on May 21, 2016
When I first watched this, I was completely lost and dismayed, And a good thing I didn't review it then, or I would've given it 1 star. But on subsequent viewings, it's become a little warmer to me. At best, it's a limousine on fire. Burn ritchies, burn! Wait a minute, maybe they're school kids on their way to the prom? What about the poor chauffeur? I bet he's got kids to feed too! Oh those poor, poor people! Only to find out all are sitting comfortably inside watching the TV report of their impending doom and waiting for the fire trucks to arrive shortly. So it's interesting the initial disdain I had at first thinking these are all rich eccentric geniuses in this totally removed calamity I just don't get. But on second and third viewings, the material aspect becomes immaterial, and the human aspect becomes more apparent. Yes, it will forever be 'quirky'. But think of it like the Titanic had never sunk. We to this day would be envious and despising the elite that got to ride on her, and would fantasize the high life the passengers must've had going back and forth across the Atlantic. But the collision course of it and the iceberg has left us sad, bewildered, romanticizing, and being sentimental over it for generations since. So like the Tenenbaums, they have their successes, tragedies, and trying to steer around the 'Royal Iceburg' to gain safe passage. Two behemoths that can destroy each other, but respecting the fact they are so big and fragile at the same time. Gene Hackman as 'Royal' is hysterical. He definitely has comedic timing I didn't thin possible. But he's ;melting away' in life. Angelica Huston as 'Ethaline' is the eccentric Captain of the Tenebaum liner. Trying to keep family and associates happy and comfortable aboard her vessel of a house. And the basis for it all is 'you can't have success without failure. And failure doesn't ban you from success again. And in between the two, one just has to live life till something happens'. So watching the movie again from that standpoint, it's actually very well done. Somewhat John Irving meets Forrest Gump. You'll want to believe some of the fictitious success these characters have had. While others you'll find far fetched and undeserving. Irregardless, none of it made them 'better people' for it. Nor did it make any 'miserable tyrants' either. People can become decent when they deal with decent people. For me, it seems to give a increasingly warmer feel at the end than say Forrest Gump. A wilder journey with all the Tenenbaum characters, but a more uplifting feel at the end that all will go on happily ever after. Minus a few losses.
on July 16, 2004
I am a skeptic on some prticular actors and actresses, and it so happens that two of them were in the royal tenembaums. Of course I'm referring to Luke wilson, and ben stiller.
Stiller has done nothing for me since appearing in theres something about Mary. He falls into this habit of playing the same two characters in every movie. The nice quiet innocent character who alway seems to be thrown to the wolves. nut stuck in zipper, crap on your dates especially favorite loofa, etc, etc. And of course there's the Ben stiller who is just a total jerk. In tenenbaums, Stiller actually flexes his acting muscles creating a new image of him and lodging it in my brain. Wow!! i guess he can act.
As for Wilson i didn't favor him simply because of the god awful shanghai movies. I admit now that was unfair Luke Wilson has my respect now. Not that he cares, but hey.
Ok well enogh rambling the movie was excellent and the charcters were very well thought out, particularly Margot. I will agree with a former reviewer in that the film was a bit tedious, but you win some and you lose some.
on April 13, 2004
You have here Royal Tenenbaum, a self-absorbed and shameless jerk. He either neglects or belittles his children until he finally abandons the family. Years later they are miserable creatures warped even further by their precocity, for whom the balm of ridiculous luxury does nothing. Re-enter Royal, like a pernicious case of herpes, who has squandered his fortune and is now homeless: he feigns terminal illness and foists himself back onto his family.
So what's so great about a movie where a selfish guy interacts with his messed up kids? On the surface, not much unless you dig cool sets and protest how much you love *quirky*, *oddball* *black comedies*.
But if you look a little deeper, the characters are truly charming under the warts. You may have to watch the movie several times. You still wouldn't want to, say, let an apartment with any of these people as room-mates. But you will see something beautiful in them.
(And I love Angelica Houston any old way. She looks credible and gorgeous in everything she's ever done.)
This movie is about love, the strange and reluctant love you feel towards those who are bound to you. It is about a deadbeat discovering the responsibilities of love. It is about seeing something loveable in someone ugly.
Hope and love. They got a good treatment here.
on April 3, 2004
I can understand why some people find this movie boring or uninteresting. The first time I saw it, I thought it was so so. Then it grew on me without having to see it again. This movie, while not perfect, is a welcome breath of fresh air in a world of crappy Matrix sequels, Club Dreads, Jackasses (I still think the title describes the viewers, NOT the "actors"), overrated Tarantino movies, and the plain old crap that's in Hollywood nowadays.
And yes, this movie is sophisticated humor, not sophomoric. If you don't know what either of those words means, this movie definitely is not for you. It's subtle, witty, and clever. You do have to be intelligent to appreciate this movie for what it really is. I hate to sound elitest, but people who think the American Pie movies (though humorous) are the best movies ever will not enjoy this movie. It takes a higher level of thinking. I know, I know, God forbid a movie makes you think, but it's good to get one of those every now and then.
One thing I'd like to say about Wes Anderson is that I really enjoyed Bottle Rocket. People talk about Tenenbaums and Rushmore, but I think Rocket is up there with them. I think it's the funniest of the three, not necessarily the best though. I'd have to say Tenenbaums, in my mind, is the best. The camera play is goddamn interesting, even funny, and the characters are some of the most rounded I've seen in recent cinema. Yes the movie does echo the whole Catcher in the Rye mood, but in my mind that adds to the tone of the picture.
If you want cheap thrills, go somewhere else. If you want a movie with tons of thought put into it and tons of thought emanating from it as well, Royal Tenenbaums is an excellent movie.
on November 19, 2003
The most telling line is when Royal Tenenbaum, the estranged patriarch of a dysfunctional family of geniuses, apologizes for being an a******, and is told he's now only a son of a "witch."
Royal Tenenbaum, upon hearing that his wife from whom he has lived apart for 22 years -- although never divorced her -- is considering marrying her accountant, returns to the family home faking stomach cancer. His kids -- Chas, a widower who was a real estate magnate in his teens, Richie, a pro tennis player who fumbled a major match, and Margot, who was always introduced as "the adopted daughter", and is an unrememebered playwright -- all return although not that happy about it and, particularly, him.
Royal is a liar, a cheat and all-around awful. But everyone else in the house is messed up too -- including Richie's best friend Eli who lives across the street, and Margot's much older husband Raleigh. The movie progresses as they become a little less messed up. In fact, it was harsh reality that no one's problems are completely solved and the child geniuses don't suddenly blossom in their greatness. But everyone is just a little bit better for coming together and confronting each other.
on August 8, 2003
It seems to me that the gentleman from Enumclaw, WA was probably too dense to appreciate a Wes Anderson film. And people who are not bright enough to value the film for its quirkiness and seamless storytelling should not be allowed to write scathing reviews. I write this in hope that people will not be led astray from his review...as it is completely off the mark and ridiculous. The Royal Tenenbaums is fraught with oddity and rich with character. Gene Hackman was robbed of an Oscar for his incredible portrayal of a man who, despite all his faults, genuinely loves his children and his wife. It is original (how many movies can we say that about these days?) and witty. Wes Anderson has demonstrated once again that he can create the most ridiculous characters and plot lines and yet make everything flawless and everyone endearing. Mr. Enumclaw...please refrain from writing reviews from this moment on...you obviously know nothing about movies. I mean, you probably really liked The Matrix 2, right?
on May 14, 2003
I stayed away from THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS for a few years because I was afraid it'd be an "eccentric comedy". I dislike movies that treat their eccentric characters too preciously. The characters in such movies are usually eccentric for eccentricities sake -- and they usually end up being the butt of the joke ("Oh, how weird they are! How eccentric!").
I'm happy to report that my prejudices against THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS were wrong. In fact, it's quite a good movie. I just finished watching it, and I'm still trying to get my head around why I liked it so much.
The movie is funny. I would classify it as a comedy. But it's definitely a character film, too. The reason it works so well is because the characters, despite their eccentricities, are well-drawn.
But director Wes Anderson tweaks the film in such a way that makes it very interesting: at the very beginning of the film, after an introduction that sets up the characters, Anderson shows his hand by giving screen credit to the actors (i.e. "Angelica Houston as Etheline Tenenbaum"). This is a litle disarming -- aren't actors supposed to "disappear" into the characters? Instead, Wes Anderson trumpets their casting.
Anderson also uses a book motif throughout the film. He flashes to pages of a "Royal Tenenbaum" book ... chapter one, chapter four, etc. At first, not knowing a lot about this movie, I thought it was adapted from a novel! No, it's another interesting way that Anderson is telling the story.
THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS reminded me a lot of an early John Irving book. The characters are literary stars, playwrites, or geniuses.
But the crux of the film is the Tenenbaum family. The basic story is that Royal Tenenbaum (Gene Hackman) comes back into his family's life after an absence of many years and tries to set things straight.
Wes Anderson has directed a comedy, but a very smart one. Characters fall in holes and dogs get run over, but this movie has a heart. I actually cried at the end when Ben Stiller's character makes his peace. As Chas Tenenbaum, Stiller perpetually wears a red track suit (duplicated on his two children!) -- this is funny! At a funeral, the track suit is changed ... to a black one. Funny! But, Chas is a well-written character too, and it is easy to understand why he acts as he does.
I almost feel as if I should see THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS again. It's got a lot of detail to it. However, I'm satisfied after my first viewing of it. It's a great film. I think I'm off to rent RUSHMORE next!
on March 30, 2003
The four stars are for the movie, but this "review" is just a commentary on most (not all) of the bad reviews. It is possible to legitimately dislike this movie, but most of you people writing bad reviews end up damning your credibility with your own words.
Any bad review on here that calls the movie "unfunny" or "so-called-comedy" was probably expecting to see the mindless slap-stick that their lazy brains have fallen into liking because it is so often presented them. Likely the only thing that made them crack a smile was seeing Danny Glover fall into the excavation pit, and they were probably disappointed that they didn't get to see him lying face-down in the dirt.
This movie is a melancholy look at the life of a family that everyone should be able to relate to on some level. If you say you can't, you are probably in a prepetually prudish state of self-denial and frightened by this movie's bluntness. I can hear it in the words chosen by a lot of the reviewers who panned it.
If you were expecting people spiking their hair with semen and prat-falls down stair-cases, then for what it's worth, you're right, you should have stayed the hell away from this movie. This movie's laughs come from that place where, when things get so ironically bad, you just gotta laugh. It is not a feel-good piece in a conventional sense, but if you're comfortable in your own skin, can laugh when you're depressed, and can admit some similarity and empathy with less-than-perfect people, you'll likely take away with you a warm fondness for the movie.
on February 17, 2003
I put 4 stars, but this film really deserves 4.5 stars. Wes Anderson, the critically acclaimed director of Rushmore, has served up a heartbreaking yet hilarious picture. Brilliant dialogue, melancholy/beautiful cinematography, and one of Gene Hackman's finest performances, The Royal Tenenbaums is a terrific film.
Gene Hackman plays Royal Tenenbaum, an entrepreneur who has recently fallen on hard times. His family hates him, he has no money, and his ex-wife (despite the fact they're not legally divorced) is about to marry the family accountant. In one last effort to win his family back, Royal tells his ex-wife (played by Angelica Huston) that he's dying of cancer. Soon, the entire family knows and Royal begins his task of winning his family back.
The film's greatest virtue is the characters. Like Rushmore and Bottle Rocket, the characters are all incredibly quirky, but they're all completely relatable. Why? Because they're dealing with situations that we deal with everyday, and that's what makes Wes Anderson such a creative new talent. As weird as everyone is, you really do care about what happens to them.
As I said, the film contains one of Hackman's best performances to date. But he's not the only one. Luke Wilson is particularly enjoyable as Richie Tenenbaum, the ex-tennis player who is deeply in love with his adopted sister Margot (Gwenyth Paltrow). Ben Stiller gives his best performance to date as Chas, Royal's hate-filled son. Gwenyth Paltrow gives one of her only tolerable performances ever. Bill Murray is also hilarious as usual as Paltrow's husband.
Despite all its praise, this film is so quirky that it's unlikely to please everyone who sees it. Quirky humor just doesn't work for some people, which is understandable. So if you hate that kind of sense of humor, this film is most likely not for you. That said, I love quirky humor, so if you're like me, this film is right up your alley.
on February 15, 2003
Wes Anderson, director of the excellent Rushmore, helms this near emotionally comedic masterpiece of a film. The Royal Tenenbaums centers around Royal Tenenbaum (Gene Hackman) and his estranged, dysfunctional family including his ex-wife Etheline (Anjelica Houston) and his three former child genius children (Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Stiller, and Luke Wilson). All of whom are brought back together after years of seperation when word of Royal's terminally ill status is revealed, and this is where The Royal Tenenbaums truly shines. Anderson co-wrote with co-star Owen Wilson (as a drug addicted literary celebrity) and brings the rich, emotionally comedic story to life. Hackman absolutely shines in his role, and the rest of the cast is great as well, although there are a certain number of parts that just seem a bit unbelieveable and sometimes the story can get a bit uneven, but the unique comedy (much like Anderson's Rushmore) make The Royal Tenenbaums a winner. Danny Glover co-stars as Etheline's soon to be new husband which Royal must contend with, and Bill Murray also stars as Paltrow's psychiatrist husband and Alec Baldwin provides the film's narration. All in all, The Royal Tenenbaums is a near classic comedy/drama that fans of Rushmore will enjoy, but be warned, those looking for a laugh out loud gross out comedy will be very disappointed.