Filmmaker Friday: 6 Wes Anderson Movies That Will Brighten Your Day
by Mandi Harrison
There's a lot of filmmakers that we look to for inspiration: Nora Ephron, Woody Allen, Steven Spielberg, David O. Russell, just to name a few. We just saw a new movie by one of our favorites, Wes Anderson. Wes Anderson's stories are simple at their core, but the way he uses colors, music, wardrobe and the set design add layers to the story. I am in awe watching his movies and always need to watch a few times to take everything in.
In honor of Isle of Dogs and Wes's birthday this week, I thought I would share my favorites and what I've learned that we can use in our movies.
The Royal Tenenbaums was love at first viewing. It's dark, smart, and completely unlike anything that I had seen before. I learned that you should strive to stand out, that your differences are what give you your voice. This was my first glimpse of how Wes uses every little detail; whether its for the story or subtext, nothing is wasted. The wardrobe, the music and the locations all tell the story just as much as the characters.
Fantastic Mr. Fox takes the classic Roald Dahl children's book and brings it to life as the perfect crime caper in stop-animation format. It's perfect for families; in fact every swear word is just the word "cussin'" It showed me that you can make a movie for a wider audience and not have to sacrifice your personal style.
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou is definitely a slow starter, but by the end, I was in love. It has heart, humor and a great soundtrack, plus Jeff Goldblum and Cate Blanchett, two of God's greatest creations. It's the story about an adventurer who is trying to avenge his best friend's death by a mysterious sea creature and no one believed his quest had purpose. The dialogue in this movie is more chatty than a normal Wes Anderson feature; this screenplay was cowritten with Noah Baumbach, another favorite.
I mean, any movie that gives the world THIS creature is just wonderful.
Moonrise Kingdom is about star-crossed misfits, Sam and Suzy, whose love the world just doesn't understand. Full of world-weary characters, this is a lovely love story in more ways than one. The children are wise beyond their years and the adults, even though they have been through rough things, they still are hopeful that they will be happy in the end. Everything on screen is a puzzle piece and you might not know what the piece is used for at that moment, it eventually becomes evident.
The Grand Budapest Hotel has to be seen. His use of colors alone is just gorgeous; each scene could hang in the Louvre. It's about how a simple bellhop came to the be the owner of a prestigious hotel and spa. The tale is heartwarming and gripping, and in true- Anderson style, the attention to detail is just indescribable and all the characters have their moment to shine.
And now the latest, Isle of Dogs. Of course you can never go wrong with puppers, but this movie made me tear up a few times. In the near future, dogs have been outcast from society and 5 abandoned dogs go out of their way to help a young boy find his own dog that was taken from him. It's about having someone to belong to and helping others, even when you've been hurt before. Wes uses stop-motion animation again, however there are so many little details in this movie, it is closer to The Grand Budapest Hotel than Fantastic Mr. Fox.
If you haven't seen any of these movies, I highly recommend watching. They are entertaining and beautiful and make you remember why you love movies. At least they do for me!