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A Vacation to Asteroid City

Posted on Friday, August 18th, 2023

Dave!Wes Anderson's Asteroid City started streaming on Peacock, and it went beyond my lofty expectations.

Right now it's my favorite film of his after The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. In time, once the newness wears off, The Grand Budapest Hotel and The Royal Tenenbaums might eclipse it because they're just such incredible films, but for now... I'm thrilled with this gorgeous spectacle...

And so here's my ranking of all eleven Wes Anderson films...

  1. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. It's weird to me how this movie doesn't top everybody's list as their favorite Anderson film. It's wildly imaginative, beautiful, poignant, and has some of the best performances ever coaxed out of his usual stable of exceptionally talented actors.
  2. Astroid City You'd think that his visual style and quirky dialogue would have diminishing returns, but Anderson's latest flick proves that's not even remotely true. Not only is it a gorgeous visual feast, it's unique and interesting in all the best ways. Plus what might be the greatest role of Jeff Goldblum's career (despite it lasting mere seconds).
  3. The Grand Budapest Hotel. This is, in so many ways, Peak Wes Anderson. It's when he was able to fully realize his characterization not just for individual characters, but how they work within the framework of the full cast.
  4. The Royal Tenenbaums. Rarely does an Anderson film fall upon a single actor to achieve greatness. Indeed, the actors he works with are all vastly talented and his films can lean on absolutely any of them at any time. But Gene Hackman is the character around which every other character revolves, and his brilliance is critical to why this film works so very well.
  5. Moonrise Kingdom. Stories of first love are a dime a dozen. But rarely are you treated to a story in this genre which is as visually appealing as this. As a bonus, this is probably the last great movie with Bruce Willis (an argument could be made for Looper which came out the same year). Quite a statement considering he made 50-some-odd movies after this one.
  6. Fantastic Mr. Fox. A Roald Dahl book seems like a natural for Anderson. But nothing could prepare you for just how genius his take on the material would be. The animation style is both rough-hewn-hand-crafted and meticulously-realized-crafted at the same time... with the movement of the fur adding as much to the characters as the flawless voice talent.
  7. Rushmore. You'd be forgiven to think that this is Anderson's fifth or sixth film after Bottle Rocket because it has a much more mature sensibility, But nope! It's his sophomore effort, which just goes to show that his brilliance as a filmmaker came very, very quickly. Jason Schwartman would end up being the gift that just keeps giving, and this was where he got his start. Not just with Anderson, but with acting as a whole.
  8. The French Dispatch. I'm just going to say it... I don't think this film really works. It's three separate stories woven together in a way that's not as smart or clever as I would have expected coming from Anderson. That being said, as a love-letter to journalism realized by actors at the top of their game, and that's not nothing.
  9. Isle of Dogs. This should have been a home-run. It's animated wonderfully. It's a great story idea. The visuals are incredible. But the fact that Wes Anderson decided to use the White Savior Trope in the most unforgivable and unnecessary way possible is just awful. It's a glaring problem in an otherwise good movie.
  10. The Darjeeling Limited. If this were an early film in Anderson's oeuvre, I'd likely rank it higher. But this follows The Royal Tenenbaums AND The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, which makes the whole ordeal inexplicable. It's stylized well enough, but it's painfully obvious in execution, has some racial stereotypes that are not cool at all, and it's painful to watch because the characters veer into tedium and new levels of annoying. This is not to say that I don't like the film... I do... it's just that it makes no sense why it's not so much better than this.
  11. Bottle Rocket. Right out of the gate Wes Anderson showed a unique style and sense of humor. But it all needed some work. The film had a meandering to it that would undoubtedly be tightened up if he were making it today.
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Categories: Movies 2023Click To It: Permalink


  1. martymankins says:

    I don’t have Peacock Premium anymore so its off to Redbox to get this movie.

  2. Looking forward to watching this. My personal favorite of his thus far is Grand Budapest Hotel.

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