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Pod & Louis Tulley take in the first screening of Wes Anderson's THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS

Hey folks, Harry here... Wes Anderson with BOTTLE ROCKET and RUSHMORE has been referred to as the 'Billy Wilder' of our Generation. I imagine he hates that to death. I'm sure he'd rather be Wes Anderson.

Tonight in New York, Wes had a small screening... not a studio or NRG test screening, but a smaller screening that he put together himself. The purpose? To see where the film worked and didn't. To fine tune his film. To watch the audience laugh or even worse... not laugh.

At this stage, the film is apparently extremely funny... though not as resonant as BOTTLE ROCKET or RUSHMORE... but that's just at this stage. Moriarty said that the script was almost all pathos and sadness and was shocked to hear that it's too funny. Though the criticism that there are too many characters to really get to know any of them... well, he felt that was a problem in the script as well...

HOWEVER, if Wes Anderson has made his 'Screwball Comedy' that's a common trait. If this is more in the vein of 20TH CENTURY or DINNER AT EIGHT... well then, it might not be for everyone, but it's definitely my cup of joe. Remember though, this film doesn't unfurl on screens till Christmas day, so although the film is apparently too funny... I'm sure Wes Anderson can make it tolerably funny by then....

Hey. Here you go.

Hi. I just got back from a screening of "The Royal Tenenbaums" in NYC.

Essentially, the film is about three grown-up child geniuses (Luke Wilson, Ben Stiller, and Gwenneth Paltrow), and their relationship with their estranged 'son-of-a-bitch' father (Gene Hackman). There's a lot more to it, and it's all very complicated, but this is a review, not a treatment

Just so you know where I'm coming from, Bottle Rocket is one of my favorite films. Rushmore is up there too. I find Wes Anderson's films to be very funny, kind, gentle, and they have a warmth that builds slowly to overtake the viewer. At the beginning of his movies you feel that you are watching a comedy, by the end of the film it has turned into something much deeper.

The film starts off with a lengthy, quick paced montage establishing the three children. This is very funny, and gets things rolling quite well, but the film never really settles down. It keeps moving at a pace that seemed to shortchange the performances.

My biggest problem with this film is that there are too many characters, and we don't get to spend enough time with any of them. They are all very colorful and lots of fun, but they border on caricature. While I was amused by all of them, and I liked them all, I couldn't connect with anyone.

In the middle of the film there is a very serious, and tragic scene involving Luke Wilson. It worked really well, and it pushed the film into a very heartbreaking place. It was something Andersen has not done before.

At this point I was hoping the movie was going to go down this road. My hopes were dashed when the scene immediately following it returned to the quick pacing and gags.

The acting is good across the boards. Gene Hackman has some hysterical moments, but he doesn't touch Bill Murray's down and out character form Rushmore.

Owen Wilson is fun, but doesn't have a lot to do. It was good to see Owen and Luke on screen together again. Luke Wilson comes off very strong, playing up his "less is more" style.

Gwenneth Paltrow is good too. She sulks through 99% of the film, the one time she truly smiles is a knockout.

Ben Stller seems to be a bit out of his league here, but he pulls through towards the end. Anjelica Houston and Danny Glover have some sweet scenes too.

There were a few confusing moments towards the beginning that implied that Luke and Owen Wilson's characters were in love with each other, and having an affair, but it ended up having nothing to do with anything.

Anderson's use of sets, costumes and props to further develop, and embellish, the characters is in full swing. The shots are loaded with oddball touches, and background gags. I really liked that fact that this did not take place in NYC, but some unnamed fictional city that included a "375th Street Y".

The Wes Anderson Players are all there. Futureman, Kumar, plus lots of other familiar faces from Rushmore.

The music was mostly from Bottle Rocket and Rushmore. There were, as usual, a bunch of pop tunes. The Beatles, Paul Simon and The Velvet Underground are the ones I remember.

In general, the film didn't have the sense of heartbreak, and hope, that Bottle Rocket and Rushmore have. Andersen has a true empathy for outsider types, and that holds true with this film. But we never get to know anyone well enough to deeply feel for them.

However, it is very, very funny. All the gags work, and they come on very quickly. It made me laugh hard but it didn't move me.


And the next comes from that homegrown horny accountant, Louis Tulley

Hey Harry,

Just got back from a test screening in NYC of Wes Anderson’s latest flick, “The Royal Tenenbaums” and thought I might give you the lowdown. They gave us the regular hullabaloo, i.e., the credits aren’t in, its a rough cut, temp sound track (they used the Rushmore opening music for it) etc...Made us sign a card that stated we wouldn’t report it to any internet sites, blah blah blah. But since this movie was so fucking hilarious, I can’t see it hurting Wes to tell you about it.

This movie, like his previous two, is weird, bizarre, dark, funny, strange and all around brilliant. His sense of humor is unlike any other, and we see that in all the characters of this movie. It doesn’t have a definite 3 part story arc plot, its more of a year in the life of the family of genius’, the Tenenbaums. Everyone in this movie was fantastic. There are so many interesting characters in this movie that it takes a family tree to explain them all. It opens with Alec Baldwin narrating the background of the family and friends. Minor spoilers ahead....

Spoiler space

Spoiler space

First you have the Tenenbaums, Royal (hackman) is the patriarch who ditched the family years ago. Etheline (Angelica Huston) is his wife who raised their three genius children alone and wrote a book about them: Chas (Stiller), as a child, invented Dalmatian mice (mice with spots) has become a crazed safety freak since his wife died in a plane crash, has two afro’d kids who dress exactly like him, Ritchie (Luke Wilson) a Tennis Superstar who had a nervous breakdown in the middle of a match ending his career (we get to watch it), and their adopted daughter, Margot (Paltrow), a depressed feminist playwright, (she started smoking at the age of twelve, and to this day, no one knows she does) who is married to an old professor by the name of Raleigh St. Claire (Bill Murray.) St. Claire is studying a freakish kid with dyslexia, partial site loss, slight retardation and excellent hearing. Then you have Etheline’s current suitor, Henry Sherman (Danny Glover) who is her bridge partner and accountant. Also involved with the family is Richie’s best friend, Eli Cash (Owen Wilson) who writes bad cowboy books, has a large porn collection and is married to our favorite teacher from Rushmore who is an artist in this one with really freaky paintings. A lot of actors from the previous two movies make an appearance, including Kumar Pallana, whose part is much larger in this one as Hackman’s servant.

So between all these characters, many bizarre happenings occur which lead up to the whole family living together under one roof after all being apart for years. Then we get to watch them do a bunch of weird shit and try to bond as a family. I can’t get into it as it is too complex to really explain in a brief review. So many hilarious bizarre things happen, but I don’t want to ruin it, so I ain’t sharing. However, I will give away one thing briefly, cuz it is so awesome....Paltrow....with a hot college coed yea!

Overall, this movie was a wonderful example of Wes Anderson’s genius. The only flaws, if you can call them that, is that there are so many characters that we don’t get to spend enough time with them all. Bill Murray is totally underused, as is Danny Glover. Bill doesn’t get nearly as much screen time. However, everyone else puts out such a great performance that it makes up for it. Paltrow is hilarious. Stiller is a freak. The Wilson’s do their thing extremely well. Everyone gets a chance to shine. Hackman puts in his usual brilliant performance. It’s not a plot driven story, but the characters are so interesting you really don’t care. After a minimal bit of editing this movie will be in my humble opinion, almost flawless. Let me know if you want to know any more about it. Can’t wait to see the final product, come Christmas time.

I am the KEY MASTER!!!,

Louis Tulley

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