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“Asteroid City” and 10 Other Classic Wes Anderson Movies to Watch

"Asteroid City" and 10 Other Classic Wes Anderson Movies to Watch

ASTEROID CITY, from left: Grace Edwards, Scarlett Johansson, 2023. Focus Features / Courtesy Everett Collection

Wes Anderson has once again recruited Jason Schwartzman for another one of his films. Over the past two decades, the pair have worked together several times, including on “Rushmore,” “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” and “Moonrise Kingdom.” Now, Schwartzman is the star of Anderson’s latest theatrical release, “Asteroid City,” which premiered on June 16. The period film, which takes place during the 1950s, follows a group of gifted students and their parents who visit a desert town for the annual Junior Stargazer convention. During their stay, they experience a mysterious cosmic event together.

Schwartzman plays a war photographer named Augie Steenbeck, whose son, Woodrow (Jake Ryan), is a Junior Stargazer winner. Also making up the cast are Scarlett Johansson as actor Midge Campbell; Tom Hanks as Augie’s father-in-law, Stanley Zak; Jeffrey Wright as the convention’s host, General Grif Gibson; and Tilda Swinton as scientist Dr. Hickenlooper.

In addition to their star-studded casts, Anderson’s films are known for having especially unique stories, dry humor, and bright colors, which often contrast with his movies’ dark subject matter. If this sounds right up your alley, then check out 11 of Anderson’s movies below.

1. “Bottle Rocket” (1994)

“Bottle Rocket,” which marked Anderson’s first feature film, is about two friends named Dignan (Owen Wilson) and Anthony (Luke Wilson) who go on a crime spree. Along the way, they recruit their neighbor Bob (Robert Musgrave) as their getaway driver, and together, the trio get into all sorts of shenanigans as they attempt to pull off their elaborate heists.

2. “Rushmore” (1998)

RUSHMORE, Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman, 1998

“Rushmore” centers on 15-year-old high school student Max Fischer (Schwartzman), who befriends a middle-aged industrialist named Herman Blume (Bill Murray). Over the course of the film, the pair go from friends to rivals as they compete to win the affection of a first-grade teacher named Rosemary Cross (Olivia Williams).

3. “The Royal Tenenbaums” (2001)

“The Royal Tenenbaums” is a comedy-drama about a dysfunctional family who are stuck living in the past. Having achieved great success as kids, Chas (Ben Stiller), Margot (Gwyneth Paltrow), and Richie (Luke Wilson) grow up to become disappointed with their adult selves. When they learn that their father, Royal Tenenbaum (Gene Hackman), has stomach cancer, the family reunite and are forced to confront their individual pasts in order to move on with their lives.

4. “The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou” (2004)

THE LIFE AQUATIC WITH STEVE ZISSOU, Bill Murray, 2004, (c) Touchstone/courtesy Everett Collection

After Steve Zissou’s (Murray) best friend, Esteban du Plantier (Seymour Cassel), is eaten by a “jaguar shark” while filming a documentary, the oceanographer is determined to film a new project in which he hunts down the shark as revenge. To help him complete the task, Zissou gathers a ragtag crew consisting of his estranged wife, a Brazilian guitarist, a physicist, a pair of college interns, and more to accompany him on his ship during his mission.

5. “The Darjeeling Limited” (2007)

After their father dies, estranged brothers Francis (Owen Wilson), Peter (Adrien Brody), and Jack (Schwartzman) decide to reconnect a year later by traveling across India aboard a train called The Darjeeling Limited. The trio bond by grieving over their father, but chaos ensues once Peter and Jack discover that Francis has been searching for their mother, Patricia (Anjelica Huston), without them knowing.

6. “Fantastic Mr. Fox” (2009)

FANTASTIC MR. FOX, from left: Mr. Fox (voice: George Clooney), Mrs. Fox (voice: Meryl Streep), 2009. TM and copyright Fox Searchlight. All rights reserved/courtesy Everett Collection

When his raiding adventures get him and his pregnant wife, Felicity (Meryl Streep), trapped in a cage, Mr. Fox (George Clooney) decides to change careers and make an honest living as a newspaper columnist to support his family. However, Mr. Fox goes back to his old ways years later and begins stealing food from nearby farms without his wife knowing. After the owners discover he’s been stealing, they team up to try to kill Mr. Fox along with the rest of his family and neighbors, leading Mr. Fox to do everything he can to protect his loved ones.

7. “Moonrise Kingdom” (2012)

Sam (Jared Gilman) and Suzy (Kara Hayward) are a pair of 12-year-olds who meet on the fictional island of New Penzance and become pen pals. After promising to run away together, the kids enact their plan shortly after reuniting, which causes their friends and family to frantically search for them in the wilderness.

8. “The Grand Budapest Hotel” (2014)

Monsieur Gustave H. (Ralph Fiennes) is the Grand Budapest Hotel’s famous concierge who had an affair with the wealthy dowager Madame D. (Swinton) before she mysteriously died. After her family discovers that Madame D. left a priceless Renaissance painting to Gustave, her son, Dmitri (Brody), gets Gustave arrested on suspicion that he murdered his mother. Gustave then befriends his prison mates, and they plan an escape together.

9. “Isle of Dogs” (2018)

ISLE OF DOGS, from left: Rex (voice: Edward Norton), Chief (voice: Bryan Cranston), Duke (voice: Jeff Goldblum), King (voice: Bob Balaban), Boss (voice: Bill Murray), 2018. TM & copyright Fox Searchlight Pictures. All rights reserved. /Courtesy Everett Collection

“Isle of Dogs” takes place in a future where a dangerous dog flu has spread across Japan. Since it could be harmful to humans, Mayor Kenji Kobayashi (Kunichi Nomura), who’s in charge of the fictional Japanese city of Megasaki, exiles all dogs to Trash Island, including his own canine, Spots, which leads his nephew, Atari (Koyu Rankin), on a mission to reunite with their beloved dog.

10. “The French Dispatch” (2021)

“The French Dispatch” is an anthology comedy film centering on a group of journalists as they write their final stories for their last newspaper issue. The stories consist of a painter serving a prison sentence, students protesting in what is known as the Chessboard Revolution, and a police commissioner whose son gets kidnapped.

11. “Asteroid City” (2023)

Anderson’s latest film, “Asteroid City,” has everything from science-fiction and romance to comedy and drama. It’s also told as a meta-narrative since it’s a story within a story. The film not only focuses on the Junior Stargazer convention itself but also the event as a televised play.

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