The incorporation of hardcore action scenes is refreshing, and the first act had my hopes up, but laughs and interest fall off quickly.
I understand those who think the movie presents a moral double-standard, but I personally read it as being about a man who doesn't learn a lesson until late in life, and thinks he deserves to go to hell over it. It gets complicated because the film is also about the value of breaking from social conformity.
Just on a scene-by-scene basis, this is superbly written.
It's curious how many reviews on here say this is way better than they remembered it being. There was obviously something askew about blockbuster expectations in 1996, and I'm not sure what that was, but it brings me to two points...
1) The plotting of this movie was criticized as too convoluted at the time, while watching it now, it's relatively tight. Which is to say, you can identify what this movie is about more clearly than the strung together…
This is the only time I have ever felt the need to do such a thing, but I confess that I no longer agree with my initial review of a movie. When THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS opened twelve years ago, I found it excruciatingly "precious" and "delightful." In a sense, I was reacting against a self-obsessed movement in indie rock and cinema that seemed to value personal neuroses as the grand height of expression. And Anderson (even though I loved RUSHMORE…