ARCHIVE REVIEW: The Royal Tenenbaums

The Royal Tenenbaums
Directed by: Wes Anderson
Written by: Wes Anderson & Owen Wilson (screenplay)
Starring: Gene Hackman, Anjelica Huston, Ben Stiller and Gwyneth Paltrow

The idea that movies can have a literary quality to them is something that a director like Wes Anderson often takes to heart.  His movies operate on many basic storytelling conventions- the dysfunctional family, the adolescent emerging the cocoon- but within them is an entire world of his own creation.

The Anderson Aesthetic is one where his art and his life-view merge; where the clothes of the characters often meticulously match their surroundings.  It’s a style of filmmaking that can be divisive, which also means that it’s a style that is always interesting.

Continue reading

The Ten Most Overrated Movies Ever

In honor of a recent CyniCritics review of Fight Club which found the film to be a little… well, overrated.  Matt and I decided to compile a whole list of other films that we think get way more credit than they deserve.

Forrest Gump

The 1994 box office jumbo-hit not only made a sea of cash at the box office, but went on to sweep six Oscars, stealing the Best Picture award from Pulp Fiction and Lead Actor from Morgan Freeman. When Forrest should have been uprooted, excavated and forgotten to make room for new, brilliant filmmaking life like Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction and Shawsank Redemption, it’s popularity grew and thickened with time, becoming a home video must-have.

It is little wonder why the film is adored, given it is a capsule of the second half of the 20th century. But even with all the nostalgia of Vietnam, AIDS, and growing up in the south, the film was flat and dull just like the comely narrator America was so in love with. The movie hinged itself on half-baked melodrama, a popular soundtrack and a beloved, mediocre movie star (Twilight anyone?). Not saying the film was complete shit, but its no masterpiece. Forrest Gump was as awkward, clumsy and cheesy as its gumpy title suggests.

The Royal Tenenbaums

Okay, so this movie is not all that widely rated as a classic in the first place, but to many indie-cinema lovers this film is number one on their list, and if it isn’t, Rushmore, Bottlerocket, or Fantastic Mr. Fox probably is. Maybe what we’re getting at is that Wes Anderson is the one who is overrated. After watching all his films and searching for what exactly it is that makes him indie-royalty, all we can come up with is cookie cutter characters and futura font which pass as “style”. Sure it’s unique, sure it’s different, but it also happens to be pretty lame and uninteresting.

The major issues with The Royal Tenenbaums and company are the characters that Anderson creates, who are often flat, emotionless, stripped down characters that speak their mind and act rashly on freewill. They’re so stylized and doped up, that they become caricatures of themselves and make audiences lose interest quickly. It’s uniqueness cannot be ignored, but it shouldn’t be praised like the second coming of Christ on your Facebook’s favorite movies either.

Continue reading