Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Toy Story

 Andy's bedroom undergoes many changes throughout the Toy Story series, depending on Andy's current interests/obsession.  His room begins in the first Toy Story with a Western theme because he loves Woody, then changes to an outer-space theme when he prefers Buzz.  In Toy Story 3, Andy's room is cluttered with both childhood and adolescent memorabilia.  He must get rid of his toys (childhood) in order to move forward into adulthood.  Though Andy's early room themes might seem extreme and somewhat obsessive, they do well to illustrate the fleeting and ever-changing desires of (most) children.

Ghost World

Enid and Seymour of Ghost World are both stuck in the past, but in different ways.  Enid's obsession with the 1960's, Punk, and really anything retro, represents her fight against conformity.  She sees her best friend becoming society's picture of a young lady: one who wears muted colored clothing, has a strong desire for independence and carrying out domestic chores--the idea of ironing clothing, for example, is exciting for Enid's friend Rebecca.  Enid tries to balance her disappointment with Rebecca by befriending Seymour, a 40-something, vest-wearing, record-collecting outcast.

Seymour appears to be living in the wrong era.  He has a stubborn taste for old jazz, record players, antiques.  He is a misanthrope, making it hard for him to socialize.  Enid comes around and presents herself as a kindred spirit...Really she admires Seymour more as an intriguing relic than an equal.  In the end, Enid relinquishes her resistance to change, while Seymour is duped to remain the same.

The Royal Tenenbaums

In The Royal Tenenbaums, bedrooms vividly describe cartoon-like characterizations of Chas, Richie and Margot. The viewer draws generalizations about the characters from the items in their rooms. Margot's room contains dozens of plays, posters of her own productions, and constructions of mini stage sets. She is an artist, writer, a storyteller. Chas's room is absurdly functional, and organized. He is a numbers guy, a businessman. Richie's room is less obvious. His walls are adorned with his portraits of sister Margot. He has a private sleep tent in the middle of his room filled with memorabilia of his times with Margot, and his youth. Though his "genius" is in sports, tennis, specifically, through his bedroom we see that he is a sentimentalist at heart.

A note about Eli's living room (we don't see his bedroom): While the Tenenbaum three are also lost souls with major voids in their lives, Eli is perhaps the most lost of the mid-thirties generation. He spends his adult life, not searching for his true identity, but trying his best to be noteworthy, famous. The extremely bizarre and edgy paintings in his living room represent his desire to seem interesting and "genius" to others.

Pee-wee's Big Adventure

Pee-wee is a truly obsessive character. Pee-wee's Big Adventure begins with Pee-wee's morning routine, which follows him running-a-muck in his house playing with...things.

He is obsessed with THINGS. Retro, childlike, but physical things. Actually, Pee-wee (inexplicably) appears to have everything he wants in life, his bike being his favorite thing. His collection of things, and his life, is complete, until his bike gets stolen. That is the inciting event that drives the rest of the film. The conflict: Pee-wee needs to get his bike back in order to regain his balance in life.