters forward.”


What Got This Director Here?
: His whole body of work, but it’s all recentish and thus not that high in the rankings.

My Favorite Past Experience Was…: Royal Tenenbaums.

What Did I Watch: Rushmore and a rewatch of the “wait, this is considered his best?” film that is Grand Budapest Hotel.

Where Does He Fit: Rushmore might very well be Wes Anderson’s masterpiece, a study of how children and adults are exactly the fucking same and just as awful as each other in very different ways. They both want Olivia Williams, and each is inappropriate about it, but the motivations of the character vary in sad ways. Only Max’s father behaves like a decent person, and he’s sidelined for it. The style is natural and significantly less fussy even if it is all about the 90s indie aesthetic. It’s all totally sad, however, in the way that he only really matched with Royal Tenenbaums, with poor Max’s entire life being lived like he knows he’s the center of attention.

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Unfortunately, I still don’t quite get the insane love for GBPH, even though it’s still going up in my estimation to the point where I might begrudgingly call it well above average, with the apology scene in particular just wrecking me this time around. Ralph Fiennes is wonderful as usual, and so is the rest of the ensemble as Desplat and the tech crew (the costumes and the hotel itself are a wonder) cheerfully run their way through all the stylings that Wes Anderson is pushing into new frontiers that don’t always work in the best ways for me, simply because the script is so excessively writerly in a way that doesn’t always work.

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Most Valuable Asset: Framing of production design.
Most Excited For: Darjeeling Limited.
Did They Deserve a Spot?: Yes.

Coming Up Next: Another aesthete in Peter Greenaway.

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