Movie of the Year: 2001

The Royal Tenenbaums

The Taste Buds swoon over 2001’s most twee and whimsical film, The Royal Tenenbaums!

The Royal Tenenbaums is not just a movie: It is a Wes Anderson movie. In many ways, it is the most Wes Anderson movie of all time. Full of whimsy, color, and cool, the movie has more life in the average frame than most movies manage to cobble together over their entire two-hour running time. But along with every amazing musical interlude, every quotable line, every intricate shot, there is an uncomfortable racial element to the movie as well. We discuss whether the movie is making legitimate comments about race, or whether it just uses racism as a mostly empty character trait.

Obviously, we focus on the titular man himself, Royo Tobo. You love the guy as long as he’s not your father. He’s clever and smart and classy, but does any of this make up for all the damage he’s done? He’s left a family of genius broken and damaged,  and he’s the conniest man to ever con. Does he put them together enough to make up for this original sin? When we watch movies like this it feels like we are being asked to forgive our fathers, both our literal fathers and the Founding Fathers. A movie like this asks us if America can ever make up for its original sins. Can we just turn on the charm, make a couple things better, maybe do something semi-heroic, and by doing these things find the retribution we seek?

Also, we take time to pay respect to one of Hollywood’s finest actors: Benjamin Stiller. Think about it, Ben Stiller has been in our lives for years. His career has had ups, downs, and get-outta-towns, but he’s still standing. And if we look back over his career–and this is exactly what we do–we find that he has been a major player in the Hollywood comedy movie film business. Remember Ben Still? No, we don’t talk about him because ever since we got Ben Stiller, we don’t even need that cat.

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