Tag Archives: Owen Wilson

The Set of 400: #21 – My Favorite Closet Full of Board Games

Today! Because I’ve always been considered an asshole for about as long as I can remember. That’s just my style –

The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)

Directed by Wes Anderson (x4)

Starring Gene Hackman (x5), Angelica Huston (x4), Ben Stiller (x3), Luke Wilson (x4), Gwyneth Paltrow (x6), Owen Wilson (x5), Bill Murray (x11), Danny Glover (x2), Kumar Pallana (x2), Seymour Cassel (x3), Alec Baldwin (x4), Stephen Lea Sheppard, Andrew Wilson (x3)

Back in #267 The Life Aquatic, I posited that Wes Anderson’s distinctive style truly began with that film, but the entire blueprint was in place in The Royal Tenenbaums. While Aquatic often feels like an over-directed showcase of filmmaking more than a cohesive movie, Anderson hadn’t gotten all that carried away with himself when tackling his third film, and first after his big breakthrough on Rushmore three years earlier. It would take a little time after Aquatic to reconcile the manner of hyper-detail oriented production design with large idiosyncratic cast to compelling storylines – arguably until Moonrise Kingdom in 2012 – but the rougher version of this concept is fully on display here.

And while most of Anderson’s films work best due to their expertly crafted screenplays and oddball twists, Tenenbaums might be the only one primarily driven by the slate of tremendous performances across its eclectic cast. Hackman was purportedly a nightmare to work with on this film, but he delivers his career best comedic performance as the half charlatan patriarch Royal, in one of his last roles before retiring in ’04 (thanks for nothing, Welcome to Mooseport!). He was snubbed by the Oscars, thanks to that enduring bias against comedies, but did get a Globe nomination, plus wins at the AFI Awards, the Chicago Film Critics, and the National Society of Film Critics. The rest of the cast is no slouch either – Stiller’s apoplectic track-suited Chas, Paltrow’s morose theater maven Margot, and especially Luke Wilson’s shattered tennis pro Richie – the inspiration for one of my many failed Halloween costume efforts of years past.

It’s okay, I know I look more Bjorn Borg than the Baumer

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Movies

The Set of 400: #101 – My Favorite Salvador Dali Cameo

Today! Because if it’s bad, I’ll hate it because I hate bad writing, and if it’s good, I’ll be envious and hate all the more. You don’t want the opinion of another writer –

Midnight in Paris (2011)

Directed by Woody Allen (x9)

Starring Owen Wilson (x4), Marion Cotillard (x2), Rachel McAdams (x3), Michael Sheen, Corey Stoll, Lea Seydoux (x2), Adrien Brody (x3), Tom Hiddleston (x2), Alison Pill, Mimi Kennedy (x2), Kurt Fuller (x2), Carla Bruni, Kathy Bates (x4), Tom Cordier, Gad Elmaleh, Nina Arianda

I don’t have a real personal connection with a lot of Woody Allen movies, I’ve just really liked them for a long time, and thus so many have finagled their way onto this countdown. However, Midnight in Paris isn’t an old Allen film, and does go a fair bit deeper for me than his other movies. To recap from some prior post (#108 Hunchback of Notre Dame, I’m guessing?) – we got married in 2011, replete with songs from #111 Muppets Take Manhattan, and the brand-new Muppets film, and then didn’t go on a honeymoon for two long years. Why? I don’t remember why. I guess the destination wedding took it out of us for a while? We had the wedding at Caesars in Vegas – I’m not going to say it was because of The Hangover, but it certainly could’ve been. We visited Vegas to look at venues eight months prior, and never went to Caesars, so how we ended up there only makes sense byway of Mike Tyson comedies.

Apparently Iron Mike was coked out of his melon when they filmed this! More on this later.

Anyway, when we finally did get around to picking the old honeymoon spot, Paris leaped to the forefront of the contenders. Again, I’m not going to say it was definitely because of some movie, but we were really into Midnight in Paris around this time, so it would make sense. Hell, we went around taking pictures of locations in the film –

These are those steps Owen Wilson is sitting on waiting for his ride to the past! Look at that boots!

And this is where that car pulls up! And we haven’t aged a day!

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Movies

The Set of 400: #134 – My Favorite Balloon Bicycle

Today! Because I’d like to be pimps from Oakland or cowboys from Arizona but it’s not Halloween. Grow up Peter Pan –

Wedding Crashers (2005)

Directed by David Dobkin

Starring Owen Wilson (x3), Vince Vaughn (x2), Rachel McAdams (x2), Isla Fisher, Christopher Walken (x2), Bradley Cooper, Jane Seymour, Ellen Albertini Dow (x4), Will Ferrell (x4), Henry Gibson (x5), Ron Canada, Dwight Yoakam, Rebecca De Mornay, Keir O’Donnell

This drinking and fucking comedy masterwork introduced me to Bradley Cooper (even if he is just the smarmy villain of the piece, and thus I didn’t tie this together with the later Oscar nominated Bradley Cooper we’d all come to know and love for some time) and Isla Fisher (who hasn’t had as great a post-Wedding Crashers run, but still popped up in some solid roles – The Great Gatsby, Now You See Me, er, the messy return of Arrested Development), while also giving us one of the better Christopher Walken comedy performances, a great 100% id Will Ferrell cameo, and the best Vince Vaughn character of all-time. Also, if you glance over that resume, this is the last great Vaughn comedy, and the one most directly responsible for so much mediocrity to follow (Fred Claus, Four Christmases, Couples Retreat, our co-starring venture The Dilemma, filmed here in Chicago, etc.).

There I am! I was carrying a coffee mug, but you can’t see it!

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Movies

The Set of 400: #267 – My Favorite Life on Mars

Today! Because I’m going to find it and I’m going to destroy it. I don’t know how yet –

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)

Directed by Wes Anderson (x2)

Starring Bill Murray (x5), Owen Wilson (x2), Cate Blanchett (x2), Anjelica Huston (x2), Willem Dafoe (x2), Jeff Goldblum (x3), Bud Cort (x3), Michael Gambon, Noah Taylor, Waris Ahluwalia (x2), Seu Jorge, Seymour Cassel, Robyn Cohen

Look, I needed some time for it to grow on me, too. On the heels of the dynamite, breakout combo of Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums, Wes Anderson went all-in on the Wes Anderson-ness, and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou was born. And I think that most of the affectations people associate with Anderson (the ones that really seem to bother some people) came from this movie. Sure, Tenenbaums kicked it off – it has that epic plot, litany of movie stars, excruciating attention to detail which became standard – but I don’t think anyone knew this would become the template for all his movies going forward until Life Aquatic solidified it.

And in fairness to critics, this is the weakest of his big cast, wide ranging films (Darjeeling Limited is a much smaller movie in almost every regard, outside the road-trippiness). So when I first saw it, I couldn’t help but be somewhat disappointed, given the highs of his first films. But over time, I grew to appreciate all the mannered performances, the single-minded revenge plot, and the greatness of Bill Murray in a live-action Anderson film – something that, while it continues happening to the present day, doesn’t tend to occupy a large portion of screen time anymore. He cameos in Darjeeling, has a very brief role in The Grand Budapest Hotel, and gets slightly more to do in Moonrise Kingdom, but is still a relatively minor cog. And fair, you don’t want the same lead in all your movies – it’s been 15 years since Life Aquatic, maybe time for one last Oscar run for Bill in an Anderson flick?

Glorious

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Movies

The Set of 400: #319 – My Favorite Meal Ordering

Today! Because I don’t know about his face, but I think his brain might be pretty traumatized –

The Darjeeling Limited (2007)

Directed Wes Anderson

Starring Owen Wilson, Jason Schwartzman (x2), Adrien Brody, Anjelica Huston, Bill Murray (x2), Kumar Pallana, Waris Ahluwalia, Amara Karan, Irrfan Khan, Barbet Schroeder, Natalie Portman (x2)

In many ways the forgotten Wes Anderson movie, The Darjeeling Limited is a terrific little character study of brothers Peter, Francis, and Jack on a spiritual journey across India that turns out to be much more. As it unfolds, the struggle each brother has gone through in the year since their father’s death gets magnified and fleshed out, building toward a reunion with their mother, played by a wonderful Angelica Huston.

In ’07 this movie had a decent run, for an Anderson film, and had a bit of attention from critics at year end, but it tends to get swallowed in any discussion of the director’s films, largely I feel because of the size of it. Even though it’s the rare sweeping travelogue film in his universe, Darjeeling is a relatively small movie, focusing largely just on the brothers (all giving tremendous performances, with Wilson’s frantic, shattered Francis standing out) and not a litany of movie stars in minor roles, like virtually all other Anderson vehicles. It also occupies the chronological spot between Life Aquatic (more talked about, considering it first followed Rushmore and Tenenbaums), and Fantastic Mr. Fox (Anderson’s first foray into animation), leaving it as the less remarkable middle film. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Movies