Luke Wilson

The Royal Tenenbaums

Year: 2001
Directed By: Wes Anderson
Written By: Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson

RYAN’S REVIEW

This one takes me back to a long time ago when life was so much simpler. A time when a good time was a an hour down the road at my brother’s apartment and life’s greatest concern was getting school work done on time. It was at my brother’s apartment where I first saw this film and I fell in love with it immediately. I was in college myself at the time and this movie just spoke to me at that time and place in life.

I think Wes Anderson is an awesome filmmaker with a very unique style that sets him apart. I am a bigger fan of the movie he followed this one up with, The Life Aquatic, but this was a great movie in and of itself. This movie tells an interesting story about a family that used to be a big deal but tragedy befell them all as time moved on. They are all estranged until they find themselves being drawn together for the first time in almost 20 years. Their conflicting and contrasting personalities make for a great black comedy.

The cast of this movie is quite remarkable. I don’t know the whole back story behind the connection between Wes Anderson and the Wilson brothers. I know they went to college together and have a friendship beyond their careers but there is certainly more to the story than that. He must be a quite likable director because many actors and actresses continue to work with him regularly. Some even go out of their way for him actually. I read that during the shooting of this movie some of the other actors like Anjelica Huston and Bill Murray would specifically work to shield Anderson from Gene Hackman who notoriously can be difficult to work with. I read that Murray would actually show up on set during his days off just for this purpose.

Whether he was hard to work with or not I have always been a big fan of Hackman and like him in this movie specifically. He is perfect as Royal Tenenbaum and I think it was a role that capped off a great career. It hurts my heart to consider that after more than a decade of not acting we have definitely seen the last of him. At 86 years old he is still with us though, and hopefully enjoying his retirement. The last time I heard anything about Hackman he had been in a road rage incident in which he beat up somebody giving him guff, and that was only a few years ago. The man, even in his 80’s, is too badass for the general public to cross. I could be wrong about the story I’m remembering but I like it the way I remember it.

Beyond Hackman the cast is nothing short of fantastic. It’s always fun to see Ben Stiller and the Wilson brothers together but I think specific props go to Gwyneth Paltrow who played such an interesting character in this one. I think the role that Bill Murray plays is his weakest of all the roles he has played in Wes Anderson films. Murray is great as always but his character is just underused and not his best. I think Danny Glover is fantastic as Herny Sherman. While still very active as an actor Glover just doesn’t get the roles he used to and that’s a shame.

I don’t feel like I’ve said enough about this movie but this movie is all Wes Anderson and I have written my thoughts on him before. For more insight into my thoughts on the director see some of our reviews of his other films. We have reviewed The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, The Darjeeling Limitedand Moonrise KingdomWe also have The Grand Budapest Hotel in the collection but it was a late addition we have yet to get around to reviewing.

So in the spirit of not being redundant I’m going to close out this review simply by letting you know that this movie is worth your time. If you are a fan of Wes Anderson then you should have already seen it but if you aren’t then you should check it out and see what you’ve been missing.

I am sure there is plenty of backstory to this movie that is interesting and note worthy. Unfortunately I have never taken the time to read about it. Anybody who does know more about the Anderson/Wilson relationship and how it transitions into the movie feel free to leave a comment and enlighten us.

NEXT MOVIE: The Rules of Attraction (2002)

 

 

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Old School

Year: 2003
Directed By: Todd Phillips
Written By: Todd Phillips, Scot Armstong, and Court Crandall

RYAN’S REVIEW

Ah, what a funny movie.  Is it even possible that more than 10 years have passed since it came out? Just yesterday I was a willful youth and this was the funniest thing I had ever seen. In 2003 I was young and living out my very own Benjamin Braddock scenario of youthful confusion about life and what comes next.  I didn’t care about much back then, but I lived for the movies.  When this movie came out I saw it in the theater at least five times and I laughed harder every time I saw it again. Oh the days when life was different and the hammer of responsibility hadn’t fallen with all its weight.  I love this movie because it takes me back to a time when things were different, and because after all this time it still makes me laugh.

This movie had a really rich cast of comedians and they all made a point to have their own moment or two.  At top billing the three headlining the movie all took this opportunity to seize the limelight.  For years after this movie Vince Vaughn and Will Ferrell would make every attempt to recapture the magic they had him in this movie. In that scenario Vaughn was more successful than Ferrell despite how much money the latter has continued to make.  Luke Wilson wouldn’t achieve the same success as the others but this movie definitely made his star brighter.

If there was a problem with this movie it’s that I think it gave Will Ferrell too much notoriety.  I thought Ferrell was hilarious in this movie but his strength was in the type of role he played here.  A funny man among other funny men.  After this movie came out he ballooned as a top billed actor and I have never felt he was funny enough to carry a film by himself.  I have more often than not found his movies to simply be stupid and liked them less and less as they continued to come out.  Anchorman was wildly successful while I was in college but I just never got it.  I specifically remember thinking all my friends were just high and laughing at it because they thought it was supposed to be funny.  I didn’t get it, and little else he did in the years following resonated with me as a fan.  I am not discounting Will Ferrell’s talent, he is a funny man. Yet, I think he shined brightest in a movie like this where the story didn’t center around him and he was simply part of it.

What might be so surprising about this film is that it never landed a sequel.  It was talked about for years with all the other men of this budding group being involved in the next installment.  Rumors abound that there would be a rival fraternity in the next film featuring the likes of Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, and maybe Jack Black I can’t remember.  Somewhere along the line it never happened though and to this day has managed to stay sequel free despite other such installments like Ron Burgandy or Dumb and DumberOf course never say never with a comedy though.  This was a really successful movie and I doubt the chance of making more money on it will be ignored forever.

This one doesn’t get old for me and I laugh as much now as I did when I saw it over a decade ago. If you haven’t seen it you have missed out on something funny. Specifically something far funnier than everything that came out in the aftermath of its success from some of its stars. If you are looking for something that will make you laugh then you can’t go wrong with this one.

AMBER’S REVIEW

Oh I love this movie. It is still so funny to me, even though I have watched it so many times. All of these funny people in one place in such a ridiculous scenario. A frat house for adult guys. It’s like their dream come true.

oldschool

This poster is pretty good. There is a blur effect in the background, which is pretty clever because they are pretty much drunk for the majority of the movie and isn’t everything kind of a blur after that much binge drinking? The typography is very collegiate with also helps push home the plot of this movie – the college fraternity. It’s nothing very special, but I think it works for a movie like this.

NEXT MOVIE: Orange County (2002)