Wes Anderson presented us with a quirky look at the world of print publication in his latest film, The French Dispatch. It was a movie that offered up all of Anderson’s signature traits while telling an anthology-style story that focused on one single issue of a magazine. And while those who love Anderson have probably devoured his filmography, there are other movies out there for you if you loved his latest work. Here are seven films in no particular order that you should watch if you loved The French Dispatch, and, yes, we even included one of Anderson’s own works.
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)
Most movie fans are familiar with the filmography of the Coen Brothers, but if you didn’t catch The Ballad of Buster Scruggs when it was released on Netflix, and you loved The French Dispatch, then what are you doing? The pair, as well known for their style as Anderson himself, created this western anthology and they presented it in a way that only the Coen’s could. Each of the stories is completely independent of the others in the film, though each does take place in the same storybook as shown at the beginning of the movie and throughout.
The film features a star-studded cast including James Franco, Liam Neeson, Zoe Kazan (The Big Sick), Tim Blake Nelson (Holes), and Tom Waits, each getting a fair amount of screentime. Some of the stories are downright disturbing and some are quite funny, but each offers the signature Coen touch, and for film fans that should be all the convincing you need to check it out.
Wild Tales (2014)
If The French Dispatch has you in the mood for stylized anthologies, then it’s time to check out one of the most entertaining movies ever made. Wild Tales is an anthology film told in a darkly comedic fashion, that takes a look at various people from various social classes seeking revenge on others.
The film is a collection of six short stories that ramp everything up to 11. In one story, Ricardo Darin (The Secret in Their Eyes) plays a demolition expert who is having a very bad day, but the way he handles it is sure to leave audiences giddy with excitement by the end. In another, two lovers have a wedding day unlike any other that’s been put on film, while another features a severe case of road rage. It’s a movie that will make you laugh in discomfort, but you’ll be laughing nonetheless. The anthology was critically acclaimed at its release, as it received nominations for the Academy Award for Best International Film and the Palme d’Or at Cannes.
Paris, je t’aime (2006)
Paris, je t’aime is an anthology that dives into Paris the way Anderson dives into a magazine. While The French Dispatch takes place in a funny little fictional French village, Paris, je t’aime (as the title makes obvious) is set in the city of Paris. Fusing together five-minute shorts from twenty different filmmakers, the critically-acclaimed film traces the thread of love and heartbreak through Parisian life, making for a film that serves as a love letter to Paris itself.
Like The French Dispatch, it features a star-studded cast, including Juliette Binoche, Steve Buscemi, Natalie Portman, and Nick Nolte among many others. While most anthologies are love letters to a genre or a place or maybe even just a way of life, Paris, je t’aime pens its own with a distinct style that sets it apart from other works like it.
His Girl Friday (1940)
Wes Anderson admits that His Girl Friday was one of the main inspirations for The French Dispatch, and it’s not surprising in the least. The classic screwball comedy from 1940, features Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell at their absolute best, as they fast-talk their way through their relationship and newspaper reporters.
Howard Hawks’ fast-paced adaptation of The Front Page has withstood the test of time because of its compelling characters, phenomenal dialogue, and a setting that feels fully fleshed out. Newspapers may be going out of style, but the cutthroat world of the news media is here to stay. If you’re looking for a movie that will explain where Anderson gets his ideas, look no further than this one.
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)
It’s far and away the most polarizing of Anderson’s movies, and it was met with a lukewarm reception from critics and audiences alike. However, for some diehard fans, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou is the quintessential Wes Anderson film. While the movie isn’t for everyone, if you loved the French Dispatch, then this is the Anderson movie you need to watch next.
The film follows oceanographer Steve Zissou (Bill Murray) who sets out with his team to enact revenge on a shark that killed his partner. The film is incredibly stylized, as one would come to expect of Anderson, and it has the same dry sense of humor that is present throughout his latest film. The film is loaded with Anderson’s usual acting troupe, such as Anjelica Huston, Jeff Goldblum, Owen Wilson, and Willem Dafoe, and it features a great performance from Cate Blanchett who plays a journalist reporting on Steve’s latest endeavor.
History of the World Part 1 (1981)
The comedic brilliance of Mel Brooks shines in this film, as he travels through human history in one of the wackiest anthologies ever made. While it doesn’t have the high-brow humor of an Anderson film, it’s certainly dry with a level of awkwardness that only works in the hands of someone confident in their work. The film touches upon just about everything, from the reading of the 10 commandments to the Spanish Inquisition. Some scenes are certainly dated, and some parts will leave you wondering where the joke was, but as far as comedic anthologies go, this one is as good as it gets.
Broadcast News (1987)
This movie isn’t about print journalism, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that it dives into a lot of the same subjects as The French Dispatch. Following the lives of three people working at a news network, the comedic undertones are often overshadowed by the more serious nature of their successes and failures. While they each search for love without letting it get in the way of their careers, they endure a tough business that puts them all on the verge of a mental breakdown. Emotional performances from Holly Hunter, William Hurt, and Albert Brooks make this sentimental movie about an industry so many dream of working in a must-watch.