15 Greatest Wes Anderson Moments

The movies and the music

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.

Broken Man

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."

All Aboard

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...

Terrible Trio

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.

Cannonball

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.

Chequered Past

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 Heist

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.

Funeral March

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.

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