Journey into Wes Anderson: The ‘Tenenbaums’ Challenge


Royal Tenenbaums from NetflixOver the next month I am going to be rewatching Wes Anderson‘s six feature films and two shorts in advance of a “Rank and File” piece leading up to the premiere of his new film Moonrise Kingdom at the Cannes Film Festival. These films include the following:

  • Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)
  • Hotel Chevalier* (2007)
  • The Darjeeling Limited (2007)
  • The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)
  • The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
  • Rushmore (1998)
  • Bottle Rocket (1996)
  • Bottle Rocket* (1994)

Of those eight titles only two would I immediately jump up and watch over again, and ironically they are Anderson’s first and last directorial features — Bottle Rocket and Fantastic Mr. Fox. Of the bunch there is only one I am not excited about watching whatsoever… As the headline implies, that title is The Royal Tenenbaums, the only film Anderson has ever made that I do not own.

To be fair, I have never really given Tenenbaums a fair shot. A friend of mine wanted to watch it back in 2003 or thereabouts and after about 15 minutes I checked out. I just was not feeling it and haven’t returned to it since. Will this journey into Wes Anderson offer me a new found appreciation for Tenenbaums or perhaps even Rushmore, a film that is probably Anderson’s most popular and one I have never really connected with.

I’ve never been able to understand my feelings for Anderson’s work and how I could love Bottle Rocket and Fantastic Mr. Fox so much and still be so lukewarm on the rest of his films. Hopefully in the next few weeks I’ll have an answer.

As I get underway, I was curious, do you have a favorite Anderson film? Any particular reasons why or things you think I should be on the lookout for?

* short film

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