The 'Grand Budapest Hotel' Twee Tally

The Grand Budapest Hotel
(From Fox Searchlight | Illustration by Zimbio)Wes Anderson's greatest power as a filmmaker may be his ability to fully realize the worlds he creates. When his movies are finished, they feel like they've emerged fully formed from his mind. His irresistably twee fantasy lands blur the lines of realism, and The Grand Budapest Hotel might be the blurriest yet.

What creates this world? Well we can't capture its magic, but at least we can document some of the pieces that make the whole. With that in mind, this is our Grand Budapest Hotel Twee Tally. SPOILERS AHEAD!

Twee Tally Final Count: 81

After dutifully scratching out tally marks in a darkened theater through the whole movie, this was the ludicrously subjective final number we came up with. The following examples were drawn from those many tally marks.

1. Fantasy Europe

Wes Anderson sets the story in the made-up Zubrowka, somewhere near where France and Germany would be. Illustrating the country's location involves an original map that establishes that familiar Anderson hand-made quality early on.

2. M. Gustave's Grave

Our first introduction to M. Gustave is his grave. And since he was such a legendary concierge, of course that grave is covered in tiny hooks upon which visitors leave hotel room keys in lieu of flowers. Only Wes Anderson could conceive of a world where not only can a concierge be a hero, but remembered as a hero long after his death. 

3. The Narrator

This isn't the first time a ho-hum narrator has been the conduit for fantastical events, but it feels like a very Anderson-y way to tell a story, especially with Tom Wilkinson channeling the narrator from Rocky Horror Picture Show and being shot with a toy gun as he ruminates on the past.

The Grand Budapest Hotel

4. The Miniatures

One of the most impressive accomplishments of the movie is the way it integrates a scale model of the titular hotel, continually evoking that oh-so-important hand-made quality. The model is made all the more charming by...

5. The Funicular

A generation of precocious teens just learned what a funicular is.



6. The Fake Newspapers

Two of the movie's key plot points are communicated through Zubrowka's own newspaper, the Trans-Alpine Yodel.

Grand Budapest newspaper

7. The Elevator

Guests at the Grand Budapest are treated to a full service elevator complete with a bench and a very professional, unsmiling elevator attendant.

The Grand Budapest Hotel

8. The Disabled Shoeshine Boy

Because why not.

The Grand Budapest Hotel

9. Zero Moustafa's Drawn-on Mustache

For the record, we didn't count the name "Zero Moustafa" on our tally.



10. Elderly Nudity

Ralph Fiennes isn't just the world's greatest concierge in the movie. He's also a very accomplished gigilo. As he puts it, "I go to bed with all my friends." His admirers tend to be rich, old, and blonde, and during an early montage of his shenanigans, we get a look at him in action with several guests, who are generally 70 or older.

11. Gustave's Sermons

Gustave makes time every day to deliver the latest news to his fellow hotel employees, and after he's done he delivers a non-denominational sermon as the rest of the crew eats dinner.

12. Gustave's Perfume

The heavily perfumed concierge always smells strongly of L'air de Panache, the preferred fragrance of concierges everywhere.

The Grand Budapest Hotel

13. Agatha's Delivery Bike

Saoirse Ronan plays Agatha, an apprentice pastry chef with a birthmark on her face shaped like Mexico who makes deliveries on an adorable bike.

14. The Word "Lovey-Boy"

When Gustave and Zero are first hassled by the movie's proto-fascist Nazi stand-ins, Gustave orders them to "get your hands off my lovey-boy!"

15. The Mustaches

Willem Dafoe and Harvey Keitel are pretty much the only guys in the movie without mustaches. Here are the rest.

The Grand Budapest Hotel

16. The Taxidermy

Leave it to Wes Anderson to make dead animals look twee yet still vaguely menacing.

17. Willem Dafoe's Cartoonishly Evil Hitman

With his brass knuckles, vintage motorcycle, and black leather duster, Willem Dafoe's Jopling is a charming pastiche of a hitman. He drips adorably with evil even when he's doing awful things.

The Grand Budapest Hotel

18. Boy with Apple

When M. Gustave's most wealthy sugar momma, Madame D., dies, she bequeaths him a priceless painting called "Boy with Apple." It is an object of supreme twee, and it's the MacGuffin central to much of the plot. Gustave and Zero end up having to steal the painting, leading to the next item.

The Grand Budapest Hotel

19. The Way the Hook Swings When They Take Down the Painting

It's such a picture perfect little touch.

20. This Prison Advice from Gustave

Upon being arrested on suspicion of killing Madame D., Gustave explains to Zero how he got a black eye. "What happened, my dear Zero, is I beat the living s--- out of a sniveling little runt called Pinky Bandinski. You should take a long look at his ugly mug this morning. He's actually become a dear friend."

This is important because, in Gustave's words, "You must never be a candy ass."

21. Gustave's 46-stanza poem

Just because he's in prison doesn't mean Gustave can't still be a spiritual leader to his fellow Grand Budapest employees. While he's away he sends them a 46-stanza poem to be read by to them by Zero.

22. A Killer's Tableau

A shot of Willem Dafoe's desk shows all the accoutrements of a conscientious killer.

23. A Prison Shiv Is Used to Cut a Dessert Cake

Prison doesn't have to make you a brute, right?

24. Harvey Keitel's Obvious Bald Cap

It's weirdly adorable.




25. The Death of Jeff Goldblum's Cat

When Jeff Goldblum suggests a more comprehensive investigation into the death of Madame D., he's met with resistance by her family and Willem Dafoe casually throws his cat out the window. This is still somehow twee.

26. Zero's Coded Message to Agatha

In case anything should happen to him, Zero leaves Agatha a coded message to tell her the location of the hidden "Boy with Apple." Reading it requires a magnifying glass.

27. The Very Long Prison Escape Ladder

To escape from prison, Gustave, Harvey Keitel and their cohorts put together a comically long escape latter out of sheets, pillow cases, wrenches, hammers, and other various items they've hidden away while behind bars. It's how a 12-year-old boy from the 1960s would imagine a prison break.

28. The Society of the Crossed Keys

After his escape, Gustave calls upon the assistance of the Society of the Crossed Keys. One clandestine call from a pay phone sets off a chain of calls from concierge-to-concierge, ending at Bill Murray wearing the movie's most old-timey mustache.

29. The Club-Footed Sister

A relatively minor character named Serge X. goes into hiding in a monastery so as not to be killed by Willem Dafoe. He has a sister who's an even more minor character. She has a club foot, which is a very Anderson way of making a character more memorable.

30. The Monastery

Anderson gets another chance to make an adorable miniature with the monastery where Serge X is hiding with important evidence that could exonerate Gustave. While the Grand Budapest miniature comes with a funicular, this one comes with cute little cable cars that travel across an alpine canyon.

31. The Monks' Conspiracy

When Gustave gets to the monastery he has to go through a chain of monks before speaking to Serge. It's a byzantine security arrangement perfectly suited to the movie.

32. The Ski Chase 

After Willem Dafoe kills Serge, he escapes down the mountain on a pair of skis with Gustave and Zero in pursuit on a sled. The sequence is pulled together using miniatures cut into the footage, and ends in Dafoe being pushed over the edge of a cliff by Zero. After the psycho killer's death his would-be victims proceed to share a Moment of Silence to mark his passing.



33. The Tiny Mendl's Delivery Truck

When she's not making deliveries via adorable bicycle, Saoirse Ronan is using an even more adorable truck.

The Grand Budapest Hotel

34. The Pink Nazis

The made-up proto fascists of The Grand Budapest Hotel are known as the Zig-Zags, and instead of Swastikas and SS insignias, they unfurl large black-and-pink "ZZ" banners over the hotel when they take it over. Sure it makes them look less dangerous, but as we find out, they pose a serious threat to the hotel's way of life.

The Grand Budapest Hotel

35. The Shootout

The movie's climactic shootout is like Indiana Jones meets Arrested Development. It's a farce, but it also pays homage to classic adventure movies and comics like The Adventures of Tintin.



36. The Final Word on M. Gustave

Since the movie takes place years after the events of the main story, we're treated to an elderly Zero's final thoughts on the great concierge. The eulogizing words could be applied as easily to Wes Anderson as his fastidious hero.

"His world had vanished long before he ever entered it, but he certainly sustained the illusion with a remarkable grace."

37. The Dancing Guy in the Credits

There's a little animated guy in the bottom right of the screen who dances through the credits. He's delightful.
I write about movies for Zimbio.com, which means I spend way too much time thinking about the geekiest possible ways to approach the cineplex. I'm also hopelessly addicted to audio books. Follow me: Google
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