Martin Scorsese and Wes Anderson are not what you’d call directors who share the same cinematic universe. While gangsters and grisly characters form the backbone to the bulk of Scorsese’s back catalogue, the only violence in Anderson’s movies is his inexplicable mistreatment of pets.
However, very few people on earth have seen more cinema than Scorsese. The maestro has his finger to the pulse of film no matter what the genre and he has even holstered his usual stylings and ventured somewhere near Andersonian whimsy with his ode to classic cinema in Hugo.
Thus, it is perhaps not quite as surprising as it first might seem that an Anderson picture features in his favourite films of the nineties, for many a bit of golden decade in film. That film is, in fact, Anderson’s debut feature Bottle Rocket released back in 1996.
Scorsese wrote in an Esquire article that, “[Anderson] knows how to convey the simple joys and interactions between people so well and with such richness,” Scorsese, one of Anderson’s “heroes,” eulogised in a millennium look back at nineties cinema. “This kind of sensibility is rare in movies.”
In another interview with the famed film critic Roger Ebert, Scorsese ranked the film as his seventh favourite of the decade. He said, “I loved the people in this film who are genuinely innocent in this film, more than even they know.” Those people in question are of course the Wilson brothers, Owen and Luke, who would go on to be staples in Anderson’s oeuvre, starring in just about every one of his films to date. The film, however, which Scorsese calls innocent, is actually slightly more risqué than what followed in the whimsical world of Wes, purely owing to the fact it involves armed robbery, no matter how charmingly it is played off.
The praise from Scorsese hasn’t stopped at Bottle Rocket either. In another editorial for Esquire, the director proclaimed that Anderson was “the next Martin Scorsese.” On various other occasions, he has detailed an admiration for his tireless attention to detail and the joy of film which seems to be contained within his pictures, that also comes out in his own work.
As far as praise running the other way, Anderson said in a 2015 interview, “Everybody was hugely influenced by [Martin Scorsese’s] work… he’s one of the reasons why I thought [cinema] is what I’d like to try do.” No doubt the praise from his Promethean hero came as a huge boost as he made his way in the film industry.