5 Must-Watch Movies After Enjoying Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch

5 Must-Watch Movies After Enjoying Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch

Wes Anderson’s latest anthology film, The French Dispatch, is a heartfelt tribute to journalists, as described by the director himself. Set in the fictional town of Ennui-sur-Blasé in 20th-century France, the movie revolves around three main stories from the final issue of an American magazine. Anderson reunites with actors from his previous films, such as Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, Adrien Brody, Saoirse Ronan, Owen Wilson, Mathieu Amalric, Bob Balaban, and Léa Seydoux. Newcomers to Anderson’s pastel-colored world include Jeffrey Wright, Timothée Chalamet, Guillaume Gallienne, Benicio del Toro, Lyna Khoudr, and Stephen Park. ABC describes the film’s plot as “Structured around sections of the titular rag – a European offshoot of an American literary journal, inspired by The New Yorker – it features a series of beautifully crafted, if occasionally mechanical vignettes that riff on the contributing writers’ various beats: arts, politics, cooking, a dash of the obituaries.” Vox adds, “For Wes-heads, The French Dispatch is likely satisfying. It’s like a greatest hits album, with many of his favorite themes: loneliness, friendship, family, love, death. Every intricate tableau and winking nod to his influences feels like a nudge to the audience, an invitation to be in on the joke.” If you’ve enjoyed The French Dispatch, here are five movies you should watch next.

The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, another Wes Anderson adventure comedy, follows oceanographer Steve Zissou (Bill Murray) as he seeks revenge on a mythical shark that killed his partner. Alongside a pregnant journalist (Cate Blanchett) and other crew members, including his estranged wife (Anjelica Huston) and a young airline copilot (Owen Wilson), Zissou embarks on a mission that pays homage to French diving pioneer Jacques Cousteau. The film also stars Willem Dafoe, Michael Gambon, Jeff Goldblum, and Bud Cort. The Guardian praises Murray’s lead role, saying, “Murray is the star of Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic and he hardly needs to crack an expression playing Steve Zissou, the autocratic oceanographer and has-been star of his own self-produced marine documentaries. Zissou is a weird mixture of Jacques Cousteau, Captain Kirk and Captain Bligh, but mainly the French legend Cousteau, to whose calmly paced and lugubriously narrated television shows the movie is a lovingly detailed tribute.”

The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Grand Budapest Hotel shares a similar visual and narrative style with The French Dispatch, although it is not an anthology film. The story revolves around Gustave H., a charismatic concierge of the Grand Budapest Hotel, and Zero, a junior lobby boy who becomes Gustave’s friend and protege. The film’s star-studded cast includes Ralph Fiennes, F. Murray Abraham, Mathieu Amalric, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Jude Law, Harvey Keitel, Bill Murray, Ed Norton, Saoirse Ronan, Jason Schwartzman, Tilda Swinton, Tony Revolori, Owen Wilson, Tom Wilkinson, Tony Revolori, and Léa Seydoux. Set in the 1930s, fans of The French Dispatch‘s humor and pastel aesthetics will find The Grand Budapest Hotel a delightful treat. New York Times’ review states, “Mr. Anderson is no realist. This movie makes a marvelous mockery of history, turning its horrors into a series of graceful jokes and mischievous gestures. You can call this escapism if you like. You can also think of it as revenge.”

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

While not sharing the same artistic style as Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch, the Coen brothers’ The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is another anthology film worth watching. Originally intended to be a Netflix series, according to Variety, the Western film features six stories set in 19th-century post-Civil War America. The ensemble cast includes Tyne Daly, James Franco, Brendan Gleeson, Bill Heck, Grainger Hines, Zoe Kazan, Harry Melling, Liam Neeson, Tim Blake Nelson, Jonjo O’Neill, Chelcie Ross, Saul Rubinek, and Tom Waits. Vox describes the film as, “You could call The Ballad of Buster Scruggs the conclusion of the Coens’ Western trilogy, except it isn’t much like those two films stylistically. It’s a trope-heavy sextet — six short films strung together, with nothing obviously connecting them besides a kind of dream logic. Thematically, though, they’re connected by a sense of how absurd death can be, how unfair and irreverent and sometimes even funny it is.”

The Paper

Like The French Dispatch, the comedy-drama The Paper delves into the world of journalism, following newspaper editor Henry Hacket (Michael Keaton) as he grapples with decisions in his personal and professional life. Directed by Ron Howard, the film also stars Glenn Close, Marisa Tomei, Randy Quaid, and Robert Duvall. Los Angeles Times writes, “The Paper is rife with the motion and commotion that characterize all newspaper films. With their insistence on what’s timely and their fear of time running out, deadline-crazed daily papers have a built-in thrill-of-the-chase quality that the movie business understandably finds irresistible.”

The Square

Ruben Östlund’s satirical film The Square may remind viewers of the “The Concrete Masterpiece” story by J.K.L. Berensen (Tilda Swinton) in The French Dispatch. The film follows a curator (Claes Bang) as he struggles with his personal life while attempting to set up a controversial art exhibit. Also starring Elisabeth Moss, Dominic West, and Terry Notary, the film explores the contemporary world of art and freedom of expression. Vox says, “The Square at times feels more like longform performance art than a narrative film. It’s social satire by way of art-world comedy, and no woke participant is exempt from its barbs.” The Guardian describes the film as “a strange mix of pop and profundity: archly entertaining, occasionally grating and consistently uncomfortable.”

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