THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS (Wes Anderson, 2001)
Museum of the Moving Image
35th Ave. at 36th St., Astoria
Saturday, May 19, and Sunday, May 20, 6:30, free with museum admission of $10
Series runs May 18-27
In his hysterical 2001 black comedy The Royal Tenenbaums, eclectic indie auteur Wes Anderson (The Darjeeling Limited, Fantastic Mr. Fox) created one of the kings of dysfunctional film families. Directly inspired by J. D. Salinger’s Glass clan (Franny and Zooey, Raise High the Roof Beam), the Tenenbaums of New York City have more than their fair share of distress. After being kicked out of the house for being a lousy father and husband, Royal (Gene Hackman) returns, claiming he is dying of stomach cancer. His wife, noted archaeologist Etheline (Anjelica Huston), is now seeing her accountant, the straitlaced Henry Sherman (Danny Glover). Finance wiz Chas (Ben Stiller) is having difficulty getting over his wife’s death in a plane crash, becoming absurdly overprotective of his two young sons’ (Grant Rosenmeyer and Jonah Meyerson) safety. Tennis prodigy Richie (Luke Wilson) is recovering from a very public breakdown and soon has to admit to himself that he is madly in love with his adopted playwright sister, Margot (Gwyneth Paltrow), who is married to strange neurologist Raleigh St. Clair (Bill Murray) and having an affair with longtime family friend and Western novelist Eli Cash (cowriter Owen Wilson). Narrated by Alec Baldwin, The Royal Tenenbaums completed an impressive opening hat trick from Anderson, who had previously made Bottle Rocket (1996) and Rushmore (1998). The marvelously funny flick is screening May 19 & 20 as part of the Museum of the Moving Image series “Wes Anderson’s Worlds,” which is being held in conjunction with the opening of Anderson’s latest, Moonrise Kingdom. The festival begins May 18 with Rushmore and continues through May 27 with screenings of all of his feature-length films, each of which will include a video introduction from Anderson.