The Royal Tenenbaums

“In fact virtually all memory of the brilliance of the young Tenenbaums had been erased by two decades of betrayal, failure and disaster.”
But there’s always chance for redemption in The Royal Tenenbaums.
I recently purchased The Criterion Collection DVD of the film, thanks to a super sale at Barnes and Noble, and needed to revisit it as research for an upcoming costume-related holiday.
Research purposes or not, this is one of my favorite movies to watch.
It’s individualistic and quirky mixed in with a dose of sad and happy. I especially enjoy that it’s a film where the actors play roles you’ve never seen them in before and never will again. Especially Gene Hackman, who plays the self-described asshole Royal Tenenbaum. (If you haven’t seen it, don’t worry, he grows on you).
“You know who I am, I’m Royal. Have you heard of me?”
Royal visits his family for the first time in 17 years to share the news that he is sick with stomach cancer. While of course that doesn’t go well, eventually his presence brings peace to the Tenenbaums and he makes up for his past mistakes, which is what he set out to do in the first place.
Usually I don’t watch the special features with any DVD, but with the opportunity to have more of a glimpse into Wes Anderson’s mind, I just might. He wrote in an enclosure with the DVD that The Royal Tenenbaums contains more unnecessary visual detail than his other films combined and even includes a map of all the elements to look out for.

That’s what makes this film. The story is deep and dynamic enough that meaning after meaning can be taken away from it during each viewing and on top of that there is fun stuff to look at in the background. Like the game closet, for example. Add in one of my favorite movie soundtracks ever, and all is right in the world.
Happy weekend!

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