November 15, 2004

"The Life Aquatic," "The Royal Tenenbaums," "Nico Icon," "Between the Buttons."

I'm so looking forward to the new Wes Anderson movie, "The Life Aquatic" -- which has a cool webpage -- that I got out the old DVD of "The Royal Tenenbaums" and watched it today. I don't know if there is a movie made in the last five years that I like better. The part that precedes the opening credits is perfect. Gene Hackman and Owen Wilson could not be funnier. Gwyneth Paltrow is perfectly un-show-offy as the deadpan Margot, who wears a mink coat (when she's not soaking in the bathtub and turning off the TV with her toe) and smokes (when she's not huffing on her nicotine inhaler). Danny Glover also takes a low key role as an accountant (whose book is wonderfully titled "Accounting for Everything"). Angelica Huston is beautifully repressed (telling Glover her secret: she hasn't slept with a man in 18 years). And Bill Murray and Ben Stiller are there too.

I loved the music in "The Royal Tenenbaums," especially the singing by Nico (and if you like Nico, don't miss the documentary "Nico Icon") and the use of "Between the Buttons," which Margot plays on the record player in the great scene in the tent in the ballroom, where Margot and Richie declare their love. They let "Ruby Tuesday" play after "She Smiled Sweetly." I guess they think you won't notice that's the wrong order. The real album deprives you of the comfort of hearing the two slow songs in a row. "Between the Buttons" is one album that really takes me back to a painfully specific time and place, so the effect of those songs playing in that scene is overwhelming to me. And it's hard not to think of poor Brian Jones: look at what a weird gnome he had turned into by 1967--at age 25!--when that album came out (he's in the center). Just a few years earlier he had looked like this, and a couple years later he was dead.

UPDATE: A "Royal Tenenbaum" character name was corrected.


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