Movie News

MORIARTY Reviews THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS!!

Published at: Dec. 28, 2001, 9:34 a.m. CST by staff

Hey, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab.

I did something last week that I almost never do.

I went to the movies alone.

Henchman Mongo was off to the House of Blues to see Tenacious D and Naked Trucker and Spinal Tap, a birthday celebration for him. My girlfriend was busy with her sister who just came in from Argentina. Harry Lime was busy stealing toys from various donations boxes around the city. Dr. Hfhurrhurr had a late cranial screw-top scheduled. Robie was out of town. It just seemed like the right time to go see something, and when I realized THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS was playing right around the corner, I didn't hesitate. That was the film for me.

I took advantage of the trip to do a little pre-Christmas shopping at the Virgin Megastore before heading upstairs to the Sunset 5. The theater was remarkably busy considering it was a 9:40 show. Every seat was taken, and I only got a good spot because I got there early and read a magazine. By the time the trailers finished and the film began, the completely packed auditorium was hushed, ready, a tangible sense of expectation settling in.

I can understand why. BOTTLE ROCKET was a great little announcement, and I understood immediately why James L. Brooks and L. Kit Carson had taken such a shine to Wes Anderson and the Wilson brothers, Luke and Owen. There was a natural charm and wit to their work, a strong sense of character, and their voices were original. I found BOTTLE ROCKET very funny upon first viewing, but it's the film's heart that keeps me going back to it on DVD. The relationship between Anthony (Luke Wilson) and Inez (Lumi Cavazos of LIKE WATER FOR CHOCOLATE fame) is so sweet, so delicate, and so definitely the point of the film that it baffles me why you would put an image of Owen and Luke with guns on the poster. People didn't really discover BOTTLE ROCKET in its initial release, and that was a shame. It got Anderson the attention of the right people, though, because it won him the right to make RUSHMORE, a film I dearly love. As a long-suffering Bill Murray fan, always sure my idol would never get the respect he deserved, RUSHMORE felt like a vindication, proof of something I'd been saying for years. Jason Schwartzman was a discovery, a great character who looms larger the longer the film has to settle in my imagination. Max Fischer is a classic character of youth in rebellion, as iconic as Dustin Hoffman in THE GRADUATE or James Dean in REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE. After two films like that, it's no wonder people have high hopes and expectations for this new film, and it's no wonder some people walk away disappointed. They may have formed some idea of what to expect that the film doesn't live up to, or they may have wanted something other than what was made. For whatever reason, expectations seem to have confounded some reviewers on first glance, and the early word on TENENBAUMS has been mixed.

Me? I love the film.

I think it's a beautiful portrait of a family. No more, no less. It's not a film that reaches for some greater cross-cultural meaning. It's not a comedy. It's not easily summed up or defined. It is simply a series of sketches meant to capture something of the intangible madness of being a Tenenbaum.

So why this particular family? What makes them so interesting, or so worthy of discussion? Why would someone write a stylized fable about them, the kind that would live between the covers of the book we see at the very start of the film? The entire picture is narrated, read to us in the soothing tones of Alec Baldwin, ideal for this sort of assignment. This storybook tale of a family of geniuses, frustrated and interrupted by the details of their own lives, plays out with an even greater sense of heightened mise en scene than either of Anderson's previous films, and I felt that it worked. It transported me, took me to a particular version of New York, filtered through the worldview of these troubled, turbulent offspring of the one and only Royal Tenenbaum (Gene Hackman). Director of photography Robert Yeoman and production designer David Wasco have both been with Anderson from the start, and the work the three of them do togther is quite lovely, quite striking. Every inch of the frame is working together to tell the story in ROYAL TENENBAUMS. Things on shelves. Pictures on walls. The way people's clothes fit them. The debris of everyday life that is stacked up around the edges of things. It all works together to create a pervasive and persuasive reality. Wasco seems to be a real secret weapon for filmmakers. His work on this and JACKIE BROWN and the underrated TOUCH and PULP FICTION and KILLING ZOE is exemplary and deserves to make him as valuable a commodity as Anderson is.

The cast here is worthy of praise across the board, all of them doing such a wonderful job of bringing to life the quirky creations of the script, written (as always) by Wes and Owen. I wish the IMDb had the listings for the young actors who play the Tenenbaums as children, since they do such an amazing job of setting the right mood for the movie in the extending opening introductory sequence. The official site doesn't list them either, a real shame. By the time Gwenyth Paltrow shows up as Margot, Luke Wilson shows up as Richie, and Ben Stiller shows up as Chas, we already know these characters. We know what to expect from them, and the joy of the movie is watching how those expectations are both met and confounded by this family. Gene Hackman's Royal is a great creation, full of piss and vinegar in the best way, a man who doesn't mind being a sonofabitch as long as no one thinks he's an asshole, and who understands the fine distinction. Almost as enjoyable is the work done by Anjelica Huston as his long-suffering wife Etheline. Her courtship with Henry Sherman (Danny Glover, light and funny and just right) is played with a very sweet grace, and we can see what it is that would draw someone to this woman, just as we can see how hard she's worked to maintain some sanity while riding herd over as complicated a bunch of kids as can be imagined.

Luke Wilson gets stuck in crap like BLUE STREAK and LEGALLY BLONDE too often. He's a better actor than that. He and Cameron Diaz almost manage to turn CHARLIE'S ANGELS into a genuinely effective romantic comedy during their charming screentime together. Seeing his work here as Richie Tenenbaum gives me faith that he will get his turn doing great work, that he will not be overlooked. He is a visual punchline (as is everyone at first glance), always clad in his tennis gear and these huge sunglasses that hide his eyes. It's not until late in the film when he is shorn of his beard and his long hair and his sunglasses and his headband that we get a good long look into his eyes, and when we do, we see a lifetime of pain and confusion there. His work is affecting and memorable, and he deserves to be rewarded for it with better offers and better opportunities. Gwenyth Paltrow reminds us here of why she is one of the most important actors in her age group. Since her debut in FLESH & BONE, she's managed to find a strange combination of vulnerability and ice in her best roles, and Margot gives her room to play. There are a number of questions that the film leaves unanswered about her by film's end, and that is a genuine weakness of the script, but the work she does suggests deep secrets, real mystery. She makes up for what isn't there, and she almost manages to make us forget that she's underwritten. Ben Stiller's role appears underwritten until late in the film, when one single line of dialogue manages to fill in everything we need to know about why he is and what he does. It's heartbreaking, and I was pleased to see Stiller do such good work. He's in perpetual danger of being overexposed and overworked and becoming a parody of himself, but then he turns around and does something like this, something that makes me respect him and his obvious talents all over again.

There's a lot of little pleasures along the way as the film almost casually plays out. There's no great sense of urgency to things. This isn't really what I would call a propulsive narrative. Instead, it's more like a number of still lifes, all laid on top of each other and thumbed through like a flip book cartoon. Kumar Pallana as Pagoda and Bill Murray as Raleigh St. Clair both have moments where they are allowed to shine. Grant Rosenmeyer and Jonah Meyerson make me smile in every scene they have with Hackman as Ari and Uzi, the sons of Stiller's Chas. The use of music by Anderson, working once again with Mark Mothersbaugh for score and Randall Poster, a brilliant music supervisor, is once again impeccable, managing to evoke real emotional connections for me with every single cue.

And in the end, if I love RUSHMORE a little bit more, where's the harm in that? Anderson, like the Coen Bros., seems to be creating his own genre, a corner of the filmmaking world where his creations simple are, free of the typical sort of hype and nonsense that goes with a commercial career. If Anderson can keep turning out one of his burnished little gems every few years, I certainly won't complain at all, and I would welcome each fresh opportunity to see what he's been up to.

Anderson and Wilson seem to be not only paying homage to the work of J.D. Salinger, but also to the very idea of what it is that defines family here. There are any number of extraneous characters who show up in this film that aren't actually Tenenbaums, but there's no doubt that they are part of the family, part of the forces at work in each member of the family, and it's remarkable how well Anderson is able to paint the connections that keep each of these people in orbit around one another. If anything moved me, it was the palpable sense that these people are bound together, really connected.

And as I sat in that theater last week, alone in the dark, I couldn't help but think about my own family, both real and extended. And as this holiday season continues to afford me little time to actually speak to each and every person I should, let me take this space here to say how proud and happy I am to know each and every one of you, and to have you in my life. I might have been alone at the movie, but I am far from alone in the world. Los Angeles, Austin, and Tampa all feel like home to me now, and that's because I am blessed by friendship, blessed by the family that I have chosen as much as by the family that I've been given. I wish peace and joy to Junior Mintz, Lynn Bracken, Mysterio, Tom Joad, Annette Kellerman, Quint, Robogeek, El Cosmico, Den Shewman, Nick Nunziata, Garth Franklin, Dr. Hfurrhurr, James Whale and his own lovely Bride, Smilin' Jack Ruby, John Robie and Gregor Samsa, Hercules the Strong and YT. Knowles... Harry Lime... Henchman Mongo... you guys go without saying. You're my brothers. There's Sean and Aaron and Brant and Mitch and all the great people who work with them and for them. This year, there's been Leon and Larry, and who knows who next year will bring? I am blessed with a beautiful girlfriend, who brings with her an entirely new group of friends who have welcomed me with open arms. And on the other side of the country, my parents and my sister and my nephew all welcome the New Year together. And if I didn't mention you here, it's not because you aren't part of my life, part of the bizarre set of circumstances that keep life at the Labs so interesting. It just means that I'm very lucky. Anyone who is so overloaded with friends that he forgets a few when naming them is blessed indeed.

Check out THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS as it finally opens wide across the country today. Take someone close to you or go alone. Either way, open yourself up to it, and you'll be rewarded with one of the most original pleasures of the year.

"Moriarty" out.





Readers Talkback

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  • Dec. 28, 2001, 9:43 a.m. CST

    I'm talking about, putting a brick throught the other guy&#3

    by The Colonel

    Finally, Moriarty comes through with some well-done coverage of the best film of the year. That one line Stiller has redeems his entire performance and really solidifies the movie as a touching, emotioanlly resonant piece of work. The quirks do not overwhelm the heart, and the comedy is completely reinforced by the depth of feeling conveyed by the actors and the script. Wes Anderson is a genius. He has three films under his belt, each better than the last, and I for one can't wait to see his next opus. LONG LIVE KUMAR!! Read another great review of The Royal Tenenbaums at: www.filmmonthly.com

  • Dec. 28, 2001, 9:50 a.m. CST

    Dark Whimsies & Eclecticism

    by BrashHulk

    Owen & Wes are wonderfully surreal freaks, and I can't wait to see TRT. I'm growing more anxious as the days pass because a lot of the reviewers that have been posting their opinions have seemed somewhat confused, as if they can't grasp onto some sort of solid meaning. Of course, that just makes my skin tingle all the more, since they said the same things about "Bottle Rocket" and "Rushmore" and I loved both of them. Keep it unreal, guys.

  • Dec. 28, 2001, 9:59 a.m. CST

    Great movie, but NOT a comedy

    by Goonie

    This film was much stranger than Rushmore--it is slow and deliberate, although many things transpire. Don't go into this expecting a comedy, for while it is quite funny at times, it is also very very sad throughout. Moriarity is right, Wes Anderson is carving his own niche.

  • Dec. 28, 2001, 10:05 a.m. CST

    ah, you yanks

    by bluemartini

    What's the deal with Yanks and bloody Salinger? Cmon, "Attley boy" blah blah, "Man I hate that" blah blah "Look at my freakin stupid hat" blah blah "Where do the ducks go" blah blah. Is it that yu identify with Holden's anger simply because you get so pissed off reading the shit??? Anyway, good review. I know when I am reading of Moriaty (spell?) that it least wont be complete shit... (except for his love of 2001, ET and now Salinger)

  • Dec. 28, 2001, 10:19 a.m. CST

    Salinger

    by drew mcweeny

    Um, Bluemartini, I don't recall ranting and raving about any great love of Salinger. I just mentioned that this is an obvious homage to the short stories he wrote about the Glass family, something that's apparent if you've ever read them. I also don't recall ever saying that I loved E.T., something else you seem to be holding against me. That was about my 15th favorite film of 1982, so you can let it go now, okay?

  • Dec. 28, 2001, 10:28 a.m. CST

    the best afterrnoon of my adult life

    by head_hunter

    was spent watching this wonderful film at Tara in ATL. Although I found this venture to differ greatly from Rushmore, the two seem to go astoundingly well together, like PB and chocolate. I was particularly impressed by Anderson's use of costume as uniform, and ongoing theme in his films. I strongly urge those who feel a little low in the holiday season to see this, right now. I left the theater with a very warm feeling, and it lifted my mood for the rest day.

  • Dec. 28, 2001, 10:28 a.m. CST

    perhaps

    by bluemartini

    perhaps I placed the emphasis in the wrong place... I have read the book in question several times in the vain attempt to find this "classic quality" to it. As is now evidenced this dire search has reduced to to using talkbacks that make a mere mention of it to find the meaning... as for ET, (I could be wrong - and probably am) but didn't you include ET amoungst your best 10 when reviewing LOTR (as I write this I have a feeling it could be someone else.. Harry? (I have yet to figure out how to search for the old articles)) So as I have basically talked myself into beleiving it was someone else I apologise in advance (unless I am wrong, in that case, toldya so). Apologies should also be extened to fellow talkbackers, it would seem that due to the unfreezing process I have no internal monolgue... did I write that all down

  • Dec. 28, 2001, 10:36 a.m. CST

    Salinger II

    by drew mcweeny

    And I'm saying, Bluemartini, that no one even brought up CATCHER IN THE RYE, the book you're referring to. Salinger did write other work, you know. Again, no one called it "classic." That was something you immediately leapt to when attacking us "yanks." And I did not include E.T. on my 10 best list. I'm not that big a fan of the movie. Sorry.

  • Dec. 28, 2001, 10:38 a.m. CST

    Rushmore rules.

    by DannyOcean01

    These are my work scrubs. Oh are they really? BBWWWWWWWAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHAHAHHHHHHHHH (By the way I know the first line is slightly wrong.)

  • Dec. 28, 2001, 10:44 a.m. CST

    Super Movie

    by mirant

    TRT had this easy flow to it, moving from scene to scene. Nothing was rushed. And even though there are a lot of characters, i got a good feel for all of them. Luke Wilson, shaved or not, has this worn out look to himself, which made the film more melancholy, though he also had some of the funniest scenes, especially while playing tennis. And how 'bout Hackman, he's been a busy boy this year. Him and Blanchette should take a year off together, they need it after all this.

  • Dec. 28, 2001, 10:45 a.m. CST

    Catcher in the Rye

    by The Colonel

    Not to start an argument or anything, but The Catcher in the Rye IS a classic. And so are Rusmore and The Royal Tenenbaums. Yes, I'm making the "classic" call now. It's all good. "Can he tell time?" "Oh Lord no!"

  • Dec. 28, 2001, 10:53 a.m. CST

    ok so

    by bluemartini

    so the ET thing is settled, it wasn't you... and in fact I am glad that it wasn't. I am saying however that given that no particular Salinger work was mentioned, the natural assumption goes to CITR as it is the one everyone craps on about. Furthermore, the point is not that you were gushing over it, (as the one sentence obviously was not) rather that, in general Americans (yanks not Moriartys) have an unnatural fixation with the writer/book and I am at a loss to see why. As explained, I saw my opporunity for an explanation and I jumped.

  • Dec. 28, 2001, 10:56 a.m. CST

    The colonel...

    by bluemartini

    care to eloborate, I really am interested to know the attraction.

  • Dec. 28, 2001, 11:08 a.m. CST

    Bluemartini

    by The Colonel

    Well, I'm no expert and I haven't read the book in some years, but I have been planning on picking it up again for a while now. It's just a very real, very relatable story detailing one young guy's displeasure with the world, but really with himself. It's funny as hell, and as a teenager it really speaks to the feeling of, I dunno, ennui and alienation that are part and parcel with figuring out who you are and how the world works. The main character is a jerk but he has his reasons and his "I know everything and everything sucks" attitude is something that I think every teenager can relate to. It's a very easy book to read, almost conversational, but it really captures the feelings of the character, and in my case, they are feelings that I could relate to. That being said, I do think it's a very American book, and it is best suited to teenagers - not because of a lack of sophistication, but because the ideas and emotions expressed throughout are hallmarks of adolescense. Holden is just trying to figure things out. I'm not saying it's the best book ever written, and it's not my favorite, but I enjoyed it very much when I read it, and I remember it fondly.

  • Dec. 28, 2001, 11:19 a.m. CST

    off the topic still

    by bluemartini

    yeah... that's generally the response I get. I think that like most hyped-beyond-belief things (FOTR anyone), it's hard not to go in and experience at least some feelings of disappointment. Unfortunatly in this case they were very strong feelings. I just didn't see the story going anywhere (school, city, club, home etc - with no underlying purpose) and an awful lot of complaining and whinging. ("jeez that cracked me up... I hate that kinda stuff... I hated him, but he was ok I guess")Hmmf anyway....

  • Dec. 28, 2001, 11:24 a.m. CST

    More Catcher

    by The Colonel

    I see what you mean, hype can be deadly. But one of the reasons I think it gets so hyped is that in high school and etc. you always have to read so-called classic literature that can be dense and dry as hell, and then, finally, you get to a "classic" like Catcher, or The Great Gatsby, and they are easier to read and are entertaining, so teenagers become attached to them. Great books, both, but their accessibility surely plays a part in their reputations. I also think Catcher is funny as hell, but if you don't like the main character's voice, then it can be a struggle. So where are you from? England? What books are the big deals over there? And, by the way, Moriarty is right in comparing Salinger's style, his short stories and etc, to The Royal Tenenbaums. Best movie of the year, too.

  • Dec. 28, 2001, 11:35 a.m. CST

    good point

    by bluemartini

    I take your point about school texts... probably goes part way to explaining it... You just get over-whelmed - I mean they talked about it in Ed (tv not Le Blanc), Pleasantville, Shoeless Joe (Field of dreams book) etc. Even Forrester was based on him... Obviously loses something in the journey across the Pacific (I am Australian). For me, Scott Smith (A simple plan) Palahnuik (Fight Club) Grant Naylor (Red Dwarf) and Robert Ranking (any) are some of the best authors around, mind you, they are writing now, not 50 years ago.. not quite classics yet

  • Dec. 28, 2001, 11:38 a.m. CST

    Meet my boyfriend....he's very oral

    by Girl 85

    I hate how everybody on here always has to start an article by offhandedly braging about having a girlfriend or boyfriend or wife or whatever. It's almost like we're trying to talk ourselves out of being pathetic.

  • Dec. 28, 2001, 11:39 a.m. CST

    Books

    by The Colonel

    I never read Simple Plan. tho I hear it's great. The movie is great. I read Fight Club and Survivor, and while I like a lot of Pahlaniuk's (sp?) ideas, his writing style gets to me a bit. I am a big fan of The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand, and Atlas Shrugged by the same. Contemporary books? Good ones are harder to come by, tho I recently read The Toy Collector, which shares some similarities with Catcher, and I loved it. But yeah, Catcher is very American.

  • Dec. 28, 2001, 11:48 a.m. CST

    Girl 85 - RIGHT ON!

    by The Colonel

    I totally, 100% percent agree with you. Especially in Harry's case, when he drops the word "kitten" around left and right. We believe you Harry, now SHUT THE FUCK UP!

  • Dec. 28, 2001, 11:49 a.m. CST

    BOO HOO DREW!

    by The Tao of Joe

    So you went to the movies by yourself. BFD man. I always go to the movies by myself. Just be glad that you are surrounded by a cast of characters who actually have the nerve to see more movies than their televisions demand that they do. Here, in raleigh nc, I am surrounded by cretins who dont like weird movies. But of those who say they like weird movies (which is really not true, they just enjoy the stuff that miramax puts in the local arty theaters in town), they will not occompany me to see movies such as LOTR and Harry Potter. I always see movies alone. Thats just how it is, and always will be I am afraid. So from the man who sits alone in a darkned room watching movies to the man who gets to go with a wide cast of friends who enjoy a wide variety of films, COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS!!!!

  • Dec. 28, 2001, 11:51 a.m. CST

    palahnuik

    by bluemartini

    I literally started reading survivor tonight, I know what you mean... testing one two three etc.

  • Dec. 28, 2001, 11:53 a.m. CST

    Brilliant movie

    by atomic-bananas

    I have seen this movie twice already, and I can't begin to talk about how brilliant it is. I really liked Bottle Rocket, and Rushmore is one of my all time favorites, so yeah I had high expectations. When I came out of the theater on Friday, I thought "this is pretty good!" But I didn't think it was brilliant. I do now, though. A funny thing happened- the same thing that happened when I watched Rushmore for the first time. I liked it, but I slowly started to "get" the jokes, days after I saw the movie. This movie has plenty of those, and by Saturday night I couldnt wait to see it again. There are just so many wonderful moments in this movie, I cant begin to start talking about them, you will just have to see for yourself. I finally saw the movie a second time on Wednesday, and I laughed the entire way through. Its interesting, though- after that second viewing, I am not really thinking about the jokes so much as the pathos. It has a very sad and melancholy undertone, and while I first thought the suicide scene was kind of funny, I now realize how tragic it is. Well anyway, thats what I think. By the way- if you want an idea of how richly detailed this movie is, look at the credits on IMDB. Notice that Olivia Williams, Miss Cross from Rushmore, is listed as Eli Cash's wife (Owen Wilson). She doesnt appear in the movie, though, right? Well if anyone has watched the criterion collection dvd of Rushmore, they will remember that Owen Wilson plays the part of Edward Appleby, Miss Cross's deceased husband. You can see old pictures of Owen in Edwards room. I think its really clever and a nice touch that they did that for Olivia Williams. Eli's wife is not mentioned in the movie, but I bet if you look very closely, in his apartment, you will see a picture of her somewhere. I didnt see it the first two times, but I have a hunch its there. Look for it!

  • Dec. 28, 2001, 12:05 p.m. CST

    Does the film have Hobbits in it?

    by Hate_Speech

    If it's got HObbits, I'll pay to see it, but if there are Ewoks and muppets in it, you can forget it! I've met Gene Hackman. Nice guy.

  • Dec. 28, 2001, 12:12 p.m. CST

    My Four Star Review of Royal Tenenbaums

    by Xocxoc

    From the makers of Rushmore comes another quirky deadpan strange family comedy/drama. It is about three genius kids who peaked way too early, played by Gwyneth Paltrow (Shallow Hal), Luke Wilson (Legally Blonde) and Ben Stiller (Zoolander). Their estranged father Royal, played by Gene Hackman (Behind Enemy Lines), is dying, and wants to spend some quality time with his children. The relationships are strangely complicated, and nothing is as it seems. Some may not get this movie on first viewing, at least two major critics say the movie is better the second time after you are already familiar with the goofy plot twists. It is, however, one of the more original comedies of the year (second only to Am

  • Dec. 28, 2001, 12:14 p.m. CST

    Great review at: www.filmmonthly.com

    by The Colonel

    Best movie of the year, hobbits be damned!

  • Dec. 28, 2001, 2:42 p.m. CST

    Salinger

    by DarthSatyr

    Can't wait to see this movie. I find that I really enjoyed Bottle Rocket but didn't care so much for Rushmore. So I'm still a bit on the fence on Wes Anderson, but I want to believe, oh yes, I want to believe... I too am one of the unfortunates that must see the movie alone. The wifey doesn't want to see it and my pals want to see LOTR again. Drat!!//RE: Bluemartini and The Colonel. Interesting and reasonable discussion on your differences over Catcher. It is almost shocking to see a civil discussion take place in these Talkbacks. And just for the record, I would echoe The Colonel's thoughts on the book. Read it in highschool where it had a much larger impact than a recent re-reading of it. I guess I can still appreciate it for what it is.

  • Dec. 28, 2001, 4:50 p.m. CST

    Is the young Chas a Savage?

    by Kiyone

    Is the young Chas played by a Savage or from someone related to the Hollywood Savages? From what I've seen of him in the trailers, he looks quite a bit like Fred Savage circa BOY WHO COULD FLY. As Moriarty says, the actor for the young Chas isn't listed at Imdb.com (though the actor for the young Richie, Amadeo Turturro -any relation to John?-, is), and I live in Montreal where the film doesn't open until January (at the earliest), so I can't check the credits. BTW, are there any sites that give away all of the spoilers? None of the Spolier sites listed at Yahoo have THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS listed yet. Although I am really looking forward to the film, there are a couple of things alluded to in reviews I've read that I'd rather know everything about now than wait to see the film myself.

  • Dec. 28, 2001, 5:05 p.m. CST

    A Royal Welcome.

    by rabid_republican

    Moriarty gives a well ballanced and in depth review to Wes Anderson's most ambitious effort to date. Given that this review, like many others doesn't allow a Sallinger comparison to escape, it has pretty much sealed my need to see this flick. It's next on my list.

  • Dec. 28, 2001, 5:10 p.m. CST

    Hurray!!!!

    by InTheBackRow

    Wow it must be the Holiday spirit or something but this TB is actually civil and intelligent. :::happy dance::: Anywho, just started to learn of this film and have to say my interest is piqued. My film tastes run the gamut but I do always love the offbeat quirky ones and TRT seems to fit the bill. Never even put together the Wilson brothers were well brothers(not exactly an uncommon name). Me and MY GIRLFRIEND(sorry...sorry, just couldn't resist that one way tooo easy) are gonna see it soon. On to this sidebar discussion, I have to agree with both sides, Salinger...well he's not bad but I don't really see what ALL of the hubub is about. Definitly one of the better asigned readings but that REALLY doesn't say much compared to what was assigned. NOW BLUE MARTINI...RED DWARF RULESSSSSSS!!!!!! Seriously anybody who likes sci-fi or more specifically HitchHiker's Guide YOU GOTTA CHECK THIS BOOK OUT! Throw all classic sci-fi into a blender with all the Monty Python works and hit puree. Then dig in and enjoy!!!

  • Dec. 28, 2001, 5:40 p.m. CST

    Civility

    by The Colonel

    Well, I don't really ever post here, but I have perused the boards in the past, and yeah, this is a particularly civil one. I think that's a testament to the people taking part, which would seem to point to the people who are fans of Wes Anderson. Maybe that's wishful thinking, but methinks if this was a LOTR thread, all hell would have broken loose. Besides, as far as I've seen, Moriarty has the most intelligent, temperate opinions of the lot at AICN, and it'd be a shame to bring one of his articles down to the common fanboy level of bitching. Bottom line? Catcher in the Rye, while not everyone's cup of tea, is a mighty fine read and deserving of at least half of it's praise, which is not to demean anyone else's preferences...there are different books for everybody. I did enjoy Hitchhiker's when I read it years ago, maybe I'll pick it up again. Absolute bottom line? The Royal Tenebaums is the BEST movie of the year.

  • Dec. 28, 2001, 6:01 p.m. CST

    you ain't alone man.

    by stuntrocker

    I can't wait to see this movie but my sweetie is in OK all week. She's got her Ten's and I got my Ten's visitin here in Austin. Is it possible for Hackman to win the Oscar for that little laugh he does in the trailer? It's awesome.

  • Dec. 28, 2001, 8:28 p.m. CST

    Old Custer

    by atomic-bananas

    Now everyone knows that Custer died at the battle of Little Big Horn. What this book presupposes is......maybe he didn't? Hey, there is a dent in this car! Wait, there are several! Can he tell time? Oh Lord, No! Brilliant.

  • Dec. 29, 2001, 12:06 a.m. CST

    To correct a few misunderstandings ...

    by HallowedBThyName

    Catcher in the Rye IS a classic, in fact the most influential book of the 20th Century. And ET is the greatest movie ever made. And all.

  • Dec. 29, 2001, 12:41 a.m. CST

    Royal...whatever

    by TisketMaster

    I'm sorry, but this Royal Tenenbaums movie just wasn't that great. I mean, my opinion is pretty damned important, you know, and I say it was just 'alright,' not great. The editing was so choppy and you get no sense of the passage of time....unless you count the fact that the characters do age...and that they talk about it...and...well, the editing was just too chopped to call this a "really good" movie. At least Lucas knows how to direct family scenes (ie, Luke and Leia on the Ewok bridge) from a distance, so you can actually see the emotions play out. And there's only so much "dinner talk" a person can stand. It's like HELLO, after the first few references to the crazy feller I get the point, OKAY? I get it, he's nuts! Enough. As for the characters, there were just way to many kids. It really crowded the movie. If a director can't handle an ensemble cast, he needs to limit the ambitiousness of his script to something that he CAN handle. Dammit, the more I think about it, the more I hate this movie...and yes, I'm being a stupid, asinine, childish, inconsiderate, little prick with no understanding of subtlety. (As long as I realize it, right?) >>>>>>>>>>>>>PS-Is that how you spell subtlety? It's never looked right to me.

  • Dec. 29, 2001, 5:13 a.m. CST

    Salinger, Tenenbaums, etc.

    by Lazarus Long

    I'd like to clear up this Saligner thing for y'all. When Moriarty compared Tenebaums to some of Salinger's creations, he was referring to the infamous "Glass Family" found in Salinger's books Franny and Zooey & Raise High The Roofbeams, Carpenters/Seymour-An Introduction. So it really has nothing to do with Catcher in the Rye. And while I'm not going to angrily defend or pretentiously pan Catcher, I will say that I liked it much better on a recent re-read, yet it is clearly the weakest of Salinger's four published books (it's also his first, and any artist whose first work is his best isn't much of an artist). Nine Stories I will be buried with, and the aformentioned Glass Family stuff is so much more moving and eye opening. Catcher was just ballsy for its time, and spoke to a generation. You can say The Graduate is dated and immature, but that doesn't change the fact that for 1967 it was an daring and original piece of work. *** As for Royal Tenenbaums, I agree with Moriarty that "I loved it slightly less than Rushmore, but there's nothing wrong with that." I didn't have a dysfunctional family of geniuses (I was the only one--HA!), and being an only child who lost his mother fairly early, I related more to Max's lonely and ambitious imagination. Not getting the girl I wanted and losing her to a friend was another one that hit home. Besides, no ending will ever top the slo-mo dance to the Faces' Ooh La La. Being disappointed in Royal Tenenbaums is like being disappointed by Magnificent Ambersons. It ain't Kane, but it's as close as anyone's going to get to it (although some believe Amberson's missing footage would have put it above Kane, but you get the point, right geeks?). *** Oh, one more thing on Salinger: any artist who has that great of a gift to touch and enlighten people and chooses to hoard his art is a fucking douchebag. You have a duty to humanity to share your creation, and it's a pathetic individual who is so afraid of attention or criticism that he won't publish while still alive.

  • Dec. 29, 2001, 5:24 a.m. CST

    lazurus long

    by iihito

    so does that mean that you think that the rolling stones owe it to humanity to keep on putting out cds and touring? perhaps salinger really just dried up. i don't see any point getting angry with an artist for not releasing their work. frustrated for them, perhaps, but not angry.

  • Dec. 29, 2001, 9:50 a.m. CST

    On ROYAL TENENBAUMS and J.D. Salinger...

    by Nordling

    I thought the film nailed how families almost have their own language, and sometime's you're just not let in if you're outside of them. I thought it was a fine film, my 2nd favorite of the year. Can't wait to see it again, if only I can get over my LOTR fixation...as for J.D. Salinger...I've read many books in my life. Some of them just rang my chime (LOTR, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD) and some did not. CATCHER IN THE RYE never really captured me. It was from a different time, and sorry, Holden Caulfield is such a pessimist that I just simply couldn't relate to that. But for Salinger to not publish anything he's written for years smacks of cowardice. People may see it differently, but I don't write to keep it inside. I want to be read. If Salinger did it for you, I'm happy. Didn't for me. But I think it's sad that he won't share. Why write if you don't want to be read? I don't udnerstand that.

  • Dec. 29, 2001, 1:23 p.m. CST

    THAT ONE LINE...

    by Ipsifendus

    Moriarty's right...Stiller's line really provides this movie's climax. And his delivery is perfect. He comes across as guy who's angry and sad, and so uncomfortable with admitting it that when the emotions get strong enough to require vocalizing, he's even MORE angry and said because his own rules of personal behavior are being undermined. And in front of the guy who made him such an emotional cripple, no less. He says the words like they're strangling him on the way out. I had no idea that Stiller could actually, y'know, ACT.

  • Dec. 29, 2001, 2:28 p.m. CST

    more...

    by Lazarus Long

    As for the above Rolling Stones, analogy, the difference is that Salinger published four (short) books over ten years, and then quit. While the Stones should also have quit after 10 years (after Exile on Main Street), they released a hell of a lot more material. And I slightly disagree with you, Nordling: I don't think writing means you necessarily want to be read. I think some people just NEED to write, or paint, or whatever. But I do agree that it is cowardice. From a documentary I've seen (as well as write-ups on his daughter's memoirs), the guy is pretty neurotic, to put it lightly (think Howard Hughes and urine jars). But that doesn't excuse not sharing something which clearly affected so many people. Also Nordling, you might want to try reading Nine Stories and give Salinger another chance. All unique, all brilliant.

  • Dec. 29, 2001, 7:49 p.m. CST

    As long as we're off topic....

    by abcdefz1

    I think "Raise High The Roofbeams, Carpenters" is one of the best short stories (or novellas, depending on your pov) I've ever read. It's so hilarrious -- would make a great movie. Imagine if Preston Sturges had adapted it... oh my God...

  • Dec. 29, 2001, 11:09 p.m. CST

    Crap year for movies

    by MCVamp

    But it still doesn't take away from me thinking that Royal Tenenbaums is the best movie I've seen this year. Dig the Baumer wristbands.

  • Dec. 30, 2001, 12:28 a.m. CST

    Precious....Absolutely Precious

    by Barbarino

    The Royal Tenenbaums turned out to be so much more than I expected. It doesn't really fit into a category - and that's what makes it unique. Hackman is PERFECTION. The other characters are wonderful. There were a few times when I laughed out loud, but mostly I was laughing inside. And it felt great. This is the most enjoyable and fulfilling movie I can remember in a long time. I can't wait to see it again.

  • Dec. 30, 2001, 6:14 a.m. CST

    "who was that man."-KUMAR

    by DropKickMurphy

    "that's APPLE JACK!" ...man I loved that scene in BOTTLE ROCKET. Can't wait for TRT should be great. Good review Mr Wing Dings Moriarty,as usual you provide a good read. "Man how did an asshole like Bob end up with such a nice kitchen?"-Dignan

  • Dec. 30, 2001, 2:13 p.m. CST

    Favorite Anderson/Wilson dialogue...

    by JQuintana

    1. - "Don't pay any attention to that guy! Did you see what he was wearing?" - "Yeah...it was pretty cool." 2. - "Kumar, what the hell where you doing out there in the freezer?!" - "I don't know, man, I lose my touch, man." - "Did you ever have a touch to lose, man!??" 3. - "I like your nurses uniform, guy." - "These are O.R. scrubs." - "Oh are they?" 4. - "Dignan, why are you wearing a band aid on your nose?" - "Exactly!" 5. - "So you were in Vietnam?" - "Yeah, I was in Vietnam." - "Were you in the shit?" - "Yeah, I was in the shit."

  • Dec. 30, 2001, 2:34 p.m. CST

    Ryden and French Connection References

    by BranMakMorn

    The young actress playing Gwyneth's character as a girl was straight out of a Ryden paintimg- Brilliant. The scene under the train rails with Hackman and the two Stiller boys revisits the classic French Connection chase scene with an Anderson twist!

  • Dec. 30, 2001, 5:17 p.m. CST

    Hey JQuintana...

    by DropKickMurphy

    Preach on with more of those quotes...they were damn good. "Are you in the army?" "No I just have short hair."-Dignan

  • Dec. 30, 2001, 6:23 p.m. CST

    Shade, I can't speak for Moriarty, but as a guy who is curre

    by LlGHTST0RMER

    ...I can say that telling everyone 50,000 times about her isn't even nearly enough. ;-)

  • Dec. 30, 2001, 6:37 p.m. CST

    Laz, are you serious?

    by LlGHTST0RMER

    "Any artist who has that great of a gift to touch and enlighten people and chooses to hoard his art is a fucking douchebag. You have a duty to humanity to share your creation, and it's a pathetic individual who is so afraid of attention or criticism that he won't publish while still alive." Oh come on, man. That's harsh. Not to sound too flighty, but art as a form of self-expression is inherently personal and sometimes painful for the artist. You can't just demand that someone shares with the world every single thing they write or paint or create in whatever way. True, it's too bad that someone so talented keeps to himself some excellent work, but it's not up to the world to have that work shared, it's up to the artist. I could see it might be different if it was something like an independent film, for example, where numerous people are involved in its creation and everyone has something in it they want to show the world, but the director won't release it. That's different; that's collaborative. But writing... I'd have to say it's all up to the author. Do you really think "the people" are entitled to all of a writer's work?

  • What the fuck, you guys? I ain't seen my old man since I got him the X-Box for X-Mas, and I'm glad! Glad I tells ya! If I ever get to be single again I'll get a shack in the woods and dictate rambling letters of disapproval to various publications and television studios while masterbating with one hand and playing Silent Hill 2 with the other. Sheesh! Everything I ever needed to know about relationships I learned from Al Bundy.

  • Dec. 31, 2001, 1:23 a.m. CST

    New to Wes

    by muskrat

    I'll have to admit to TRR being my first -- but now not my last -- Wes Anderson film. Perhaps because of that, it took me a while to adjust to his rhythm. During that time, I wasn't sure that I liked the film, having been attracted by the premise, cast and trailer. Eventually, I started catching on, and not only did I enjoy it more as it wore on, I'm looking forward to a second visit. FWIW, that was pretty much my reaction of AI: Artificial Intelligence. But in both cases, the rewards far and away justified the effort.

  • Dec. 31, 2001, 1:26 a.m. CST

    New to Wes correction

    by muskrat

    That's "TRT," of course. Sorry.

  • Dec. 31, 2001, 1:27 p.m. CST

    Mordachi

    by MonkeyKungFu

    Slight Spoilers so don't read if you don't want anything spoiled:************************************************************I love the layers of this movie and how with each viewing of it is like a new viewing as I constantly see things in the plot, in characters, in settings... and even sounds I hadn't noticed before. In my 2nd viewing I caught something very cool but very subtle in the movie that many have missed... when Richie (Luke Wilson) is going to Eli's (Owen Wilson) house for the first time when he goes to the door off to the distance very quitely you can hear the bird sounds of Mordachi (however you spell that) and it is so faint that in certain theaters you may not even be able to hear it. Richie stops and turns his head back when the bird noises are made off in the distant (very briefly) and Richie looks up slightly confused as if to say "was that mordachi??... did I just hear what I think I heard.... no couldn't be." Throughout the rest of the movie from time to time during Richie's outdoor scenes there are some other slight bird noises so Mordachi basically follows Richie like some sort of bird angel. Another interesting thing to note about Eli is during the flashback scene when Chas (gets shot in the hand), Eli is running around w/ the face paint on. Another kinda interesting thing is that Richie's car toys show up quite a bit in the movie in his scenes... and also interesting to note that almost all of his childhood paintings are of Margot (Gwyneth Paltrow). I love the scene when Danny Glover proposes to Anjelica Huston and in the background through the window outside u can see Pagoda appearing to be caught up in what he is doing w/ headphones on... yet when Danny Glover asks Anjelica to marry him... Pagoda immediately takes his headphones off and looks inside in disbelief.

  • Jan. 2, 2002, 2:03 p.m. CST

    This movie sucks. LOTR was better

    by Hugh G Cox

  • Jan. 11, 2002, 5:25 a.m. CST

    T-Baum!

    by stuntrocker

    I got to see this with Annette and I want to see it again. I like it a whole lot. It's a fantasy. Hackman plays a dad who doesn't fade away.... If anyone says anything else about anyone being underwritten I'm gonna have a T-Baum meltdown. They're just stars takin one for the team. Need to see more of that.

  • July 9, 2008, 3:58 p.m. CST

    This movie rules.

    by DarthCorleone

    And it's node # 11111. Strange.

  • Aug. 23, 2010, 1:08 p.m. CST

    that is strange

    by just pillow talk

    So strange, that it's...not.

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