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The film that established Wes Anderson as a major independent
filmmaking voice, after his very promising debut with 'Bottle Rocket'.
Quite simply one of the most original films about adolescence ever
made. An unlikely love triangle between a unique oddly brilliant 'cool geek'
teenager, his teacher and a local business tycoon that's
simultaneously funny, absurd and heartbreaking.
Jason Schwartzman is great, and Bill Murray may do his best work ever -
side-splittingly funny, but with a damaged, sad, sometimes dangerous
edge just under the surface.
As in all of Anderson's films, terrific use of songs as score,
wonderfully inventive transitions and visual framing. And a lot of fun.
The Criterion version has notably better
picture quality, and some terrific extras (the regular release is
pretty bare bones). It's more expensive, but worth it for a film
you're likely to return to repeatedly.
on April 30, 2004
I am a little surprised that so many other people failed to see the merits of this movie. First, this was not a typical predictable Hollywood movie with a predictable ending. Second, it was not a re-hash of some old story line with the same old actors. It is a very well written comedic coming of age movie. Few movies take the time or effort to develop complex, flawed and genuine characters, but director Wes Anderson apparently understands the value of doing so. The emotionally stagnating business tycoon Herman Blume is played brilliantly by Bill Murray - the disappointment he feels with his banal life and idiotic children is wrenchingly palpable. But Rushmore Academy student and quirky prodigy Max Fischer enters Herman Blume's dull life, renewing his enthusiam. The movie is both thought provoking and hilarious. Particularly enjoyable are Max's adaptations of "Serpico" and "Platoon" for the high-school drama club. Hands down this was the best comedy produced in the 90's. With the decade that produced MTV sex and bathroom joke frat boy movies, this film offers an intelligent script, cast of characters, and an excellent soundtrack.
on April 7, 2004
A story about an overachieving high school student and a depressed millionaire fighting for the love of a preschool teacher sounds too bizarre to be made into a Hollywood movie, right? Well, not for Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson. They came up with one of the smartest, most captivating screenplays in recent years and paired that with Anderson's fantastic and very personal style of directing, and with great casting for the lead roles. The result? Rushmore, one of the best movies you'll ever get a chance to see.
Max Fisher (Jason Schwartzman) is a high school student. He goes to Rushmore. He has it all figured out - he is an average student at best, but his extra-curricular activities can not be contained. He's the president, or founder, or director to almost every single group, club or association in the school, ranging from calligraphy and debate to sword fighting and go-kart racing. And, most of all, he's the head of the Max Fisher Players theater troup.
He meets Herman Blume (Bill Murray), a tired, depressed man who happens to be a millionaire . He has two annoying sons who go to school with Max. They hit it off and become friends - Max finds someone to look up to (other than his barber dad) and Blume finds someone that sparks the interest he lacks for everything else in life.
Enter Miss Cross (Olivia Williams). Max falls in love with her at first sight, but of course, she pays no attention to him, so he recruits Mr. Blume to help him win her, but in the process, he too falls in love with the teacher. What follows is a hilarious battle of wits between the two as both try to get the other out of the way.
Although this story alone would make a good movie, Anderson's writing and directing take this film to the next level. The setting of the film manages to remain contemporary while not being truly current (if that makes any sense). The supporting characters surrounding the leads are also interesting and capture your attention from the first moment (especially Wilson's brother Luke, the great Brian Cox as Max's principal and Seymour Cassel as Max's father).
Another key element of the film is its music. Anderson is one of those directors that 'gets' music and knows how to use it in his movies. I promise you that after watching this movie, you'll want to get the soundtrack to it.
Rushmore is truly a hidden gem, one of those great movies that almost no one saw at the theaters, but that has gained a somewhat large cult following . There is a great Criterion Collection DVD that you should check out to truly appreciate this work of art.
On a final, side note, Anderson and Wilson are the same team that brought us the also incredibly fantastic The Royal Tenenbaums (for which they were nominated for an Original Screenplay Oscar), also starring both Wilsons and Murray. As for Jason Schwartzman, he is another member of one of the most prolific Hollywood movies, the Coppolas - he's the grandson of Carmine Coppola, nephew of Francis Ford Coppola, son of Talia Shire, and cousin to Sofia Coppola, Nicolas Cage and Roman Coppola.
on December 29, 2003
I struck up my acquaintance with the work of Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson with the later The Royal Tenenbaums. I was not disappointed when I finally sat down to watch Rushmore. Anderson and Wilson have the extraordinary gift of being able to write characters and stories that are as deeply human and believable as they are absurdly surreal.
Like Tenenbaums, Rushmore is a film about vulnerable people finding their way through conflict to resolution and reconciliation. From my Christian point of view, I like to see it as GRACE. In the world of Rushmore, there is even hope for a washed-up old failure like tycoon Herman Blume (Bill Murray).
The filmmakers place in their world characters who are poles apart from one another: Rich and poor; English, Scottish and American; young and old; western and eastern. Somehow events conspire to show the characters their commonality; something breaks; and through the cracks we see glimpses of healing.
Performances are incredible. I have never been a fan of Murray, but after this, I can see myself fast becoming a devotee. Schwartzman veers brilliantly between suavely sophisticated and grimacingly geeky. Seymour Cassel is a talent I would like to see more of: His brief appearances here and in Tenenbaums are to be treasured. There is even an amusing turn from Mason Gamble, who doesn't seem to have aged a bit since Dennis the Menace.
The humour is subtle, yet hilarious to those with whom this brand of quirkiness resonates. For me, its funniness comes from the fact that the comedy is not arbitrary---no banana skins for banana skins' sake---but is made part and parcel of the characters, who they are and how they develop.
I know this is a film I will watch over and over, simply because it resonates me on the deepest level as a human being---contra the critics who say that Anderson and Wilson's films lack heart and warmth. My favourite films have always been about vulnerable people who find courage and a means to healing, and Rushmore does that with the best of them.
on March 24, 2003
....this is definitely my favorite film of the 90's hands down, nothing can compare and that's the truth.
The storyline's very original, and I can definitely relate to Max's character, and his situation both at school and at home, and with Bill Murray as well. Every single role in this movie was absolutely beautifully performed, and the casting was perfect.
This movie left me feeling very exhilirated, and it's definitely the kind of quirky upbeat picture that can really have an effect on your perceptions. This is a movie for eccentrics, I unfortunately have to say that not everyone will like this movie, in fact I'd venture that most people who saw it did not appreciate it and people who will see it in the future won't either, but this is a masterpiece, and that's not arguable.
I'd stress *everyone* to at least see this movie, after that form your own opinions and judgements, and decide if it's something you enjoyed or something that you absolutely detest (as with this movie it seems to be one of the two extremes all the time, I havn't seen much middle ground). If you enjoyed it, I salute you, and kudos on having some excellent taste. ...
On a side note, the soundtrack to this movie was absolutely spectacular, and I encourage any fans of the film to look into it.
on October 15, 2002
"Rushmore" centers on Max (played by Jason Schwartzman) who appears very intelligent, organized, and involved, but actually is one of the worst students in the academy. The fear of expulsion is ever hanging over his head. Still he manages to mold his reality towards his view and interpretation. Until he falls in love with a 1st grade teacher and battles for her love with a local tycoon played by Bill Murray.
Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman give us great performances, although Bill Murray sticks out due to his name. When you see him act, you expect him to be Bill Murray. In this role, he becomes the character. I can see why he was nominated for so many awards.
What is Rushmore to each of the characters? At the base, it is the elite academy at which Max is enrolled. Later, Max would mention that everyone has his Rushmore. Is this like a Waterloo, where everyone gets his comeuppance? Or, is it more like Holy Grail of sorts? All need a dream, but all need to have a firm does of reality.
If that doesn't make sense, it was intended. After watching this movie, you will ask yourself about what you just saw. I think this is a good thing and recommend seeing "Rushmore."
on October 13, 2002
Jason Schwartzman's portrayal of schmoozer par-excellence Max Fischer is one of the great performances in recent comedy. You cannot separate the two, Schwartzman is so wedded to his character. Yet, his depiction does not reek of "method" disingenuousness.
Max Fischer is a precocious and ingratiating young man who is already a "professional student" by aged 15 at the tony Rushmore Academy. He's sort of a male Tracy Flick (Reese Witherspoon's defining role in Alexander Payne's "Election"), a consummate extracurricular overachiever and president of every club in the yearbook. Unfortunately -- unlike Tracy -- this leaves Max with little time for his studies, in which he is failing miserably. Having sailed through school since second grade (when he was awarded a full scholarship to Rushmore for writing an original stage play based on Watergate, which one can infer was a ripoff of "All the President's Men" based on Max's later featured stage production, "Serpico: An Original Play by Max Fischer"), Max now sees that his days are numbered.
This nevertheless does not impel Max to putting his nose to the grindstone; Rather, he finds more intricate ways of manipulating the school's dean and using his wiles to establish his status as an unexpendable big man on campus. However, unlike the Ferris Bueller he imagines himself to be, Max is more an adolescent Walter Mitty, kind of a loner and dreamer.
As far as he is capable of a crisis of conscience, two interlopers in Max's life suddenly change his routine at Rushmore. Self-made industrialist and Rushmore alumnus Herman Blume (played by the irrascible Bill Murray) picques Max's interest one day with a wonderfully off-the-wall "get the rich boys in your crosshairs" speech before the spoiled children of privilege who people Max's school, reaching only Max, a barber's son (whom Max has promoted to neurosurgeon in his conversations with others). When Max gushes to Blume about his enthusiasm for his speech, Blume sees an opportunity to mentor Max. Meanwhile, Max has developed a crush on a first grade teacher at Rushmore, Miss Cross (Olivia Williams), which provides a few hilarious scenes as Max uses his full reserve of charm to woo the reluctant educator, who is mildly amused by Max's overconfident advances. It is at this point that "Rushmore" could devolve into a sappy ABC After School Movie like "Murder In Mew Hampshire," but director Wes Anderson instead handles the scenes farcically, in showing up Max more as Don Quixote than Don Juan.
In exchange for showing Max the ropes in the real world, Blume acts as Cyrano de Bergerac to Miss Cross, keeping tabs on her for Max, in hopes of arranging dalliances for Max and Miss Cross. Of course, like the real Cyrano, Blume falls in love (or rather, lust) with Max's Roxanne, and it is at this point that the movie really takes off.
For unbeknownst to Blume, it is Max -- and not he -- who is the mentor, and Blume who will soon be schooled, as he finds himself in an battle of wits with the prodigious saboteur. I won't give away the actual battle plan, but the scenes are both endearing and ingenious. Bill Murray really shines as Herman Blume, and is his best recent performance since sleazy bowler Ernie McCracken in "Kingpin."
Because of his lax attitude towards his studies, Max finds himself out on his ear at Rushmore anyways, and has to attend public school for the first time in his life.
Once ensconsed at Grover Cleveland H.S., Max is back to his old tricks, and uses his overachieving zeal among the apathetic students to hatch a grand scheme to finally win back (not that he ever had) Miss Cross: An extravagantly staged production of "Heaven and Hell," a script lifted mostly from "Apocalypse Now" and Oliver Stone's Vietnam-era movies. I was rolling on the floor during the staging, particularly when a couple of GIs were carrying a surfboard in front of the beachhead).
The movie ends wistfully, with the unrequited love between Max and Miss Cross still unfulfilled. By this time, Max has reluctantly given into the advances of a fellow student, Margaret Yang (played by the beautiful Sara Tanaka), who is initially rebuffed by Max as Miss Cross had previously turned down Max's romantic overtures.
"Rushmore" is a solid and offbeat movie that is a welcome detour from the hackneyed and formulaic comedies Hollywood is currently proferring. Its combination of social satire, screwball situations and sadistic slapstick places Wes Anderson in the same patheon with such directors as Martin Scorsese, Sidney Lumet, Oliver Stone and Francis Ford Copolla, all of whose work has been adapted for the stage by the inimitable Max Fischer.
on September 19, 2002
The first thing I do when reviewing a film on [online store] is look a the lowest marked reviews and find one I really hate then write the opposite (though I do mean what I say in them). Well after looking at the people who didn't like it cos it was 'boring' or 'had no story' I thought, "Well that's just their opinion."
This film is one of three in my collection which is usually lying out of it's box next to the player. The other two are Richard Linklater's 'Dazed and Confused' and 'Before Sunrise'. They make up a trio of films which can simply be enjoyed for their sentiment when you feel down or can engage your mind when you just want to watch a bloody good film.
'Rushmore' is gently funny. I suspect many may have come to it thinking comedy, high-school, geek, American Pie. It's not. It works because of the carefully observed oddities of it's characters. The use of music is lovely as it is in his lastest, 'The Royal Tenenbaums' and in general I can see nothing wrong with the film other than I always want more.
on July 22, 2002
This is probably one of the greatest movies ever made, and I'd just like to say that this review is going to be long because it will cover this movie, The Royal Tenenbaums, and Bottle Rocket, being that I'm too lazy to write a review for each of them separately, as well as covering the soundtracks. Here goes...
Rushmore is definitely the best movie out of all three, one because every singly actor in the movie is absolutely excellent, and not a singly role is played to anything less than an amazingly good degree. A good deal of emotions show up in the movie without becoming too involved in them, or in the sadness or sappy happiness of some scenes, and no doubt this is partially what ranks it above the other two Anderson films. The plot is a bit farfetched, but that's to be expected, and without question, that's a good deal of why this movie is so extremely interesting, and the characters and plot so fascinating. The most important thing here is the subtlety that was lacking in Tenenbaums, i.e. how Max subtley but coldly treats his father, and how he never shows it openly, but is ashamed, and how this slowly changes throughout the film. The soundtrack is unrivaled, but it was missing the track "I Am Waiting" a key track in the movie, during a dramatic scene. Also, I feel though the sountrack deserves its 5 stars, a couple of key artists were missing from the sountrack, such as The Velvet Underground, and The Thirteeneth Floor Elevators.
The Royal Tenenbaums-
I have some serious issues with this film, but without question, in some areas, it rivals both of Anderson's other films. To begin with this film over-saturates the audience with meladrama all the way through, every scene is depicted in a brown-ish color schemes, and all the characters as some kind of mental and emotional cripples, unable to even express emotion and only tying to make the audience feel bad for them. This takes away from the plot, and the few good perfermances, namely from Gene Hackman, Ben Stiller, and Bill Murray, considering that all other performances that had any real effects on the film were sorely lacking, and some (such as Owen Wilson's and Gwenyth Paltrow's) were all but completely laughable. In the end thoug, it ends well, lightens a bit, and some final scenes and narraration is presented well, and I'd give this film a three. I'd still urge you to see it, but it is lacking in the imagination and vibrancy that made Rushmore a great film. The sountrack to this film had a few good songs on it (I won't even go on about the degredation of Mark's compilations with this film). "Judy is a Punk" is probably the most standout song, and one of the few worth mention. I'd say overall the soundtrack is disappointing, and deserves maybe a 3.5.
I'm not even going to attempt to analyze this film, I've seen it twice, and I consider that it is so undertoned and over-saturated that it is barely worth watching, and the sountrack is only a bit better. Being that this was the debut film, it can be excused, though, and is perhaps worth seeing for some.
The true love triangle involves bonds of affections in all directions. It is Arthur, Guinevere and Lancelot and their tortured relationships rather than Rhett loving Scarlett who loves Ashley who loves Melanie. The true epic love triangle is difficult to carry off; recent case in point, "Pearl Harbor." However, in "Rushmore," we are once again fortunately enough to scale the heights of love the true love triangle.
If we follow the figurational logic of our paradigmatic example, then Bill Murray as Mr. Herman J. Blume is our Arthur, the king of all the limited world he surveys, but disenchanted with both his life and his wife. As our Lancelot we have Jason Schwartzman as Max Fischer, Mr. Extra-Curricular Activities at Rushmore, the prep school where in we lay our scene. The bond between the two is what comes first, with Blume seeing Max as the son he never had (he cannot abide the twins he does have), and Max seeing Blume as the father of his dreams (Max loves his father, but tells everyone his father is a neurosurgeon rather than a barber). It is Max who stumbles upon their Guinevere, Olivia Williams as Miss Rosemary Cross, a teacher at Rushmore. Recently a widow, she is amused and flattered by Max's attention (He saves the Latin classes as a token of his affection), but obviously does not know where to draw the line. When Blume becomes enamored of her as well, the relationship between the two males becomes, shall we say, strained.
Ironically, the more they go after each other, the more Blume and Max prove their true affinity for one another. Your assumption is that "Rushmore" will end when the dust has settled and we see if anybody is left alive on the battlefield, but writers Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson have higher aspirations. The three main actors all turn in marvelously understated and subtle performances (yes, even Murray), so even though the action is going over the top, the film does not. Every absurdity seems well grounded in the created reality of the world we are visiting. For this Anderson gets additional credit as director. "Rushmore" is a film that is wickedly funny without being wickedly cynical. The obvious double bill for this film would be "Election," which will only serve to underscore the effectiveness of the more subtle performances in "Rushmore."