This year, I bought you a detailed rant about how totally wrong you are about Rushmore in particular and Wes Anderson’s films in general.
(Needless to say, anybody that hasn’t seen Rushmore should stop reading now).
First, before you think I’m totally just arguing for argument’s sake (not totally out of character), just do yourself a favor and watch the clip of the ending that I just uploaded.
Look at the look on Max’s face when he introduces Margaret to Miss Cross. Check out how he has the DJ play just the right song. Check out how Miss Cross takes his glasses off, looks at him, time slows down, and she leads him to the dance floor. How is any of that “Max has learned something”? The weird thing is that even after several viewings, somehow I came away thinking that basically, Max had grown up and given up his quest for Miss Cross’s affections. Now, I can’t see it in any other way than that not only has he not given up on her, he has actually succeeded in winning her over.
Also, you’re way too hard on his theater and his “aesthetics”. The kid is supposed to be, what, 17? If you’re not trying to punch above your weight when you’re 17, you’re probably not trying hard enough. If you’re lucky enough to come from an incredibly cultured background, sure, you might be very refined and knowledgeable. If you’re a barber’s son, you could do far worse than what I think is actually a very heartfelt and charming rendition of Serpico. (Digression: every time I see Dirk in that damn nun’s habit, I lose control of my bladder. So Funny!) You do the best with what’s around when you’re 17, culture-wise; stuff that you think was great at the time, you may later think was in poor taste and you might disown. But it probably had its place at the time, and pushes you on to better things. At least that’s what it was like for me, and I suspect for you, too.
And where did you ever get the idea that Royal Tennenbaum ever stops being a shit? He’s a shit from beginning to end. The premise of the movie is that he finally realizes that he has been a shit and he has alienated his family, and he sets out to make them love him again. He does not set out to stop being a shit, and he does not set out to really make things right— the whole comedy comes out of the fact that he lies and does whatever it takes to get sympathy and to get his family back on his side. He never ever stops saying insulting things to Margot. And his freakin’ gravestone at the end has his fantastic whopper about saving his family from the wreckage of a battleship. I know it turns out to be strangely true on some level, because he does pull his family back together, but it’s not because he’s changed his ways. Chas forgives him and changes, Margo changes, Richie changes, and even his ex-wife changes, but Royal dies the same jerk he started out as.
If anything, I think Anderson’s movies are more about creative people who prefer their own delusions to reality, who by sheer force of their charm and personality draw other people to them and get them to join them in the fantasy. (Not unlike Anderson’s aesthetic, huh?) I mean, they tug at the heartstrings, but these are still comedies, and these heroes are Quixote, not Oedipus.
Admit it, I’m right!!!! And you know it!