The Snook and I finally saw The Royal Tenenbaums tonight. I didn’t like it as much as Ebert did. I seriously think I might have liked it more if every single actor in it hadn’t been so recognizable. Instead it was a steady stream of “Look at Gwyneth Paltrow being so un-Gwyneth Paltrow-like!” and “Gee, isn’t if funny how Ben Stiller keeps wearing the same tracksuit?” Their characters were based on costumes and gimmicks, and I couldn’t find a single person to like or identify with. I also have a history of not liking movies without plots (and this one didn’t have much of one). If any of you really liked it, can you explain why?

(Clarification: I’m not saying I didn’t like it. It was entertaining. It wasn’t my favorite movie of the year, though, and I think I only laughed out loud maybe once, as opposed to the guy behind me who guffawed all the way through it. What did he get that I didn’t get??)


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  1. i’m right there with ya on that one. i think all the hype ruined ir for me, that and the fact that i kept comparing it to rushmore and being disappointed.

    have you seen rushmore? much more character development, fewer recognizable actors (with the exception of bill murray), and a great plot.

    best. movie. ever. 😉 too bad jason schwartzman’s follow-up (Slackers) looked like a load of poo.

  2. I felt the same way, although I really liked the song use/placement throughout the movie. Plus, I do love Gene Hackman.

  3. Not my favorite either; it was like was watching aquarium fish: interesting to look at, but no real connection with any of the characters. Time to watch Rushmore again!

  4. Boy, I liked it. But, Howie, I understand where you are coming from- it was camp, disguised as drama/back-comedy. Therefore, it gained a lot of audience that would never admit they enjoyed camp. I think I also enjoyed it because I saw it the night it came out (no hype) and I really prepared myself for Rushmore-esque stuff. Plus, the costuming thing- yes, they did depend on it a bunch, but I think that was part of the movie that was really funny. Instead of hiding behind costuming and not admitting how much of a role it plays, they just put it all out there like, “He’s got an Indian fetish”, etc. Camp. High camp.

  5. I agree with the “music was good” comment. I loved the sequence with “Me and Julio”. No complaints there. Well, except a tiny niggling film student one. During the whole beginning of the movie, the music was non-diegetic (meaning it wasn’t actually playing in “their” world). Then suddenly towards the end every song got diegetic, and you’d be hearing one and then Gwyneth would turn off the record player and it would stop. It was very inconsistent and I noticed it. (Now you all think I’m the biggest film nerd since Dawson.)

    I liked Rushmore a lot more. And you’re right, a lot of it had to do with not knowing most of the actors. I’ve only seen it like once. I need to watch it again.

    One thing that also struck me about “Tenenbaums” was that the movie was EXACTLY what you’d expect from the trailer. 99 times out of 100, you realize that the trailer has all the best bits from the movie and the actual film ends up nothing like you expect (i.e. “Star Wars Episode 1”). But with “Tenenbaums”, there wasn’t a single surprise that I couldn’t have predicted based on the trailers and posters. It’s like, if the movie works so well in a two minute format, stretching it out to two hours might not be the best idea. I had the constant feeling that I was watching something that they all had a blast doing and that everybody thought was so clever, but that eventually nobody outside the group gets it as well as they do. It’s like trying to explain an inside joke.

    TD – I see what you’re saying, but the funny costume bits were ALL that the characters had. I mean, “He’s got an Indian fetish” was that character’s ENTIRE development. Oh, and he used drugs. The one nice moment he had was when he admitted that he’d always wanted to be a Tenenbaum. I would’ve liked the film a lot more if A) you could’ve seen that in any of his previous actions (aside from sending Etheline his report cards), or B) there was a compelling reason WHY he wanted to be a Tenenbaum. I mean, they weren’t a big happy family. Why in the world did he want to be one of those freaks? And while I’m on that subject, why the hell was everybody falling in love with Margot? That was completely unbelievable.

    Whew. Rant over. 🙂

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