Wes Anderson is one of the few directors working today who boasts a legion of die-hard fans who religiously flock to all of his flicks. His distinctive style, irreverent wit and complex characters make each of his films instant classics that beg to be watched over and over again to fully appreciate all of the subtle details.
His most recent release, the whimsical Moonrise Kingdom, is no exception. The innocent tale follows two young social misfits, Sam (Jared Gilman) and Suzy (Kara Hayward), as they run away together to escape a world where nobody understands them. The brooding souls "get" each other -- a remarkable feat for ostracized pre-teens living in a tiny, insulated island community.
Like all of Anderson's protagonists, Sam and Suzy are fully fleshed out, complex characters. Sam is much more than just a precocious, strong-willed orphan, and Suzy eschews the stereotype of a sullen, moody young girl. They are each unique characters that are hard to imagine anywhere outside of an Anderson film -- right down to their distinctive looks. (He with the horn-rimmed glasses and Davy Crockett fur hat, she with the heavy eyeliner, knee-socks and ever-present binoculars.)
Of course, Sam and Suzy must contend with a host of formidable rivals along their journey to be together. Most notably, they are hotly pursued by Sam's former band of overzealous boy scouts, led by their hapless Scout Leader (Edward Norton). The film's most intimidating antagonist takes the form of a woman clad in a stark red uniform simply known as Social Services (Tilda Swinton), who is on a mission to remove Sam from the island to place him in an institution for orphans.
Over the years, Anderson has created some of film's most memorable rivals. Swinton's imposing Social Services character got us thinking about Anderson's other noteworthy antagonists. With that in mind, we've compiled a list of our top five favorite Wes Anderson adversaries.
1. Herman Blume (Bill Murray) in Rushmore. The idea of a wealthy businessman being bested by an overachieving 15-year-old is endlessly amusing. Remember when Max Fischer unleashed angry bees into Blume's hotel room? Or when he nonchalantly offers Mrs. Blume a tuna fish sandwich before telling her about her husband's affair? The best moment in their feud over the beautiful Ms. Cross has got to be when Blume destroys Max's bike with his car. Temper, temper!
2. Dr. Peter Flynn (Luke Wilson) in Rushmore. Dr. Flynn on his own would be rather unremarkable. Dr. Flynn caught in Max Fischer's crosshairs, on the other hand, is pure genius. The oblivious O.R. doctor ("O, R you?!") didn't know what he was walking into when he began dating the object of Max's affection, the incredibly in-demand teacher Ms. Cross. Luckily, Max isn't fazed by Dr. Flynn's Harvard credentials cuz, y'know, he wrote a hit play and directed it. (Not to mention that Harvard is his safety.)
3. Alistair Hennessey (Jeff Goldblum) in The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. Alistair is the best nemesis ever. Don't you just hate him? What kind of man goes around smacking innocent (three-legged!) dogs to get them to "be still"? And his clothes! His flowing white suite, long pink scarf and meticulously slicked back hair all scream "douchebag" before he even opens his smug, pompous mouth.
4. Chief Steward (Waris Ahluwalia) in The Darjeeling Limited. In many ways, the Chief Steward is far more sympathetic than the three obnoxious Whitman brothers. After all, Jack (Jason Schwartzman) does get it on with his girlfriend. Plus, y'know there was that whole escaped cobra incident. But, since the Whitmans are our protagonists and the Chief Steward kicks them off his train, he certainly qualifies for the rival category.
5. Raleigh St. Clair (Bill Murray) in The Royal Tenenbaums. Even though it's kinda weird that Richie (Luke Wilson) is in love with his (adopted) sister Margot (Gwyneth Paltrow), he does seem like a better match for her than her cold, detached husband, Raleigh, who treats her more like a psych patient than a wife.