Friday, December 2, 2011


Family is Not a Word... It's a Sentence
On the eighth Lynchian day of Christmas, we present Wes Anderson's absurdly funny family dramedy The Royal Tenenbaums (2001). Set during Winter in a New York created specifically for the film from Anderson's childhood perceptions, we follow the long-term exploits of the Tenenbaum family. The Royal Tenenbaums expresses Lynch's comedic style and possesses subtle Lynchian allusions. For instance, the family's name is a derivation of the word tananbaum, which is German for "Fir Tree" or "Christmas Tree."

The Douglas Fir Trees of David Lynch's small Washingtonian town of Twin Peaks are awe inspiring to F.B.I. Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan), as he soaks in the the atmosphere of the wooded paradise in late Winter. He even slips in a specific inquiry about what kind of trees they are when first encountering local law enforcement's Sheriff Harry S. Truman (Michael Ontkean), permanently coloring the Sheriff's perception of the frequently whimsical agent.
And other Lynchian Twin Peaks allusions apparently garnish The Royal Tenenbaums, like the "Red Room" zigzag pattern on Richie's bedroom carpeting. In addition to these little details, Wes Anderson's very mode directing his films is Lynchian. Given Anderson's use of extended takes of quirky deadpan comedy, creation of unique cinematic worlds, and implementation of prolonged static close-ups and transitional tableaus, we would be surprised if David Lynch were not a strong influence on this filmmaker.
The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) centers on the the three genius Tenenbaum prodigies (Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Stiller, and Luke Wilson) who all develop into severely unhappy adults, in part because of their father Royal (Gene Hackman). Having been separated for decades, Royal is upset when he learns his wife Etheline (Angelica Huston) is contemplating divorce to marry Henry Sherman (Danny Glover). Royal hatches a scheme to try to win the love of his family in spite of all his years of abuse and neglect, resulting in some hilariously problematic consequences. Our favorite Wes Anderson film to date, The Royal Tenenbaums is quirky and bizarre in the most entertaining way and is a beautiful world to return to time and again.

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