Saturday, January 21, 2006

Film Review: The Royal Tenenbaums

Okay, let's talk about The Royal Tenenbaums for a second. I just finished watching this movie for the millionth time, and it's STILL my favorite movie. I cringe every time I say that it's my favorite movie because I love so many movies, and TRT isn't as "acclaimed" as many others that I like, but in my book, you can't spend a better 110 mins. watching a movie.

Why do I like it so much? Well, I'll tell you.

1) Style. Wes Anderson's style is simply stunning. The fact that this family is "trapped" in their 70s-era heyday is ingenious. Anderson's normal cinematic choices go along so well with the visual framing, the "vintage" garb the characters wear, and the nicotine-filled culture that was the 1970s. It's fun to watch.

2) Dialogue. It's rare that a movie's words mean so much. If you think about it, why do we go see a movie? Because we like to watch (usually beautiful) people traipse around doing morally ambiguous things in a spectacular way. Well, in TRT the characters DO do all of those things, but the dialogue is so well chosen that you could take away all of the visuals for the movie, and it would still be quite funny and poignant.

3) Comedy AND Drama. Otherwise known as the "dark comedy." The first time I saw this movie was at Notre Dame, and there was a girl in the audience who would laugh raucously at EVERY--even understated--piece of light-heartedness in the film. And that's not how this film is supposed to be viewed. To get Anderson's full message, you have to see that these characters are NOT hilarious, but they're not completely pathetic either. This film is the best blend of comedy and drama I have ever seen.

4) All-Star Cast. Amazing. This is Wes Anderson's third film, and he was able to put together a cast with some of the biggest names in Hollywood. They are: Gene Hackman, Anjelica Huston, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Stiller, Luke Wilson, Owen Wilson, Danny Glover, Bill Murray, and Alec Baldwin. Enough said.

5) Quotes. This is an extremely quotable movie. And what's more, the quotes are actually significant (instead of "dude, where's my car?") Here are just a few (from IMDB):

--Raleigh: Do you have an alternate?
--Priest: No.
--Raleigh: Are there priests on call?

--Royal: Anybody interested in grabbing a couple of burgers and hittin' the cemetery?

--Eli: Well, everyone knows Custer died at Little Bighorn. What this book presupposes is... maybe he didn't.

--Richie: Did you say you were on Mescaline?
--Eli: I did indeed. Very much so.

--Royal: I'm very sorry for your loss. Your mother was a terribly attractive woman.

--Medical Student: Can the boy tell time?
--Raleigh: Oh, my Lord, no!

--Narrator: Immediately after making this statement, Royal realized that it was true.

And there you have it. Five reasons why The Royal Tenenbaums rocks the house.


Paul said...


Sue Ellen Mischke said...

i changed the header on my blog. but i don't know if i like it yet. i was able just to view the souce on your page to steal the formatting. i need to change the color of the title too.

Liss said...

Now I know why you asked me if I had read this's awesome, and I completely agree. In fact, I think I'll watch it tomorrow while I do my homework :)

Lisa said...

I LOVED this movie. It was the first "different" movie I had seen in so long, at that point--it was like an adrenaline rush just watching it.

Esbee said...

I've never seen it. :D

But I feel the same way about Get Shorty.

Bone said...

"I'm very sorry for your loss. Your mother was a terribly attractive woman."

ROFL Never seen this one, but I might have to rent it now.

And I feel the same way about Naked Gun.

"Well, when I see five weirdos dressed in togas, stabbing a man in the middle of the park in front of a full view of a hundred people, I shoot the bastards. That's my policy."

"That was a Shakesphere In The Park Production of Julius Caesar, you moron. You killed five actors!"