A collection of Wes Anderson video essays by Matt Zoller Seitz

All seven video essays adapted from the book: The Wes Anderson Collection.

There are few perfect books. The Wes Anderson Collection is one of them.


Almost two decades after the production of Bottle Rocket he (Wes) speaks of the movie with great affection, as well he should. It’s a special movie. Audacious yet gentle. It’s got a loping rhythm that reminds me of what it’s like to stroll around Dallas in the early summer at dusk. Everything is kind of turning all blue. You can hear the cicadas whirring.

Matt Zoller Seitz

There are few perfect movies. This is one of them.

– Matt Zoller Seitz

The Royal Tenebaums works because as hilarious as it sometimes is, in its heart it’s a drama rather than a comedy. And it’s not remotely kidding about the traumas that it shows us. There is a very specific darkness at the heart of this film, divorce. The bomb that detonates in the prologue.

– Matt Zoller Seitz

It feels lived in. Why? Maybe because it treats all of its characters as if they were real people. People whos dreams and fears actually matter.

– Matt Zoller Seitz

It was in the reign of George III that the the aforesaid personages lived and quarreled; good or bad, handsome or ugly, rich or poor, they are all equal now

Barry Lyndon

In all of these moments you’re aware that you’re seeing something that was made by people, and the movie is ok with that. It not trying to fool you. There’s nothing smooth about these stop motion animals. Wes is not taking his cues from Pixar here. He takes his cues from Willis O’Brien the stop motion animator who created King Kong. He takes his cues from Ray Harryhausen, who followed in Willis O’Brien’s footsteps. Jason and the Argonauts were a big one for Wes growing up.

The movie carries itself as a knockabout comedy-romance, a mere diversion, but it lingers in the mind, by communicating that the right choice is one based on empathy and attention and understanding. Not mindless obedience to ritual or an ostrich like evasion of unpleasant truths. The relationship between tradition and innovation. The old guard and the new. Is ongoing, never fully settled. Sam and Suzy’s ardor is funny because they aren’t fully grown yet, but it’s powerful because they’re doing almost everything else right. Each one is headstrong but not averse to bending if it will make the other person happy. It can be likened to a negotiation, or better yet a dance.

Matt Zoller Seitz

The decay of the body is irreversible. Death is non-negotiable. After that, what’s left? Stories. But not just the stories as the story tellers remember them and then recounted them to others. The stories that people adapt from other people’s stories which then are retold, remade, and handed down until only their essence remains.

Matt Zoller Seitz

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