All you Wes Anderson fanboys and girls hold onto your headbands and faux fur, ‘cause we’re about to ruffle some feathers. We know some of you will scoff at a list that doesn’t include Eli Cash or Future Man, but do you really want us to make a cop-out list of 20 characters, including everyone just to tip-toe around a few negative comments? Bring it!
1. Pagoda. With a delivery as flat as an obscure indie record, Kumar Pallana brought to life one of our favorite characters of all time. And while we loved him as the incompetent safecracker in Bottle Rocket and Mr. Littlejeans in Rushmore, it was his portrayal of Royal’s right-hand man in The Royal Tenenbaums that secured his place in cinematic history. Cheers to you, Mr. Pallana (1918–2013).
2. Dignan. Bottle Rocket was the world’s introduction to Wes Anderson, and with Owen Wilson playing a naïve, optimistic leader of possibly the worst criminal gang ever assembled, his big screen debut was definitely a memorable one.
3. Herman Blume. Picking the best Bill Murray character is like picking the best rainbow. Throw a mustache on it and you’ve got yourself a winner.
4. Royal Tenenbaum. Possibly the greatest character ever created, Gene Hackman gives us a man who despite all our effort, we cannot hate. But, that’s just one man’s opinion.
5. Peter Whitman. We loved all the Whitman brothers in The Darjeeling Limited, but it was the funeral procession scene that set Adrien Brody apart.
6. Mr. Fox. Although created by Roald Dahl and given voice by George Clooney, Mr. Fox lives in a world created by Wes Anderson. The perfectly composed “set” and beautifully framed shots allow this character to come to life before our very eyes.
7. Max Fischer. Along with a growing library of beautifully designed and fantastically written movies, Wes Anderson also gave us Jason Schwartzman, and while it can be argued that Francis Ford Coppola’s nephew would have eventually been given a role by someone, it was Anderson’s genius that cast him as Max Fisher in Rushmore.
8. Alistair Hennessey. Jeff Goldblum is a god among men, and although this character is reminiscent of D.H. in Igby Goes Down, it is still the standout performance of The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.