Wes Anderson and Richard Linklater –prominent writer/directors, Texas natives (both have roots in Houston) and coincidentally my two favorite humans. Their latest films were nominated for Best Motion Picture this year and, delving further, their careers have evolved at very similar rates, humbly paving the quaint dirt road that was the indie film scene in the ‘90s with Slacker and Bottle Rocket. Onward, they transitioned to tastemakers, acquiring cult followings with Dazed and Confused and The Royal Tenenbaums. With each film Anderson and Linklater make, their toolbox gets a little bigger without compromising their eclectic and pridefully offbeat styles, one vastly different from the other, yet hauntingly similar. Which leads to the question, who does it better?
Battle One: Reusing Actors
Anderson Filmography: Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, The Darjeeling Limited, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Moonrise Kingdom, The Grand Budapest Hotel
While Murray’s credits are heftier than McConaughey’s, most living people not living under rocks know to whom the catch phrase “alright, alright, alright” belongs. Murray has some particularly memorable one-liners, like “Don’t point that gun at him, he’s an unpaid intern,” or, “I’ll be out back. I’m going to find a tree to chop down,” but you can’t interject those as easily into daily conversation. With just one role, McConaughey got in. One. Role. Thanks to Linklater. I mean, there are unsanctioned murals and even a music video inspired by McConaughey’s role as David.
Linklater Filmography: The Newton Boys, Waking Life, Tape, Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Before Midnight, Boyhood
Anderson Filmography: Bottle Rocket, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, The Darjeeling Limited, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Grand Budapest Hotel
As amply demonstrated in their respective Linklater/Anderson filmographies, Hawke and Wilson are both good at talking for extended periods of time. In The Darjeeling Limited, Francis orders food for his brothers against their wills and verbally assaults his assistant with alopecia because he can’t shut up. In the Before trilogy, Hawke talks on and off again from 1995 to 2013 about philosophy, love, crumbling relationships, and so on. The trilogy is truly compelling, even though I’m painting it to be a bore. Really, it is. However, what’s the biggest difference between Hawke and Wilson’s characters? Cool ass costumes. That’s right; Wilson got to wear the garb of a self-important author of western novels (meaning a cowboy hat and fringe jacket), a snug red beanie with a Team Zissou uniform, full facial bandages, and a hotel concierge suit.
Anderson Filmography: The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic, The Darjeeling Limited
Delpy plays an independent yet troubled environmental activist who loves Nina Simone in the Before trilogy; Huston plays a soon-to-be-supposedly-widowed mom and widowed mom in The Royal Tenenbaums and The Darjeeling Limited. Delpy’s role as Celine takes on an air of philosophical reasoning as she asks in her charming French accent, “Isn’t everything we do in life a way to be loved a little more,” whereas in The Royal Tenenbaums, Etheline adheres moreso to practicality as she tells her young kid, “Write yourself a check,” when he asks for money. Let’s not forget how she punches Royal Tenenbaum in the arm when he wavers back and forth on his impending dying or not dying. Etheline can be my stoically cat-like mom any day!
Subjective Conclusion: Wes Anderson Reuses Actors/Actresses Better
Come back next week for this continuing series of Director Face/Off