Wes Anderson at Cannes 2021.


10 Wild Film Moments From The King of Twee, Wes Anderson

The craziest plot twists, reveals, and WTF moments, from Bottlerocket to Isle of Dogs.

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Whether you love or hate Wes Anderson for his love of oversaturated color or his influence on the popularity of Tumblr in the mid-aughts, Anderson’s thing is being, well, really Wes Anderson, which means casting the same actors, making films whose color palettes are as distinct as their plots, and ensuring everyone dresses as the same thing for Halloween every four years. In honor of the long-anticipated release of The French Dispatch, which premieres in October, here are some of the wildest moments from the filmmaker’s oeuvre.

Owen Wilson’s pore strip in Bottlerocket (1996)

In Wes Anderson’s first film, Owen Wilson puts a pore strip over his and Luke Wilson’s noses as a “disguise” in preparation for their first robbery. He then robs a bookstore just by knocking on the door and politely asking if the store has a lost and found. Pretty wholesome! (Amazon Prime)


The revenge montage in Rushmore (1998)

You know the classic student-classmates’ parent rivalry: Jason Schwartzman, as 15-year-old Max, puts bees in Bill Murray’s hotel room. Bill Murray then runs over Max’s bike with a car, so Max cuts the brakes on his car and then gets handcuffed and dragged out of school. Normal stuff! (Cinemax)


Max’s violent Vietnam play in Rushmore (1998)

Before the curtain rises, Max stands onstage and tells the audience they have safety glasses and earplugs underneath their seats should they need them. What comes next is an uncomfortably elaborate, violent Vietnam War play, with a stage full of palms, smoke, explosion sounds, fire coming out of a realistic-looking prop gun, someone on a rope (?) and a lot of fake blood. (Cinemax)


The car crash in Royal Tenenbaums (2001)

Owen Wilson, high on mescaline, guns it in his car and crashes into the front of the Tenenbaum house and runs over the family dog. Afterwards, he gets up and asks where his shoe is. (Amazon Prime)


Richie’s suicide attempt in The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)

In this disturbing scene that’s also a stunning musical moment, Richie methodically shaves his head and face before telling the mirror he’s going to kill himself “tomorrow,” as Elliot Smith’s “Needle In The Hay” plays. But in the next shot we see that tomorrow meant...right now. (Amazon Prime)


The pirate fight scene in The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)

Bill Murray’s ship gets hijacked and he somehow casually rips the ropes binding his hands off and singlehandedly shoots, like, 10 pirates and successfully chases them off while wearing only a bathrobe. Another casual day at sea! (Hoopla)


The foxtail necktie in Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)

Mr. Fox’s tail gets shot off and worn by the farmer as a necktie, which is a weird flex. Plus, there’s something disturbing about the way the individual strands of fur blow in the wind. (Disney+)


Sam gets struck by lightning in Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

Sam is running from a band of campers when a thunderstorm starts. It looks like they’re about to catch him when he stands up on a rock and promptly gets struck by lightning. When everyone comes to see if he’s okay, he sits up, wipes off his glasses and says, “I’m okay.” Kids — they’re resilient! (Showtime)

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The Secret Society of Hotel Concierges in The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

Gustave and Zero, on the run after having escaped being wrongly imprisoned, find a single phone booth in a snowy field and call the Society of the Crossed Keys, a network of concierges across the continent who help each other out from stuff goes down — which includes, of course, Bill Murray. (Amazon Prime)

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The entire plot of Isle of Dogs (2018)

The mayor of a fictional city banishes all dogs to a place called Trash Island, after a dog flu starts mysteriously spreading. The mayor’s 12-year-old distant nephew’s guard dog gets deported and the kid hijacks a plane to go save him. We’ve got poisoned sushi, pro-dog activists, a conspiracy theory that the mayor’s political party is responsible for the flu outbreak, and Yoko Ono as herself. It’s a lot! (Disney+)

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