Sunday, April 27, 2014

Wes Anderson Rated

As you can see from the list below I've been disappointed by Wes Anderson for well over a decade now. I loved Anderson's first two films, the eccentric caper movie Bottle Rocket and Rushmore which is one of the greatest films of the 90's. But then success seemed to damn Anderson and all his enjoyable directorial tics became full blown directors Tourettes. Anderson has always been twee and mannered and eccentric and that can be a good thing but for the last five or six films - for me at least - it has been painful to watch. I've felt like quite the idiot trundling along to the latest Wes Anderson film handing over my money and expecting the new work to be as good as Bottle Rocket or Rushmore and when it wasn't, walking out of the cinema disappointed with myself as much as Anderson. But then last night I saw Grand Budapest Hotel and finally I felt that it was a return to form. Based on the stories of Stefan Zweig and co-written with Hugo Guinness Grand Budapest Hotel has what the last four Wes Anderson films have been lacking: a ton of heart and a ton of plot. Ralph Fiennes plays a sophisticated, mercurial, sweary Central European hotel manager who gets mixed up in 1930's politics, art theft and murder. I particularly enjoyed the model sequence ski chase which is a pastiche of the opening of the 1930's Hitchcock classic The Lady Vanishes. 
Anyway here's my rating of Anderson's filmography. This, I know, will enrage Anderson fanboys who think everything he makes is a masterpiece. A is a classic, B is very good, C is ok, D is disappointing, E is very disappointing and F is, well, a Fail I'm sorry to say. 

1996 Bottle Rocket A
1998 Rushmore A
2001 The Royal Tenenbaums B
2004 The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou E
2007 The Darjeeling Limited F
2009 Fantastic Mr Fox ?
2012 Moonrise Kingdom F
2014 Grand Budapest Hotel A


Conor said...

I can see The Darjeeling Limited really made an impact, ha. F--k it, it was set on a train, Darjeeling Express wasn't it? It has a nice Kinks song playing while Bill Murray runs for said train, but skip the rest.

Nothing will bring me to watch Moonrise Kingdom; it looks like whimsy strength xxxx. I'd have given the latest a B too; he should have cut all that pointless Tom Wilkinson, Jude Law set up and gone straight to Fiennes. Or maybe Willem Dafoe.

Sheiler said...

I finally got around to seeing Bottle Rocket thanks to an earlier rave by you. So glad I did. I loved The Royal Tenenbaums equally with Rushmore. And didn't know what to think about his other films. I couldn't get through them. I always had it in the back of my mind to revisit them when I was 'in a better mood', since it was Wes Anderson, and hey that means it was me not him.

Alan said...

Adrian,Cruelty,comedy,compassion and farce I thought Grand Hotel Budapest had it all.That ski chase was indeed right out of the earlier silent films.It was indeed one of the better creative films I have seen.Kudos to the little Zero Moustafa to be able to "Deadpan throughout the movie.Real fun and thought provoking.Best Alan

seana graham said...

Glad to hear that Grand Budapest Hotel was up to speed, as I've been intrigued by it. As far as the list, I'm mostly in agreement, but I liked The Life Aquatic quite a lot (I think I may be alone in that), and was very perplexed by The Royal Tanenbaums, especially directly following Rushmore. I'd be a bit more generous to The Darjeeling Express, though not much. I haven't seen any of his since then.

adrian mckinty said...


Yeah apart from that Bill Murray bit, hated it. Condescending and shite.

Will change title if I get the chance!

adrian mckinty said...


The heist in Bottle Rocket - oh my goodness, one of the great scenes in cinema history.

adrian mckinty said...


Glad you enjoyed it too.

Yup I think The Lady Vanishes's opening minute or so was the idea behind that model work.

adrian mckinty said...


I havent seen Fantastic Mr Fox but my daughter thought it was ok.

Craig said...

Grand Budapest also has such an excellent soundtrack. I've had it on my Spotify playlist repeatedly since seeing the movie.