Basterds and Na'vi and Prawns, oh, my! Serious men, out of body trips, and Wild Things a-plenty.
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4. "Fantastic Mr. Fox"
Wes Anderson and stop-motion animation seem to have been made for each other, and we just didn't realize it until now. Anderson's aesthetic has been almost exhaustively micro-managed in each of his films since "Rushmore," and now, in making a movie that is by its very nature all about second-to-second micro-management of every single thing you see, he's made his freest, silliest, most heartfelt film since "Bottle Rocket," a movie that uses the general shape of the classic Roald Dahl book to weave a story about fatherhood, responsibility, and unconditional love. It's also about ego, community, and the thrill of risk. George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, Wallace Wolodarsky, Bill Murray, Willem Dafoe, Owen Wilson, Eric Chase Anderson, Michael Gambon, and Jarvis freakin' Cocker are just some of the voice-actors who bring this eccentric animal cast to life, and Anderson's comic sensibilities are front and center here. This is a film that doesn't pander to kids while throwing an occasional off-color bone to the parents so they're not bored. Instead, this movie understands that if you treat your entire audience, regardless of age, with respect, then the experience is going to be that much better for them. This is a movie that left me sore from laughing even as I had to wipe away a few tears of recognition, and I think the fact that it talks about the difficulties of being a father and a husband without resorting to any of the shitty sitcom cliches that Hollywood revels in marks it as a minor classic. Everything else that makes the movie great is just gravy.