Wes Anderson Films, Ranked

Wes Anderson / Getty

The new Wes Anderson film is out, and it's good! I love it. You should definitely go see it. Good, of course, is a relative construct. Good compared to most of the crap out there? Sure! Duh. But how good is it within the context of other Wes Anderson movies? I DON'T KNOW. LET'S FIND OUT.

9. Moonrise Kingdom

I know a lot of people love this movie, but, man. It really does feel like a parody of a Wes Anderson film—from the very beginning, when we travel up a figurative dollhouse in a series of precisely framed shots, the rooms brightly decorated, the shots perfectly centered—and the central relationship really squicks me out. I dunno what else to say. I've just never been struck by the desire to rewatch Moonrise Kingdom, unlike every other movie on this list.

8. Bottle Rocket

The history of this movie is pretty interesting; originally an attention-grabbing short at Sundance, Anderson expanded "Bottle Rocket" into Bottle Rocket and … the feature wasn't accepted at Sundance. It's not hard to see why. The first act is great, the third act is fine, but the middle portion, at the motel, man. It really drags. Still, Bottle Rocket has a ton of great lines ("Bob's gone, he stole his car!") and is pretty fun, overall. You can see the seed of everything he would grow into in this movie.

7. The Darjeeling Limited

I feel like this movie got an undeservedly bad rap upon release. Then again, I haven't watched it in five years or so. Probably his most disposable film, but not his worst.

6. The Life Aquatic

From underrated upon release to slightly overrated now, The Life Aquatic is one of the more bizarre movies to receive a big budget and major release. I kind of love the strange purity of it all.

5. Fantastic Mr. Fox

As a child, I loved Roald Dahl; as a young adult (like, an actual adult, not "young adult" as in "literature for 12 year olds"), I loved Wes Anderson. This movie was like a mashup of two generations of my own personal fandom. And it's amazing. From the fussiness of the animation to the way the animals act like people until they act like animals to the integration of typically Andersonian concerns about family needs and more narcissistic concerns, I can't get enough of this one.

4. Grand Budapest Hotel

If I had to pick one Wes Anderson film that will live on as his enduring masterpiece, it would probably be this one. It's not my favorite of his films, but it's the one with the greatest depth, a film about the difficulty of doing modest good in the face of great evil, all while dabbling in typically Andersonian ideas of young love and old love alike.

3. Isle of Dogs

One of the nice things about being a right-of-center writer in a field dominated by folks on the left is that I feel no obligation to worry (or pretend to worry) about the various ways in which Isle of Dogs is the dread problematic. Instead I can just enjoy the brilliant craft, the fantastic voice work, the alternately sweet and sad and scary story. And I can feel bad for anyone out there who can't.

2. Rushmore

Cultural historians will point to Rushmore as the beginning of the Murraysance, and for that reason alone it would be near the top of this list. But there's a maturity to this movie that is sometimes lost. It truly is a work of art about learning to act your own age.

1. The Royal Tenenbaums

I unironically love every character in this movie: the depressive tennis player; the manic, drug-addled writer; the business-minded panicker; the underappreciated playwright; the gruff father; the doting mother; the stabby helper.

This in no way reflects anything about my personality.