Wes Anderson is one of the most unique directors around today. Show a single frame from most of his movies to the average film fan and they'll recognise his style instantly. His love of meticulously framed shots and pastel hues combined with his esoteric sense of humour make his movies a treat for the eyes and the mind.
1. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
- Streaming on: Disney+
My personal favourite of Anderson's movies,The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou strikes the perfect balance between aesthetic and narrative. Yes it's easy on the eye (the finale is a visual treat with a beautiful Sigur Rós song), but this story of undersa exploration is also full of brilliant characters.
Anderson regulars Bill Murray (Steve Zissou himself) and Owen Wilson shine as the father/son duo on a mission to hunt down a rare shark that killed Steve's diving partner. Alongside them, the Zissou Society not only has amazing Jacques Cousteau-inspired uniforms but also features some incredible actors in an ensemble cast including Cate Blanchett and Willem Dafoe.
Seamlessly blending Anderson's goofiness and more tender moments that might even make your eyes get a bit aquatic, ignore the Rotten Tomatoes score and treat yourself to a brilliant night in with Disney+.
2. Fantastic Mr Fox
- Streaming on: Netflix
This space could equally have gone to Anderson's other animated feature Isle of Dogs but given the subject matter of Anderson's upcoming shorts, this Roald Dahl adaption just about edges it as our pick.
Created with Wallace & Gromit style stop-motion, this 2009 feature stars George Clooney, Meryl Streep and a host of other names (including Jarvis Cocker) to create a stunning film. If you've read the book you'll know the story but for the unenlightened, we follow Mr Fox as he gets trapped in a standoff with three farmers determined to put an end to his thieving ways for good.
A great family film for those approaching double digits, I wouldn't risk it with younger children as there's a little bit more darkness than the art style suggests.
- Streaming: Disney+
Jason Schwartzman is one of Wes Anderson's regulars nowadays, but this 1998 movie is in fact his film debut, and what a movie to start with. Schwartzman plays Max Fischer, a boy at the exclusive Rushmore Academy who doesn't quite fit in.
Max is in many ways a model student, he loves the school, is respectful, and sociable (a brilliant sequence details the dozens of clubs he has started) and seemingly has the maturity of a middle-aged man, but just doesn't get the grades to maintain his scholarship. Placed on academic probation, he then falls for a teacher (Olivia Williams) as things start to get even more complicated.
Schwartzman and Bill Murray use all of their comedic chops in this excellent caper that soon blossoms into more than just a story of forbidden teenage love. Max's penchant for staging plays is used to awe-inspiring visual effect, while Murray is his typical brilliant bitter self.