Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Hit Me With Your Best Shot: "Well It Can't Be Very Good for Your Eyes Anyway"
The Royal Tenenbaums, 2001
This is a submission for Nathaniel's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" series at The Film Experience, a great series that I don't get to participate in as much as I should. But considering Tenenbaums is one of my all-time favorite movies, how could I not? I saw it on the big screen for the first time last fall as the New York Film Festival celebrated the film's 10th anniversary, and talk about a jewel box of stuff to look at, all the way to the edges of the screen. I know Wes Anderson takes a lot of shit for being so precious in his art direction, but it's what I love about him. Who ever said that cold and sparse was the only respectable way to kit out your movie?
This particular frame called out to be because it's not the usual Anderson Frame of either a character or object in dead center. I initially wanted a frame of Margot tapping her wooden finger on something, as it's my favorite running gag of the movie. But this shot is even better: the very picture of cocooned inertia, with Margot's bathroom crash pad (complete with mini-TV oh-so-safely tethered to the radiator) being invaded by interventionist Etheline. Only, as always, Etheline's best of intentions end up manifesting as concerned mothering, which only ends up allowing her gifted children to cocoon themselves further. Anjelica Huston is so perfect in this movie. Her dress and posture here are pure child-therapist, but her voice is so kind and accommodating. Of course she's going to let Margot move home. And then Margot's foot! Invading the frame, that one chaotic element that signals both physical danger (that precariously perched TV!) and emotional peril (not having the energy to get up and change the channel is a classic symptom of depression).