101 Funniest Screenplays

Writer-director Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson met in a playwriting class at the University of Texas at Austin. After Bottle Rocket and Rushmore, they co-wrote The Royal Tenenbaums, which really established Anderson as part-ironist and part-fantasist, with a particular interest in bespoke, period detail. Anderson has said his family of New York grandees was partly inspired by the novels of Fitzgerald, Wharton and Salinger. The charlatan dandy Royal, his estranged wife Etheline, and their three prodigies – all left marooned in unhappiness as adults – do seem to owe a debt to Salinger’s indelible Glass family. The film derives a great bit of its humor from the structure, aping a brick-length work of prose, but told in highlights (complete with the dulcet tones of Alec Baldwin’s voice-over narration). The story covers many years and sub-plots, from the 1960s onward, while the characters remain frozen in their own quirky, pseudo-contemporary epoch.