After much delay, Wes Anderson’s long-awaited feature The French office will launch this year. While the film’s trailer implies the presence of Anderson’s usual visual aesthetics and humor, this marks the writer-director’s first attempt at an anthology film. The plot involves a magazine preparing for its final issue and telling three separate stories in the process.
The anthology format is interesting to explore given how the directors have interpreted it with different tones and settings. While Jim Jarmusch is an undisputed pioneer in the genre, other directors like the Coen brothers and Mel Brooks have had their fair share as well.
10 The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018) – Netflix
The Coens brothers’ comedies and dramas are known for their unconventional and forthright style of humor. The duo’s Netflix anthology The Ballad of Buster Scruggs Similarly, it presents a satirical image of a post-Civil War American frontier with stories revolving around hilariously flawed characters.
While the opening segment has a standout performance by Tim Blake Nelson along with some poetic songs, the other films also play with darker settings and twisted endings. While most of the segments are originals written by the Coens, two are based on stories by the classic writers Jack London and Stewart Edward White.
9 Coffee and Cigarettes (2003) – Prime Video
Jim Jarmusch has ventured into anthology cinema on more than one occasion, with Coffe and cigarettes being one of his works par excellence. As the title suggests, each black and white vignette involves a conversation over coffee and cigarettes. With a cast that includes Cate Blanchett, Iggy Pop, Steve Buscemi, and many more, Jarsmuch’s script celebrates the mundane, making this anthology even more relatable.
Whether it’s discussing Elvis Presley’s conspiracy theories or cigarette addiction itself, the movie is filled with entertaining everyday conversations.
8 Night on Earth (1991) – HBO Max
One of the best Jim Jarmusch movies, Night on earth takes place on a specific night in five different cities. In each short, the story involves an unexpected bond formed between a taxi driver and his passenger. As is the case with other Jarmusch anthologies, the compilation is an artistic experiment that switches between a focus on realism and drama. The ambient soundtrack is provided by Jarmusch’s regular contributor Tom Waits.
Night on earth stands out for serving as a follow-up to Mystery train, another remarkable Jarmusch anthology that has earned a cult following.
7 Ghost Stories (2018) – Hulu
Ghost stories It consists of three separate storylines that eventually connect to form a larger story. At the center of the plot is a paranormal teacher who seeks to disprove the film’s headline stories. However, as all three scenarios unfold, he begins to question his own sanity.
The atmospheric tension in the horror anthology is remarkable, and it’s only reinforced by a talented ensemble. Martin Freeman, in particular, is in top form, while Andy Nyman stars in the title role. Nyman also co-directed and wrote the film, which is based on his work of the same name.
6 Wild Tales (2014) – AMC On Demand
The Oscar nominee Wild tales It clearly lives up to its name, offering a mix of exciting shock value and absurd black humor. From a troubled marriage to a fatal escape, viewers can expect the unexpected with the wildly fresh stories featured in this Argentine film.
When it comes to black comedy thrillers like this one, plot twists or shocking endings are a common theme. But the twists in Wild tales they are rarely used for deceptive purposes.
5 Paris, I love you (2006) – VUDU
Paris, like New York, is a city endlessly romanticized in pop culture. Paris i love you (which literally translates as I love Paris), is a great cinematic tribute to this “city of love” with vignettes by 22 leading directors.
The Coens, Gurinder Chadha, Wes Craven, and Gus Van Sant are some of the filmmakers who contributed to the film. The multinational cast is equally impressive, including characters like Bob Hoskins, Elijah Wood, and Natalie Portman. The sheer collective talent in all of this makes it one of the best films set in Paris.
4 World History, Part I (1981) – Google Play Movies
History of the world, part I is a Mel Brooks trademark classic with exaggerated but cleverly written humor. The comedy, which consists of several sketches parodying human history, shows Mel Brooks playing characters such as Moses and Loius XVI. The segments cover the Stone Age, the Roman Empire, the French Revolution, etc.
While it may not be Brooks’s masterpiece, it is an interesting variety of short films and is comparable to the pseudo-historical humor of certain Monty Python sketches.
3 Four Bedrooms (1995) – DIRECTV
Four rooms is perhaps best known for featuring Quentin Tarantino in one of his few acting roles. Tarantino is also serving as the director of one of the short films, with Robert Rodriguez, Allison Anders, and Alexandre Rockwell joining him. Interestingly, each of the darkly comic segments is based on the writings of Roald Dahl, known primarily for his children’s fiction.
Each chapter deals with four strange encounters in four different hotel rooms, with Tim Roth’s bellhop Ted, acting as the main character that brings them together. Weather Four rooms It might not be the best anthology on this list, the humor and emotion in the Rodriguez and Tarantino segments provide entertainment.
2 Storytelling (2015) – AMC Plus
Before animated reworkings, fairy tales were often written as dark tales of fantasy and romance. The three stories in Storytelling reference to the Italian writer Giambattista Basile, who wrote similar stories, including early versions of Rapunzel Y Sleeping Beauty.
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A remarkable period anthology, this European production makes good use of its talented cast members, including Salma Hayek and Vincent Cassell. Each of the three segments subverts children’s adaptations of fairy tales for more mature stories.
1 Full House of O. Henry (1952) – VUDU
When it comes to American short stories, O. Henry was a titan. In the 1950s, some of Hollywood’s biggest stars joined forces to bring their short fiction to life in an anthology published as Full house. Charles Laughton, Anne Baxter and Marilyn Monroe lead the all-star cast, while the film also features acclaimed author John Steinbeck as the narrator, marking the only on-screen appearance in his life.
From “The Gift of Magi” to “The Last Leaf,” the film is largely true to its source material, incorporating O. Henry’s balance of wit and emotion.
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