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The Royal Tenenbaums

The Royal Tenenbaums?  

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  1. 1. Does Royal Tenenbaums go in the space capsule?

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Amy & Paul move back in with 2001’s Wes Anderson family reunion piece The Royal Tenenbaums! They ask if Anderson is sneakily a great director of actors, posit that Ben Stiller is the true heart of the movie, and discuss whether the female Tenenbaums are well served by their storylines. Plus: Which other legendary actor was considered to play Royal Tenenbaum?

This is the fourth episode in our Kinspooled series on “effed up families”; next week’s film is Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner! Learn more about the show at unspooledpod.com follow us on Twitter @unspooled and Instagram @unspooledpod, and don’t forget to rate, review & subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and Spotify. You can also listen to our Stitcher Premium game show Screen Test right now, and apply to be a contestant at unspooledpod@gmail.com! Photo credit: Kim Troxall

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Rushmore was the first Wes Anderson movie I saw and the first one I fell in love with, so if we were going with my PERSONAL preference for a rocket-ship Wes movie that would be the one for me. The Royal Tenenbaums is one I originally appreciated from more of a distance: like, I could see that it was well-made and that the performances (especially Gene Hackman) were great, but I found the dollhouse aesthetic a little stifling compared to the Anderson's previous movie. Returning to it now, after all the other Wes Anderson stuff that has come out since, I'm better able to feel its greatness. A lot of the scenes caught me up emotionally more than before, maybe because I've now had a bit of distance and see where the careers of the Wilson brothers, Paltrow, Stiller, etc., have gone, and also now knowing this was Hackman's last great role. Given this movie's incredible lifespan in the cultural consciousness and the way it basically set the Wes Anderson Style as a template for a new generation, I'm comfortable with voting yes on this one, even if Rushmore, Moonrise Kingdom, and Fantastic Mr. Fox might be higher on my personal list (I need to revisit Grand Budapest, which is another one I appreciate but other people went more ga-ga over than I did).

It's interesting that Paul brought up near the end of the episode how the characters/performances seemed a bit "amberized," but I don't think they discussed the movie that is the most obvious inspiration for this one: Orson Welles' The Magnificent Ambersons. A lot of the same stuff going on in both of them: a well-off family that falls into disrepair, the movie retroactively seeming like a big commentary on the filmmaker himself, etc.

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Yea if asked, I will say Rushmore is my all-time favorite film. Tenenbaums maybe has more to it, more going on, and I think I maybe consider it better-made. If we had to choose one to send, I'm ok with either, I guess. Leave Rushmore here on Earth with me. I think if you're sending a Wes up, it has to be one of those two.

Grand Budapest is fine and I dig it, but I don't see how it even compares to all the others.

I think my Wes rating is something like:

Royal Tenenbaums
Fantastic Mr. Fox
(the theater experience on this was absolutely the most fun I've ever had in a theater, it's a FUN movie).
Life Aquatic / Moonrise Kingdom (unsure their order)
Grand Budapest / Bottle Rocket (unsure their order)

and probably the weirdest fluke in all my movie-watching is I never saw Isle of Dogs even though I consider myself a Wes nut. *shrug* I have plans to hit it up soon though, finally.

also love Ambersons, I would dig an Unspooled look at that!

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