I saw Moonrise Kingdom. It’s time to re-rank all the Wes Anderson movies.
Date night finally happened at Ambitious Mediocrity HQ. With Mom in town, and HB under watch, me and Mrs. AM finally got a chance to hit the silver screen (last movie seen in theater: Drive. I KNOOOOW.) Since Batman was sold out, The Avengers wasn’t playing at all and the Mrs. WENT AND SAW TED WITHOUT ME, we decided our best course of action was to go see Moonrise Kingdom, the newest of Wes Anderson’s Bill Murray movies. (Sidenote: The preview for Bill playing FDR looks simply fantastic.) Now I, unlike Paul F. Tompkins, have not loved all of Wes A’s affairs. In fact I down right hated his last live action effort Darjeeling Limited. And I think I went on with much or my reservation with Mr. Myles Kane during Justin and Myles Watch Trailers.
So my review in short: Moonrise Kingdom was good. Really good. And simple. And adorable. I think that was the word we mutually came up with on our way down the escalator. To put it another way, the girl behind me said she wished she could live that world and the same time I went home to tell my Mom (not a harbinger of good taste) to see it. So it is again that time. TO RESHUFFLE MY LIST OF FAVORITE WESLEY WALES ANDERSON MOVIES!!!!!!!!!! (Kermit yell).
8. The Darjeeling Limited
I want to say bad things about this. Truth be told I can’t remember a good damn thing about it. Not one thing. Not one scene. Nothing stood out. They maybe the worst thing I could say truthfully. What I do remember is that Owen Wilson, Adrian Brody and Jason Schartman are not brothers. The only redeeming quality of this movie is that Natalie Portman got naked in the prequel.
7.That At&T Commercial
Now this was just fun. Wobenonlosangeloswell. Good stuff.
6. The Life Aquatic
This is where I was afraid it would go. And the source for many a barroom argument. This is the Wes Anderson formalistic conclusion, bordering on self parody that sacrificed the human relationships and therefore any plot and cohesive story. I remember leaving the theater thinking why he just doesn’t do animation.
5. Fantastic Mr. Fox
So he did. This is a Wes in his natural habitat. Micromanaging animation. From a hotel in France. With the help of the structure of the book, he was back to building things up instead just right next to each other. Always helps to include Clooney as well.
4. Bottle Rocket
I remember the only reason I saw this was because I worked in the movie theater in the summer 1995 and found the poster. It was a red background with a Owen Wilson photo collage. Oh then it turned out the movie was great too. Please watch this movie again. Please remember Owen Wilson has the comic charmer he was. Dignan is one of the great cinematic characters. A king of big ideas on the small scale. Also watch for James Cann looking exactly like he was doing James L. Brooks a favor.
3. Moonrise Kingdom
Adorable. It was the perfect bit of casting: Jared Gilman the hopeless romantic geek, Kara Hayward the preteen ingenue with a heartbreaking crooked smile, Ed Norton showing off his pre American History X nerd and not to mention Bruce Willis. Acting. And like really trying. I think my favorite character may have been the psuedo info narration of Bob Balaban, who is such a incredible fit in this movie, I’m retroactively shocked Wes has not made more use of him. See it with your Mom.
This is it. This is the movie that made me want to write movies. I feel like I’m not the only one. I remember seeing this in 1999 with Kristen Lohr at the Loews Nickolodeon at Boston University. I was going because Bill Murray was in it. Oh yeah that guy who directed Bottle Rocket’s pretty good too. I came out thinking how the fuck did that happen? How the fuck is Bill Murray that good? Where are my pants? While Rushmore isn’t on top its still the landmark, the bellweather of whatever it was that created Rian Johnson, Jared Hess, and all those Target Commercials. (What ever happened to poor Dirk Calloway?)
I threw in this scene, because I just can’t help thinking of Bill Murray as my Dad. Right down to the Budweiser shorts.
1a. The Royal Tennenbaums
The zenith. I don’t know what the rest of Wes Anderson’s career has in store, but The Royal Tennenbaums was his only movie, he would have gone down in history as film’s Harper Lee. It was the perfect blend of story, character, and quirk. The minutae never seems forced and is always adding information. It captures Gene Hackman in his last great role and Luke Wilson in his only one. I think I have to watch it now actually.