In the following video, The Nerdwriter (Evan Puschak) starts off by posing the question of which Wes Anderson film is the best, and answers it by saying that The Darjeeling Limited is the one he loves the most.
I was struck by the fact that his final answer is actually the answer to a different question than the one he posed at the beginning. And as a bit of an Anderson-ite myself, I've found myself in that boat before. Because "favorite" and "best" are not always the same thing for me, especially when it comes to Anderson.
Ever since I saw it for the first time, I've felt that The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou is his most complete, most powerful, most thoughtful, most polished, and "best" film. (The Grand Budapest Hotel is running second, probably. Or maybe it's The Royal Tenenbaums.)
But my favorite? That's a two-hander: Bottle Rocket and Moonrise Kingdom. And I love those two for the same reason, actually. While they feature the same stylistic and thematic...oddities that makes Anderson so distinctive and while they grapple with the same brokenness that has always fascinated me when it comes to his work, they are both a bit gentler than his other films. Neither are quite as hard on their subjects as their cinematic siblings.
And I love that. (The linchpin use of Benjamin Britten in Moonrise? Yeah, I love that, as well.)
I'm not quite sure what do to with the fact that Moonrise features Wes' happiest ending and Bottle Rocket, his saddest. That makes it a bit less two-handy, I suppose. Or just makes me inconsistent (which we already suspected). The gentleness is there in both, and that's what I love most about them. Yet I don't think it makes them better, just a better "fit" for me.
So, "Best" and Favorite" -- often, but not always together.