All 9 Wes Anderson movies, ranked
9. The Darjeeling Limited (2007): Some argue that director Wes Anderson never made a "bad" movie, but this one comes pretty close. Owen Wilson, Jason Schwartzman and Adrien Brody star as estranged brothers who reunite for a spiritual journey in India. But these narcissistic protagonists are the last people you'd want to meet on a long trip. So watching them on film isn't much fun, either.
8. The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou (2004): Bill Murray stars as a scientist and documentary filmmaker whose latest voyage involves high-seas heists, deadly pirates and all manner of fanciful undersea creatures, brought to life via stop-motion animation. It's an endearing tale when focused on the adventure, but the characters are mostly emotionally distant jerks.
7. Bottle Rocket (1996): Anderson's first feature film, like most of his movies, is about starry-eyed dreamers desperately trying to rework the world into something that resembles their fantastical worldview. This time, however, it's played for comic tragedy. Luke Wilson stars as a mild-mannered stooge whose best friend (played by Owen Wilson) dreams of becoming a master criminal.
6. The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014): Perhaps Anderson's most celebrated film, this imaginative story follows a hotel concierge who inherits a fortune and then gets framed for murder, which sends the story into — as we have come to expect from this filmmaker — unexpected directions. While it's a superb comedy, the movie lacks the emotional heft of Anderson's greatest work.
5. The Royal Tenenbaums (2001): Anderson's oddball sensibilities took on a richer, more literary quality with this story of a large family of geniuses who collapse into puddles of mediocrity later in life. The stink of failure is everywhere in "Tenenbaums" — but it's a powerful stink, not unlike a fancy cheese, helping all these brilliant yet pathetic characters make lasting impressions.
4. Rushmore (1998): Another striking piece of self-indictment, "Rushmore" stars Jason Schwartzman as an overachieving student who gets terrible grades but otherwise can accomplish seemingly anything. He befriends a miserable millionaire played by Bill Murray, and together they sabotage each other, and themselves, as they woo a remarkable teacher played by Olivia Williams.
3. Isle of Dogs (2018): With time, this might turn out to be Anderson's finest film. For now, it's certainly his most imaginative. It's a stop-motion animated adventure about a near future in which all dogs have been banished to a trash-strewn island, where a pack of mangy mutts help a young boy find his pet. It's as fun as anyone could hope for, with thoughtful subtexts about xenophobia, propaganda and racism.
2. Moonrise Kingdom (2012): Two kids fall in love and run away together in "Moonrise Kingdom," a deceptively simple setup for a remarkably rich movie. Once again, Anderson populates his film with characters who remake the world around them, but we see how little pleasure it actually brings them, and how far they go to force others to conform to those expectations. Anderson has never made a more emotionally rich movie.
1. Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009): Anderson treats filmmaking like the art of making elaborate dioramas, so it makes sense that his work really blossomed with stop-motion animation. This ingenious adaptation of Roald Dahl children's book stars a fox undergoing a midlife crisis, who dreams of resuming his old career as a chicken thief. It's a satisfying story about finding a comfortable compromise between individualism and family life. And it's mature, giddily amusing, exciting cinema.