My favorite is the Rolling Stones two-fer of ‘She Smiled Sweetly’ and ‘Ruby Tuesday’ that plays during Margot and Richie Tenenbaum’s encounter in the tent. I especially like that those songs don’t appear in that order on the band’s Between the Buttons. Anderson created an alternate-universe version of that record’s track list because it suited his film.
But I knew ‘Ruby Tuesday’ quite well before seeing this movie (both as a song and a restaurant with a pretty good salad bar). So I didn’t consider it for this list. Not when I have another song, unknown to me prior to seeing it here, that works this well.
‘These Days’ – The Royal Tenenbaums
The Richie and Margot relationship is at the heart of The Royal Tenenbaums. Their forbidden romance is the root of her depression and promiscuity and his suicide attempt, the film’s most devastating plot point.
So Anderson made sure he got their reunion early in the film right, by using super slo-mo and digging up a Nico cover of Jackson Browne’s ‘These Days’ to score the scene. As Margot steps off of the Green Line bus, the movie slows way down and the viewer lives in this 10-second moment for a minute and a half.
It’s a delicate and moving interlude in a truly sublime film.
I don’t do that much talking these days
These days I seem to think a lot
About the things that I forgot to do
And all the times I had the chance to
I stopped my rambling
I don’t do too much gambling these days
These days I seem to think about how all the changes came about my way
And I wonder if I’ll see another highway
I had a lover
I don’t think I’d risk another these days
And if I seem to be afraid
To live the life that I have made in song
It’s just that I’ve been losing so long
I stopped my dreaming
I won’t do too much scheming these days
These days I sit on cornerstones
And count the time in quarter tones to 10
Please don’t confront me with my failures
I had not forgotten them