Wes Anderson has made a career off of Wes Anderson films — they're exclusively his and his alone.
While many may be turned off by how stylized his films are, most can still respect the fact that he was able to achieve a style so unto himself.
With his latest film and second venture into stop motion, "Isle of Dogs," just coming out, let's take a look and rank his eight previous feature-length films.
8. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)
Reeling off the success of “The Royal Tenenbaums,” Anderson decided to double down on his eccentricities and create "The Life Aquatic."
The story is of the acclaimed yet washed up undersea explorer, Steve Zissou, who embarks on an attempt to regain his former respect.
While the film has many fascinating aspects, including a soundtrack made nearly entirely off of Portuguese David Bowie covers (which is also quite possibly the most Wes Anderson thing to do), its somewhat jumbled plot and quirks leave it a bit tiresome.
The film has solid moments, but too much of the film feels like procedural Anderson with eccentric characters, unrequited love and Bill Murray.
It's still a fun film, most likely because Anderson might be incapable of making a movie that isn't at least interesting, but it is also a film that might discourage someone less involved in his filmography from his eccentric style.
7. The Darjeeling Limited (2007)
This film, along with "The Life Aquatic," is one of the two Anderson films that can only be described as procedural.
Both feature Owen Wilson alongside several other eccentric characters as they navigate an unfamiliar world with less than preferable self-awareness.
While “The Darjeeling Limited” is a somewhat more cohesive story than "The Life Aquatic," it also isn't as fun.
Its story of three wealthy yet disconnected brothers going to India to find their mother is well executed, but with such an unlikeable cast of characters it isn't all that much fun.
6. Bottle Rocket (1996)
Anderson's first film is the least like the rest of his works.
Yes, it's quirky. Yes, it has Owen Wilson (all three Wilson brothers to be specific).
But it also lacks his absorbingly unique type of storytelling, for better and for worse.
While its storytelling is significantly more stayed than anything that would come after, the absurd story of three would-be criminals is a breath of fresh air compared to the rest of his filmography.
The story doesn't exactly go anywhere, but its knowing meandering makes it such a fun experience.
5. Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
His first live action film since “The Darjeeling Limited,” Anderson created quite possibly his most intimate and awkward film yet.
Taking place in 1960s New England, on the eve of a major natural disaster, Anderson explores the story of two 12-year-old eccentrics and their first experiences with love.
Anderson doesn't pull away from showing the painful awkwardness in this time in people's lives and through that shows the beauty in young yearning.
4. Rushmore (1998)
“Rushmore,” Anderson's second film, is his first to really sink into his unique style of emphasis on color, his picturesque cinematography and his first film to feature Bill Murray, who’s since appeared in all of his work to some degree.
The film is one of his simpler plots, telling the story of an arrogant young student named Max (Jason Schwartzman) and his bizarre yet heartfelt relationship with a middle aged businessman (Murray).
Unlike many of Anderson's later films, which often use convoluted plots and a wide assortment of cynical characters to varying success, Anderson keeps this story and its characters on a simple line, allowing for greater depth and sympathy from these characters.
3. The Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)
After two decent, albeit fairly procedural films, Anderson returned to form with a daring new foray into stop motion.
Using the Roald Dahl book as more of an inspiration than source material, Anderson used stop motion to both embrace his unique style while also break free of many of his previous trappings as a director.
With jaw-dropping effects, this could be Anderson's most fun film in a long line of fun films. It's without a doubt his easiest film to simply re-watch for no reason other than its pure entertainment value.
2. The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
With one good film and one great film behind him already, Anderson set himself to make his most ambitious and bizarre story yet.
Telling the story of a massive family of eccentrics, "The Royal Tenenbaums" somehow manages to keep all these absurd characters funny, engaging and relatable.
The movie is a dozen spinning plates all at once, and at no point does Anderson even let them wobble.
1. The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
Without a doubt his most ambitious film, just like in "The Royal Tenenbaums," Anderson, by some incredible alignment, manages to get this convoluted story of peculiar and varied characters perfectly right.
The film is Anderson's greatest balance of humor and tragedy, all while showing legitimate sympathy for the characters.
The plot would take too long to explain but I suppose it could be called a caper, in a sense.
The fact that Anderson was able to make such a fast moving film (that by my account takes place in four different time periods) and still have it be captivating and digestible even through his unique filter, is an incredible achievement of filmmaking. That alone makes this film Anderson’s best.