Back in the day I used to work at Blockbuster as a sales representative. Every other customer I cashed out would swear by the previous movie they rented; they would tell me that everyone had to see it. Every so often I would check a movie out (the first one being Chris Nolan's Following, which turned out to be an awesome flick). Somewhere in the “you should watch this" onslaught, somebody told me to watch The Royal Tenenbaums. I was apprehensive at first, but I eventually gave it a shot – and I'm glad I did.
For me, no movie has even come close to Wes Anderson's, The Royal Tenenbaums. I fell in love with Anderson's set design, his tracking shots, his characters, and the way in which he made me feel like I was watching a piece of art. And it was wonderful.
Tenenbaums was more than two plus hours of entertainment – I was attached to the characters, especially Richie (Luke Wilson) and Margot (Gwyneth Paltrow), who are eerily similar to the title characters from J.D. Salinger's Franny and Zooey (in fact, the Tenebaum family in general is very similar to the Glass family in F+Z). I love Tenenbaums because it made me reevaluate what I treasured in a movie. It made me realize that I value complex characters over constant, hair-raising action and that, above all, I want to feel attached to the characters on the screen. I cared about every character in that movie, even Royal (Gene Hackman), who was a disconnected father who was (until the very end) more concerned with himself than any of his kids. There was a redeeming characteristic in every Tenenbaum (oh, and Owen Wilson's psychotic character) that made me want to care about them.
My favorite scene in the movie is the scene in which Richie waits for Margot at the bus stop. Anderson constructed the scene so well: luggage is carefully strewn about, people are walking in and out of shots, and Richie's facial expression before and after Margot shows up is fantastic. When Margot gets off the bus, the people around Richie start slowing down, beautiful music kicks in, and Anderson continuously juxtaposes Richie's face with Margot's slow trot off the bus. The whole scene culminates when they finally come face to face and hug. The way Anderson closes the gap between them with shots and music is breathtaking.
If you haven't seen The Royal Tenenbaums yet, go rent it from your local video store (I don't believe it is on Netflix yet) and enjoy every camera angle, every use of music, every line of dialogue, and every beautifully decorated set. If you have seen Tenenbaums, go out and rent it, anyway. Also, Bill Murray is awesome.