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What’s the big deal with Wes Anderson movies anyway?

You probably know about Wes Anderson, even if you think you don’t.

Ever since The Royal Tenenbaums in 2001 (featuring Gwyneth Paltrow back when she was still cool), the writer/director has been one of the world’s most distinctive filmmakers. Yesterday the internet’s movie nerds were giddy with the news that Wes’s new film, Isle of Dogs, has a poster and a release date (ok it’s a whole year away, but that’s just how much people love Wes Anderson) – so we thought we’d use it as an excuse to revisit the King of Kook’s most stylish hits.

Here are all the reasons to get watching Wes. Get ready for your newest design crush, incoming in 3… 2… 1…

1. Pantone perfection

Obviously we’re not saying we watch films more for the pretty colour schemes than the stories, but… well, if you’re the kind of person who’s been known to genuinely salivate over an Urban Decay eyeshadow palette, Wes Anderson is the one for your walls. From the lush Ginza-filter-on-Insta tones of Moonrise Kingdom to the perfect oranges and browns of Fantastic Mr Fox, his films are deliberately coordinated like outfits.

You know that dreamy dusky pink that’s been everywhere over the last year? Wes did it first! His 2014 Oscar winner The Grand Budapest Hotel has more candy-coloured charm than every velvet sofa and beetroot latte on your Instagram feed put together. Just LOOK at this poster. Look at it. Tell me you’ve ever wanted to stay anywhere more.

2. Harry Styles is a fan

In Hazza’s epic interview with Rolling Stone magazine this month, he described life on tour with One Direction as being like “a Wes Anderson movie. Cut. Cut. New location. Quick cut. New location. Cut. Cut. Show. Shower. Hard cut. Sleep.”

And it’s the perfect metaphor for a hectic, not-quite-real megastar lifestyle, because Wes’ fast-paced films give you exactly that giddy feeling. A bit spacey. A bit sped-up. A bit like being in one of those weird dreams you have after eating too much chocolate (in a good way). Watch his 1998 feature film, Rushmore, the tale of an eccentric teenager who falls in love with his teacher, to get a taste of what we mean…

3. Look it’s that guy! From that thing!

You can tell Wes Anderson must be a good boss, because the same faces pop up in his films over and over again. People like Bill Murray (with the grey hair, below on the far right) who has appeared in eight of his movies. Or Owen Wilson (you know, the blonde one from Zoolander) who’s been in seven. Icy cool goddesses Tilda Swinton, Anjelica Houston and Cate Blanchett have all graced his screen, and he’s responsible for giving awesome young stars like Saoirse Ronan and Léa Seydoux to our attention too.

The Royal Tenenbaums, a darkly hilarious story about a family of child prodigies, is full of amazing actors (and even more amazing Gwyneth Paltrow eyeliner lewks, more on this later) while The Grand Budapest Hotel has so many ‘wait, was that whashisface..?!’ moments you basically need to watch it with IMDB open on your phone. Do, in fact. That’s an order.

4. Wes wears it well

Guys, the clothes. If we said ‘fashion movies’ you might reach for the obvious – The Devil Wears Prada, Confessions of a Shopaholic, Coco Before Chanel – but wait. Stop. Because some of the most amazing style inspiration committed to film comes from Wes Anderson. Anytime you’ve seen someone look amazing in a faux fur coat, t-shirt minidress and loafers, it’s probably (whether they knew it or not) down to Gwyneth Paltrow as Margot Tenenbaum. So cool.

Meanwhile The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou has the best red beanies. Suzy from 2012’s Moonrise Kingdom has the most perfect yellow and pink shift dresses, and legit made us want to wear a beret everywhere. Heck, even Fantastic Mr Fox is stylish.

5. The music, man

Wes puts as much thought into his soundtracks as his style, which means retro tracks and scores to stir your soul. If you’ve ever wished you knew more 60s and 70s references (100% the best decades for music, but don’t tell your grandparents we said that or you’ll never hear the end of it) then Anderson’s earlier films are an easy way in. Watch The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou for its gorgeous David Bowie covers, The Royal Tenenbaums for The Rolling Stones and The Velvet Underground and The Darjeeling Limited for classics by The Kinks. Then acquire yourself some vinyl records and lie around in your room looking moody and misunderstood.

Margot Tenenbaum

6. Weird and wonderful stories that everyone can relate to

While Wes’ films are nearly always set in slightly surreal, vaguely fantastical versions of our bog-standard world, the bittersweet issues they deal with are ones we can basically all relate to. Love, heartache, sibling rivalry, weird-ass family members, unlikely friendships, finding sad things hilarious and happy things sad, craving adventure, and generally feeling looking for that person in life who understands you when nobody else does… they’re stories to make you laugh and cry, then laugh while you’re crying and probably snot out of your nose a bit.

Tip: watch them with the volume up loud. There’s a lot of hipster mumbling to contend with.

Illustrations: Manjit Thapp. Find more in her beautiful Wes Anderson zine.

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Image: Manjit Thapp Margot Illustration

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