12 Idiosyncratic Accoutrements in Wes Anderson Films
What the cuss is that thing?
- •“Leaf Observer” badge, Moonrise KingdomThe “Leaf Observer” badge evokes the comfortable bubble of Randy Ward's (Edward Norton) scout master worldview more poignantly than any authentic badge ever could.
- •World Traveler Titanium Card, Fantastic Mr. FoxWhen Mr. Fox (George Clooney) asks for a credit card, Kylie Sven Opossum (Wallace Wolodarsky) hands his over, and it’s a World Traveler Titanium Card. “How the cuss did you qualify for this?” Fox demands. Kylie shrugs and says, “I pay my bills on time. I’ve always had good credit.”
- •Potent Indian medications, The Darjeeling LimitedAs they begin their train trip through India, the brothers come prepared with medication to maintain their haze, each with its own Andersonian name. Peter’s Hypno-Aid pills are “some kind of Indian muscle relaxer,” and Jack’s Narco-Cough is “an Indian flu medicine” that’s “got a tranquilizer in it.” Francis trumps them both with Opio-Sedate, purportedly India’s strongest painkiller.
- •Wooden finger, The Royal TenenbaumsMargot Tenenbaum’s (Gwyneth Paltrow) wooden finger is an eternal wound, tangibly evoking the reality that she will never quite be complete—never truly a Tenenbaum. It’s an accouterment that heightens the mystique of a troubled and heartbreaking character.
- •Tube sock bandit mask, Fantastic Mr. FoxAt first, Ash's (Jason Schwartzman) mask is the perfect embodiment of his desire to be like his dad and his awkward failure to do so. But by the time the film reaches its climax and Ash becomes an unlikely hero, that tube sock mask has become a celebration of Ash’s geeky enthusiasm.
- •Dignan’s 75-year plan notebook, Bottle RocketDignan (Owen Wilson), the wannabe criminal ringleader, never lets go of his trusty spiral notebook, which is dedicated to a hilariously detailed 75-year plan. This long-term road map lays out a life in which Dignan and his accomplices will evolve from their first heist into a full-scale criminal enterprise.
- •Hand-painted skull-and-crossbones snake box, The Darjeeling LimitedThe box’s most striking detail is a hand-painted skull and crossbones, which depicts a long, slender head and high-set eyes. It bears a resemblance to Peter (Adrien Brody) himself, which drives home the notion that the morose Peter is preoccupied with thoughts of his mortality—he is essentially buying a vision of his death (and an instrument of the same) to look at on the train.
- •Lapel pins, RushmoreMax Fisher (Jason Schwartzman) dons Perfect Attendance and Punctuality pins is an attempt to one-up those around him and to assert a status he will most likely never obtain due to his working-class roots.
- •Voltaire #6 perfume, “Hotel Chevalier” and The Darjeeling LimitedHinted at in the "Hotel Chevalier" short film, Voltaire #6 reminds Jack (Jason Schwartzman) of his ex-girlfriend (Natalie Portman) and keeps him in a state of melancholy. He unwisely smashes it, which saturates the train compartment with her scent, a representation of her continuing ability to infiltrate his senses even without her physical presence.
- •Team Zissou ring, The Life Aquatic With Steve ZissouBearing the insignia of Team Zissou, it’s a way for a boy who never knew his father to keep a piece of him around at all times, and it gains added poignancy in the film’s final act, when several revelations and plot developments test the bond that Ned (Owen Wilson) and Steve (Bill Murray) have built.
- •Dalmatian mice, The Royal TenenbaumsInvented by Chas Tenenbaum as a child, the Dalmatian mouse is a novel breed of rodent that’s a little bit quirky without being too threatening. The mice have been allowed to roam free and go about their mousey business in the Tenenbaum home for years, not unlike Chas and his sons, Ari and Uzi.
- •Mendl’s Courtesan au Chocolat, The Grand Budapest HotelWe just REALLY want to eat one of these.