On The Lam
The Moment: The Bottle Rocket boys head off on the lam, shooting the titular fireworks from the window of their car as they tear down the freeway. Anthony is mad with Dignan for keeping the truth from him concerning Mr. Henry, but for a while at least, Dignan hasn't a care in the world.
The Music: A jaunty, jangling number by Oliver Onions entitled Zorro Is Back . The recurring lyric, "used to being free" doesn't bode well for the boys' post-heist futures…
Why It's Great: The breezy, upbeat nature of the music lines up perfectly with what Anthony describes as Dignan's "inappropriate" happiness. As the countryside rolls by and fireworks zip off into the distance, it's impossible not to share a similar sense of elation.
The Moment: Poor old Richie Tenenbaum finally hits rock bottom, acknowledging the Bjorn Borg tribute-act quality of his appearance, by slowly stripping off his sweat bands, losing the beard, trimming his flowing locks and finally slitting his wrists. Heartbreaking stuff.
The Music: In retrospect, Elliott Smith's gently lilting Needle In The Hay is a particularly poignant choice, given the singer's eventual suicide some two years after the film's release.
Why It's Great: What could be regarded as a cathartic process (losing the tennis pro look shouldn't necessarily be a bad thing) is rendered desperately sad when it becomes clear that Richie isn't creating a new start for himself, but putting things away before death. Luke Wilson is brilliant in this scene, too.
Life On Mars
The Moment: Steve Zissou realises that Ned Plimpton is (supposedly) his son, a revelation that precipitates a very urgent need in the older man to escape for a fortifying cigarette.
The Music: As Steve begins to process the information, Bowie's Life On Mars kicks in, a Eureka moment if ever there was one. On a side note, it's well worth checking out cast-member Seu Jorge's stripped-down rendition of the same song. Wonderful stuff.
Why It's Great: The kick-in of the music is perfectly timed, as is Bill Murray's deadpan return to his senses. "Sorry about that," says Zissou to his bemused son. "You caught me with one foot off the merry-go-round."
The Moment: The Darjeeling Limited opens with a typical bit of Anderson magic as Peter Whitman runs for the titular train in slow-motion, chucking his luggage aboard before clambering on at the last possible moment.
The Music: Anderson chooses This Time Tomorrow by The Kinks, one of his most regularly used bands, to provide the soundtrack to this exhilarating scene.
Why It's Great: Beautifully shot against a dusty, sun-dappled backdrop, this sequence evokes an irresistible sense of freedom and possibility, an intoxicating opening salvo with which to kick things off.
Meet The Tenenbaums
The Moment: The opening sequence of The Royal Tenenbaums , in which the family are introduced and their bizarre domestic dynamic outlined by Alec Baldwin's gravel-voiced narration. Royal's BB gun betrayal of his son Chas is a particular highlight…
The Music: Hey Jude by The Beatles plays merrily in the background, the lyrics only kicking in after Baldwin's summation: "In fact, virtually all memory of the brilliance of the young Tenenbaums had been erased by two decades of betrayal, failure and disaster."
Why It's Great: The scene is expertly set, with the triumphalism of the music throwing the contrasting misery of the Tenenbaum family into suitably sharp relief. And we could listen to Baldwin purring his way through the narration all day long...
The Moment: Anderson introduces Fantastic Mr. Fox 's trio of antagonists, the farmers Boggis, Bunce and Bean, with a spectacularly madcap song and dance number. Altogether now, "Boggis and Bunce and Bean, one fat, one short, one lean…"
The Music: Alexandre Desplat's original score comes into its own here, with a choir of children manically chirping about the respective physiques of the three villains. Listen to it once and be prepared to have it buzzing around your head for the rest of the day…
Why It's Great: Anderson manages to capture the sing-song nature of the book in great style, with this toe-tapping ditty. Amid the Beach Boys and Rolling Stones numbers, its good to see him taking steps to integrate plenty of the anarchic fun of the source material.
The Moment: Herman Blume finds himself at a low ebb during his sons' birthday party, giving his extended family the metaphorical finger by clambering to the top of the high-dive board, draining his scotch and performing a cannonball dive into the pool. Bravo, sir. Bravo.
The Music: Blume's downbeat mood is echoed in the melancholy strains of Nothin' In The World Can Stop Me Worryin' 'Bout That Girl by The Kinks.
Why It's Great: Bill Murray does rumpled, booze-sodden rebellion better than anybody, and absolutely owns this scene, thanks in no small part to a pair of lurid Budweiser-branded board shorts.
The Moment: Raleigh St. Clair discovers the full extent of his wife's shady antics when he opens a case file charting her various exploits over the years. It begins with the disclosure that she began smoking at 12, and pretty much goes downhill from there.
The Music: The Ramones supply the accompanying soundtrack, with the appropriately rebellious Judy Is A Punk . Judy may well be, but she's got nothing on Margot…
Why It's Great: Signature Anderson title cards plus rocking soundtrack equals a very cool sequence indeed. And if you want to be low-brow about it, there's Gwyneth Paltrow kissing a girl for good measure.
The Moment: Bottle Rocket comes to a head as Dignan leads his "crack team" into a heist situation, stopping only to remind the hapless Kumar who the other team-members are, and what exactly he's doing there in the first place. "I lost my touch, man," says Kumar, having failed to crack the safe. "Did you ever have a touch to lose, man?" cries Dignan, forlornly.
The Music: The sequence comes to a close with the boys making their getaway to the strains of 2000 Man by The Rolling Stones.
Why It's Great: It's a frantically chaotic sequence, in which the half-baked nature of the plan is relentlessly exposed. Kumar hogs most of the laughs, but Owen Wilson is great as the increasingly exasperated Dignan, as is Luke Wilson as his unwilling co-conspirator.
The Moment: A poignant moment in The Darjeeling Limited , when the three brothers attend the funeral of a young boy they attempted to save from difficulties in a river. Employing Anderson's trademark use of slo-mo, it's another visually arresting sequence from one of Anderson's most expansive works.
The Music: It's The Kinks again for Anderson, with the director opting for the fantastic Strangers . Another excellent choice from a man who rarely puts a foot wrong when compiling his soundtracks.
Why It's Great: A song about the meaning of life, paired with a scene based around a senseless death… an inspired combination.
The Moment: The crew finally encounter the majestic Jaguar Shark, which circles the craft before swimming away through the briny depths. Despite the amateur puppetry on display, it's impossible not to feel slightly awe-struck at this point. And when the crew's hands begin to land on Steve's shoulders… well, we're tearing up a bit.
The Music: Staralfur by Sigur Ros is a suitably stirring accompaniment to this climactic moment. No wonder Steve doesn't want to blow the shark up any more… even if they weren't out of dynamite.
Why It's Great: As Eleanor Zissou so succinctly puts it, "it is beautiful, Steve." "Yeah," replies her husband, "it's pretty good, isn't it?" Our thoughts exactly.
The Moment: Rushmore 's love triangle comes to the boil when Max Fisher pipes a swarm of angry bees into Herman Blume's hotel room, sparking a montage of revenger and counter-revenge between the two rivals.
The Music: The Who's A Quick One While He's Away kicks in, just as Blume begins to formulate the idea of payback. "You are forgiven" sings Roger Daltrey, in pleasingly inappropriate fashion. Ain't no forgiveness going on between this pair!
Why It's Great: Bill Murray's grudging smile at the beginning of this sequence capture the mood perfectly. The two men might be at each other's throats, but there's no disguising the fact that both of them are rather enjoying themselves…
Get Off My Boat
The Moment: With his boat overrun by marauding Filipino pirates, Steve Zissou is finally pushed to breaking point, grabbing the nearest available firearm and sending his assailants packing in a hail of gunfire. All while wearing a pastel-blue dressing gown. That's what we call a look.
The Music: As soon as Steve stars blasting, Iggy Pop and the Stooges kick in with a rousing rendition of Search And Destroy. We defy you not to punch the air at this one!
Why It's Great: A real crowd-pleaser of a sequence, with Iggy Pop's primal howl the perfect accompaniment to Bill Murray's grand "fuck you" moment. The bit where he throws his empty pistol after the departing pirates is the icing on the cake.
By Way Of The Green Line Bus
The Moment: Margot Tenenbaum emerges from the Green Line bus in her signature fur coat, before making her way across the tarmac to the waiting Richie. The most iconic Anderson sequence by some distance…
The Music: German chanteuse Nico croons lilting ballad These Days , capturing the defiantly whimsical tone present in so much of Anderson's work.
Why It's Great: Everything about it is perfectly measured, from Alec Baldwin's honeyed narration, to the signature use of slow-motion, while the choice of song is simply inspired. A hauntingly beautiful scene.
The Moment: Rushmore comes to a close in spectacular style as Max finally gets to share a dance with Miss Cross, stepping on to the dancefloor in slow motion just before the final curtain falls.
The Music: Ooh La La by The Faces, possibly the most apposite choice of music in Anderson's storied career. "I wish I knew what I knew now, when I was younger." Don't we all…
Why It's Great: It's just a superb ending to a superb film, as every loose end is neatly wrapped up (the revelation that Blume's kids have been packed off to military school is particularly pleasing) and Max finally gets a happy ending of sorts. And as we mentioned above, the choice of music is really great.