May 1st, 2016 marks the 47th birthday of one of my all-time favorite directors: Wesley Mortimer Wales "Wes" Anderson, who has done some of the most amazing movies anyone has ever seen. I'm also a pretty big fan of his movies. From Bottle Rocket to [Grand Budapest Hotel](tag:400227) and each movie has its own unique characters and its own unique style and I really wish he got the respect he so deserves for his movies, it's one of the main reasons why I think The Oscars are an absolute joke. He is such an amazing filmmaker and he'll have so many details in the background, you can't grasp what you're part of until you see it and they all go into a world that is entirely all his own. His unique vision is quite distinguishable from any other director, which in turn makes his tragic comedy films so memorable and beloved by his fans from across the world.
Each movie has its own personality, its own theme and its own unique characters, I believe that's what makes him so amazing! What I find so amazing, his movies have managed to develop such a massive fan base across the globe and I love his sense of humor. When you work with him, it's almost like an adventure. Wes always seems to put a big smile face whenever I watch his movies. And the color scheme for each film is amazing!!
Wes was born on May 1st, 1969 in Houston, Texas to Texas Ann (Burroughs), a realtor and archaeologist and Melver Leonard Anderson, who worked in public relations and advertising. His parents divorced when he was 8 and he had 2 other brothers. His older brother, Mel, is a physician and his younger brother, Eric got into writing and painting and some of his paintings have appeared in some of Wes's films. Wes graduated from St. John's School in 1987, which would later become the setting for Rushmore in 1998. As a kid, Wes would make silent films with his father's Super 8 camera, starring his brothers and his some of his friends, although his first ambition was writing. While he was in college, he worked part-time as a cinema projectionist. In 1990, he graduated from The University of Texas in Austin with a degree in philosophy and met future frequent collaborator Owen Wilson.
He created an enormous body of work which tells amazing stories that are so dear to the hearts of millions of people around the world and preserved innocence in a spellbound universe with colorful characters and such wonderful stories with a panoply of such big-name stars, some of which he uses in the same films, like Jason Schwartzman, Cate Blanchett, Michael Gambon, Meryl Streep, Ralph Fiennes, Gwyneth Paltrow, Bruce Willis, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, George Clooney, Jude Law, Owen Wilson, Frances McDormand, Edward Norton and, of course Bill Murray. He feasted our eyes on some of the most magical music of his films ever and he's one of the most romantic people out there right now! This is a celebration of each of the 8 movies he has made so far and of his own life. So with that being said, let us begin. By the way, Happy Birthday, Wes!! This is for you!!
In 1996, Wes Anderson started his career by releasing the crime comedy Bottle Rocket starring Owen Wilson and little brother Luke and co-starring James Caan and Robert Musgrave, which was his first big hit and his debut film. It was also the big feature debut for Owen and Luke. Although it's about an hour and a half minutes long, it was a commercial failure,but it began Wes's career in earnest. Even Martin Scorsese loved it, calling it one of his favorites movies of the 1990's! So it's about a guy gets out of a mental hospital and he joins up with a friend of his, who seems much less sane than him. So they devise a plan to commit for an as-yet-unspecified crime spree that somehow involves his former boss.
Then in 1998, Wes released Rushmore, starring Jason Schwartzman and Bill Murray and it actually shot at Wes's old high school in Houston. It's about this 15-year old kid named Max (Jason Schwartzman) who goes to a private school called Rushmore and he's pretty much involved in ALL of the school activities, but despite this, he is literally considered the worst student in school.
So then he finds out he's on academic probation; and on the verge of being expelled from Rushmore because he is too lazy to do schoolwork, he then falls for a pretty teacher from the elementary school at Rushmore named Miss Cross and he becomes friends with Herman Blume (Bill Murray), a wealthy industrialist and father to the boys who attend school, and he also starts to like Miss Cross. Now I wish I had more to say on Rushmore but it's all I've got. If you want, you can watch the movie here.
In 2001, he released The Royal Tenenbaums, which has become one of the greatest hipster movies of all-time and, in my opinion, one of his best movies to date and it has an amazing cast including Gene Hackman, Anjelica Huston, of course, Bill Murray, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Stiller, Luke Wilson, Owen Wilson and Danny Glover.
So if you don't know what it's about or if you have never seen it, it's about these 3 prodigies who find success as kids but begin to fall on hard times and their parents decide to get a divorce. Chas (Ben Stiller) becomes a math and business genius. Margot (Gwyneth Paltrow) is adopted by the Tenenbaum and she becomes a playwright and is awarded a grant for a play she wrote in the 9th grade and Richie (Luke WIlson) is an artist and a professional tennis player who expresses his love for Margot in his art and his best buddy Eli Cash (Owen Wilson), who lives across the street, becomes a best-selling author and has a thing for Margot.
Twenty-two years later, Their dad (Gene Hackman) is kicked out of the hotel he is living in and is terminally ill. Their mom, Etheline (Anjelica Huston) becomes an archaeologist and author, and then finds herself having an affair with her longtime accountant, Henry (Danny Glover) who attempts to propose to her after Royal and Etheline seperate (but not officially). The movie became such a major hit that it received a Golden Globe for Best Actor-Gene Hackman.
As time past, Wes began to get a little more quirky with his movies. Next came The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou in 2004 with Bill Murray as an oceanographer who wears a red cap named Steve Zissou, who becomes hell-bent on hunting and killing a mythical creature called the Jaguar Shark, which is believed to have eaten his best friend Esteban du Plantier, so he rallies together his rag-tag crew which includes:
- Eleanor Zissou (Anjelica Huston)- his estranged wife, chief strategist and financial advisor
- Pele dos Santos (Seu Jorge)- A Brazilian safety expert who likes to play David Bowie covers on his guitar in Portuguese
- Klaus Daimler (Willem Dafoe)- His German first mate who views Steve and Esteban as a father figure
- Vikram Ray (Waris Ahluwalia)- Cameraman, Born on The Ganges River
- Bobby Ogata (Niels Koizumi): Frogman
- Vladimir Wolodarsky (Noah Taylor): physicist and soundtrack composer
- Renzo Pietro (Pawel Wdowczak): Soundman
- Anne-Marie Sakowitz (Robyn Cohen): Script girl
- and a group of unpaid interns from the fictional University of North Alaska
And then an airline pilot from Kentucky by the name of Ned Plimpton and is also a big fan of Steve also claims to be Steve's son. So he decides to become a member of The Zissou Crew and a reporter named Jane (Cate Blanchett) decides to join in on the epic quest, chronicling Steve's adventure, but is also pregnant with the child of his married boss and Steve also seems to have a thing for Jane and Ned likes her too. I love this movie and it's one of my favorites and I believe it deserves a little more respect.Finally, I will let you off with this GIF.
Ok so moving on:
In 2007, Wes packed his bags and headed to India for his next movie, The Darjeeling Limited, one of the greatest travel movies ever made (in my opinion). Starring Adrien Brody, Jason Schwartzman and Owen Wilson. These 3 brothers are all suffering from depression after their father dies in an accident and their mother disappears (and becomes a nun at a Christian convent in The Himalayas), so they don't speak to each other for a whole year.That is until Francis (Owen Wilson), the eldest brother, gets his face smashed in a near-fatal motorcycle accident and decides to organize a "spiritual journey" with his brothers to go to India. Peter (Adrien Brody), the middle brother, leaves his wife, who is pregnant, to go to India, and he buys an Indian Cobra, which by the way, is one of the most poisonous snakes in the world!! Finally the youngest brother, Jack (Jason Schwartzman), estranged from his girlfriend also goes to India and there is a short film that takes place about 24 hours before the main story where Jack, I guess broke up with his girlfriend in Paris (played by Natalie Portman), If you are watching the movie, you should definitely watch the short movie known as Hotel Chevalier before watching the main movie. Then he finds himself attracted to a very pretty Indian stewardess named Rita while on the train. Also, the dad in the village is played same man who played the cop in Slumdog Millionaire (2008).
While they are on their little adventure, they argue and resent each other and do not get along while they are in a foreign place on the other side of the world. And I love the music too, which is mostly music from other Indian movies, The Kinks and The Rolling Stones. Here is the whole entire soundtrack for the movie. If you want, you can listen to this while you read:
I really wish this movie got a little more love and respect because, Everyone loved it and I loved it too, it did get 3 and-a-half stars. In 2007, it became an official selection at The Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy. Finally to finish up this portion, I will show you the opening scene of the movie. Ever since I saw this movie for the first time, I have always wondered who the guy in the suit was.
Ever since the first time I saw this movie, I keep on asking myself if the guy in the business suit is the father of the 3 brothers or is he someone else? Since then, that has been really, really bothering me!! Who is this guy?! If you guys think this guy is the dad, write to me what you think in the comments below. I also heard that you can go on adventure inspired by The Darjeeling Limited if you ever get the chance to go to India.
Then came Fantastic Mr. Fox in 2009, when Wes decided to do a movie for kids. based on the beloved book by Roald Dahl who worked on great books for kids such as James and The Giant Peach, Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Gremlins.It's a about a fox named, well, Mr. Fox (George Clooney) who like to goes out on night to steal stuff from 3 of the meanest, nastiest, ugliest-looking farmers ever in the valley named Boggis, Bunce and Bean and there is a really creepy song about them. Here, just have a look-see:
So then he decides to retire from his wild life, he and his wife Felicity (Meryl Streep) have a boy named Ash (Jason Schwartzman) and Felicity's nephew Kristofferson comes to lives with his aunt. As he longs for his days as a thief, Fox and Kylie (the great director himself, Wes Anderson) begin stealing food again. And thanks to that, Boggis, Bunce, and Bean declare war on Mr. Fox and I will not tell you the rest because you'll have watch the rest for yourself. Wes also proved that he is really good at making animated movies for kids and kids loved it! I loved this movie and it was really, really funny and it has great music and a great cast including George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Owen Wilson, Jason Schwartzman, Wes Anderson himself and, of course, Bill Murray. Don't expect to hear any curse words because 1: it's a kid's movie and 2: well, it's a kids movie. I think this is the only I've seen that uses the word "cuss" most of all.
Well, I think it's time to take a little break and show this. Fair warning, there is a little bit of language, but this is very entertaining:
And now we come to, what I believe, is the crowning achievement of Wes's career and it's probably his most beautiful film to date and the one that started it all for me, as a Wes Anderson fan:
Never in all my years as a lover of watching movies have I seen a film so beautiful and so beloved as this. This is probably my most favorite of them all. In Wes's 7th movie, Moonrise Kingdom (2012), we travel to an island off the coast of New England called New Penzance Island (which by the way does not exist) and it was actually shot in Rhode Island, set in September 1965, a few months before the start of US involvement in Vietnam, with a deadly storm about three days away. It seems that the '60s has a high level of nostalgia and it seems so natural and obvious for this story. I actually have no idea where New Penzance is! If it did, my guess is it would be off the coast of Rhode Island, Maine or Massachusetts.
Meanwhile on the westernmost part of the island, a 12-year old member of The Khaki Scouts goes missing. His name is Sam Shakusky (Jared Gilman), a bespeckled misfit and an orphan who also has a unique sense of adventure. 8th grade math teacher Randy Ward (Edward Norton), who is also Sam's by-the-book scoutmaster organizes a search after calling Captain Sharp (Bruce Willis), the island's local policeman (in fact, he's the only one). Sam decides to run away with Suzy Bishop (Kara Hayward), his very pretty pen pal (who loves to read and usually steal library books from her school) and is the oldest child of an unhappy and quirky family of two lawyers (one of whom is having an affair with Captain Sharp). They met a year earlier at a play and they began writing each other for entertainment, so they decide to go on an adventure together into the wilderness.
This causes everyone on the entire island to look for them and they do what ever they can to evade capture. Along the way, they both fall in love and find each other and they face a massive array of challenges and obstacles that will threaten to tear them apart.
I also love the music in this movie. Probably some of the most beautiful music I have ever heard in a movie. I personally believe it's what made the movie so damn good and it fits the movie so well!! It is so perfect for the whole situation. Until I saw this movie, I never heard of Benjamin Britten (whose music is also showcased). But I think it's this lovely piece that put the icing on the cake (so to speak):
The movie became so beloved with both fans of Wes and it received critical acclaim around the world and it received an 2012 Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay and a Golden Globe nomination for Best Motion Picture-Musical or Comedy. It's a wonderful tale about young love and it just goes to proves that, well, love conquers all. So to finish up, I will show you my favorite scene in the whole movie.
In 2013, Wes directed an 8-minute short film called Castello Cavalcanti, produced by Prada, about an very unsuccessful race car driver in Italy in September of 1955, and then, he crashes into a town in the middle of the Tuscan countryside that is home to some of his Italian relatives. It also stars Jason Schwartzman as the race car driver.
He would also go on to direct several commercials for companies like Stella Artois, a car company ad in Japanese starring Brad Pitt, Prada and a very elaborate American Express ad, which he starred in himself. And so to finish this off, we look at the most recent and probably the biggest of Wes Anderson's films to date: The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014).
It is my personal belief that The Grand Budapest Hotel is probably the biggest of Wes Anderson's movies to date. Mainly, it focuses on M. Gustave (Ralph Fiennes) and Zero (Tony Revolori), but there is a huge cast that keeps on growing as the movie goes on and they all become involved in very different events within the story. So, it almost like a story within a story within the story; And the events that unfold intertwine into the main story. Does that make sense to anyone at all?
So in The Grand Budapest Hotel, we see some familiar faces from previous Wes Anderson films and some news faces too, like Jude Law, Lea Seydoux, Saoirse Ronan, Tom Wilkinson, and, of course, Bill Murray. This is also the movie debut for Tony Revolori, who did a fantastic performance as Zero and would go on to be in movies such as Umrika (2015), DOPE (2015) and in The 5th Wave (2016), which came out this past January.
But I think Ralph Fiennes is the MVP because he played the part of M. Gustave so beautifully and I find it amazing how this guy can go from playing The World's Most Dangerous Wizard to playing one of the funniest Wes Andersonian characters in the world. It is just incredible!!
The movie is set in the fictional European land of Zubrowka in a time between both world wars. My guess is it's somewhere between France and Germany, because there is some French and German spoken in the movie. High up in the mountains lies an extravagant hotel known as The Grand Budapest and at the helm is its beloved concierge. M. Gustave, and the guests usually come for him, his guests need to be "rich, old, insecure, vain, superficial, blonde, needy". He befriends a young lobby boy named Zero Moustafa (Tony Revolori) who also becomes his mentor and friend. Zero also meets a beautiful girl named Agatha (Saoirse Ronan), who has an enormous birthmark on her right cheek in the shape of Mexico and works at a bakery called Mendl's and they both fall in love.
And then suddenly, disaster strikes when his old friend, Madame D. (or Madame Celine Villeneuve Desgoffes und Taxis or Madame C. V. D. u. T. for short) has died and she bequeaths a very valuable painting called Boy With Apple, which looks like this:
Unfortunately, I'm gonna have to stop right here because I don't want to spoil the rest of the movie for those who have not seen it yet, but I think this is the funniest movie of Wes Anderson's repetoire, because there are so many elements that make this movie so enjoyable and so funny and it also got a score of 92 on MetaCritic and an 8.1 out of 10 . The movie became so successful that it received nine Oscar nominations and won 4 awards out of 9:
- Best Picture- Lost
- Best Director- Lost
- Best Original Screenplay-Lost
- Best Original Score- Won
- Best Cinematography- Lost
- Best FIlm Editing- Lost
- Best Production Design- Won
- Best Costume Design- Won
- Best Makeup and Hair- Won
So to finish this up, I will show my favorite part of the whole movie and it is probably the funniest too:
In conclusion, each of Wes's movie are funny and original in its own unique way. And now with a new animated film coming very soon, who knows what could happen? Anything could happen!! What is it that makes his movies so beloved by his fans and moviegoers alike? Is it his sense of humor? Could it be the amazing color scheme from each of his movies or is it his colorful characters? It could be anything!
Bonus: Ever wondered what X-Men looked like if Wes Anderson directed it? Well here is your chance!