Thursday, October 18, 2007


A few nights ago, ENB met me at closing time and we began riding home down Liberty. Between Division and Thompson, Wes Anderson and Jason Schwartzman were walking toward the theater. We were pretty excited so we spun around and approached them. They introduced themselves, shook our hands, and complimented us both (Wes liked my track jacket and called Erin's bike a "classic". Schwartzman said, "Yeah, classic! You're looking good on that bike." Hilarious.). They were both of smaller frames than I imagined, dressed nicely, and had excellent

ENB was wired for the rest of the ride home so we decided to watch The Royal Tenenbaums back at the house. The majority of it was very enjoyable but parts still felt... not as much precious as trite, I suppose. It still cracks me up when I think of RDS's parents going on and on about how "weird" Rushmore is. Then again, they had a sticker on their front door of George Bush hangin' with George Washington at what looked like a séance with the inscription "National Prayer Team". They were weird, not Rushmore.

I'd almost completely forgotten about the Tenenbaums scene in which the scope of Margot's infidelity becomes clear. Almost every male I know commented that they felt ill during the montage, which seemed like the most obvious and astoundingly stupid thing a male could say.
Perhaps I don't exactly relate.

A preceding scene certainly had more of an effect on me: Eli's dumping of Margot in broad daylight on an overpass walkway. It's fairly short and the emotions of the scene are stunted, but the cold of the city day is very apparent--all that cold, emotionless concrete. After one of the very first screenings of The Royal Tenenbaums, a life-long New York resident told Anderson he'd made the city look beautiful. This was very recently post-9/11, and while I don't completely disagree with him (being only an occasional traveler to NYC), this scene was almost enough to leave me cold for the entire movie. It was most likely Anderson's intention to match the setting to the mood as he has in other films but it's a relatively subtle part of his filmmaking and went beyond being simply a cinematic concept for myself.

Bottle Rocket and Rushmore both had excellent soundtracks and scores, and impeccable placement. The Royal Tenenbaums, on the other hand, had a fair share of duds and bad cues among some of Mothersbaugh's most arresting numbers ("111 Archer Avenue" & "Sonata For Cello and Piano in F Minor" being the gems). To nitpick, I would've scrapped "Scrapping and Yelling" from its scene, moved John Lennon's "Look At Me" to the end of the scene when Chas and the boys bed down for the first night back at the Tenenbaum house, and raised the volume on Dylan's "Wigwam" and cut the audio upon Henry & Ethel's kiss.

While watching Tenenbaums, I wanted to pay attention to the positives of the film. While I laughed hard at a few scenes and was close to tears during others, the ending betrayed the excellent 30 or so minutes ahead of it (from just before Richie's suicide attempt to just before the fumbled wedding). It's during those last 15 minutes or so that it becomes a bit more of a trite and obvious mess. At the very least, I still consider Anderson an auteur and imagine his body of work will one day be a bit of a juggernaut. Still, I'm holding out for the day he begins working more like one of his influences and starts taking more chances, making shorts, and perhaps even working with less. If he cut the nice cameras, the ensemble casts, and pageantry, he'd still come up with something worthwhile and interesting. But I may be in the minority here.

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