Wes Anderson  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Wesley Wales Anderson (born May 1, 1969) is an American writer, producer, and director of films and commercials.

Contents

Filmography

Year Title Director Producer Screenwriter Actor Role Notes
1992 Bottle Rocket Short film co-written with Owen Wilson
1996 Bottle Rocket Co-written with Owen Wilson
1998 Rushmore Co-written with Owen Wilson
2001 The Royal Tenenbaums Tennis Match Commentator #1 Co-written with Owen Wilson
2004 The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou Co-written with Noah Baumbach
2005 The Squid and the Whale Co-produced with Peter Newman, Charlie Corwin & Clara Markowicz
2007 Hotel Chevalier Short film, created as a prologue to The Darjeeling Limited
2007 The Darjeeling Limited Co-written with Jason Schwartzman & Roman Coppola
2009 Fantastic Mr. Fox Weasel Co-written with Noah Baumbach
2012 Moonrise Kingdom Co-written with Roman Coppola
2014 The Grand Budapest Hotel TBA

Short films

Trademarks

  • With the exception of the independently financed Bottle Rocket, his films employ a similar visual style, primarily through the use of vivid primary colors. He is known for deliberate, methodical cinematography, using 90 degree camera angles, parallel and perpendicular arrangement of forms, frequent use of symmetry, close-ups, quick pans, and slow motion shots.
  • Wes Anderson is known for making independent-type stylistic films that mix poignancy and dry humor. Examples of his humor include malapropism and understatement.
  • All of Anderson's films utilize the font Futura Bold in either the opening credits, title sequences or closing credits and is also displayed in other printed materials used throughout his films. Each film also uses Futura Bold to display the main closing credits in a particular format where the first name is displayed in a title case and the last name is displayed in all caps (except The Darjeeling Limited which uses capitals for full names).
  • He often uses folk music and early rock as the background music in scenes.
  • His often damaged characters are viewed in a compassionate light.
  • His main characters frequently come from families with money (Anthony "never worked a day in his life" in Bottle Rocket, Blume's multimillion dollar business in Rushmore, the elaborate townhouse in The Royal Tenenbaums and the family inheritance in The Darjeeling Limited).
  • By contrast, each movie has minor characters who are working class (such as the housekeeper Inez in Bottle Rocket and personal assistant Pagoda in The Royal Tenenbaums)
  • About his American Express commercial, Anderson states that his films, "point out the beauty in flaws and vice versa."
  • The depiction of escapism and companionship through chemicals seems to be one of his trademarks also. In each of his films, one or more of the main characters smokes cigarettes or marijuana, excessively drinks, takes pills, etc. To accompany the cigarettes in his films he also features Zippo lighters prominently; from Dignan in Bottle Rocket lighting firecrackers to Raleigh St. Clair in The Royal Tenenbaums. Additionally, his films often feature a heavy-smoking female character.
  • A recurring character in Anderson's films is a respected middle aged male who is essentially a fraud.
  • All of Anderson's films, with the exception of The Darjeeling Limited, end with slow motion sequences - although The Darjeeling Limited's third to last shot is in slow motion.
  • A reccuring plot point featured in his three latest films is the reunion of family members.
  • Furthermore, almost every Wes Anderson movie contains a shot of one or more characters under water.

Collaborators

ensemble cast

Anderson's films feature many of the same actors, crew members, and other collaborators. For example, the Wilson brothers (Owen, Luke, and Andrew), Bill Murray, Seymour Cassel, Anjelica Huston, Jason Schwartzman, Kumar Pallana and son Dipak Pallana, Stephen Dignan and Brian Tenenbaum (Anderson's close friends), and Eric Chase Anderson (Anderson's brother).

Other frequent collaborators are writer Noah Baumbach, who co-wrote The Life Aquatic, and wrote/directed his own film, The Squid and the Whale, with Anderson as producer. Also cinematographer Robert Yeoman (A.S.C.), and composer Mark Mothersbaugh.

Acclaim and criticism

Critical reviews of Anderson's early work were positive, with some exceptions. His second film Rushmore was a critical darling, and many argued that Anderson would soon become a major artistic voice in American cinema. Many critics noted a strong sense of sympathetic but intelligent humanism in Anderson's films that linked them to the work of Jean Renoir and François Truffaut. Filmmaker Martin Scorsese is a fan of Anderson's, praising Bottle Rocket and Rushmore and calling Anderson "the next Scorsese" in an Esquire magazine article. The Royal Tenenbaums was also a critical favorite and garnered Anderson an Academy Award nomination. The film was his first high-profile commercial success, featuring several established movie stars.

In September 2006, following the disappointing commercial and critical reception of The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, Steely Dan's Walter Becker and Donald Fagen released a tongue-in-cheek "letter of intervention" of Anderson's artistic "malaise". Proclaiming themselves to be fans of "World Cinema" and Anderson in particular, they offered Anderson their soundtrack services for his forthcoming The Darjeeling Limited film, including lyrics for a title track.

Anderson has also been criticized by journalist Jonah Weiner for what the writer feels are shallow portrayals of non-white characters. Reihan Salam of The Atlantic offered a rebuttal to this line of criticism.

Reihan, filling in for Ross Douthat of the Atlantic.com takes a differing view, stating: "As a part-time ethnic militant, let me just say that the anti-Anderson animus is nutso."



Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Wes Anderson" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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