on February 12, 2014
This was a charming and quirky movie! Well written, well acted, and well filmed... humourous and thought provoking... Highly recommended
Comedy is so subjective. Some people want American Pie, The Hangover, or the latest Eddie Murphy movie, while others prefer gentle indie comedies such as Little Miss Sunshine.
What makes you laugh?
I often think about my own sense of humor and it's difficult to pin down at times. I tend to avoid cheap laughs or things done for shock value, and I admire intelligent dialogue and quirky or original takes on everyday situations. One director who never fails to make me smile is Wes Anderson. He definitely falls into the quirky category, but there is so much more to his movies than that.
Rushmore is Anderson's second movie, coming two years after his debut, Bottle Rocket. Both movies were written with Owen Wilson, and they have a similar feel. Anderson is one of those directors who appears to make movies about nothing and it's easy to sit there wondering what you just watched. But, unlike many comedies, there are deeper themes present. I usually find myself thinking about Anderson's work several days after I see the movie. That's the case this time, and it's the main reason I am writing this review.
Rushmore stars Jason Schwartzman in his first role. He plays Max Fischer, who is a 15-year-old student at Rushmore, a private school. He's there because he wrote a play in second grade and won a scholarship. Most of the students have rich parents, but Max's father is a barber and Max has to lie and claim that he's the son of a brain surgeon in order to gain acceptance.
Max is struggling at school and is informed that he'll be expelled if he flunks another class. His main problem is not one of intelligence, it's his lack of focus. He takes on so many extracurricular activities that he doesn't have time to work on his grades. We see snippets of Max indulging in each of these activities, such as beekeeping and fencing, and these snapshots give the movie a lot of charm. It reminds me of Amelie and some of Jeunet's other work in that regard.
As usual, something feels odd in Anderson's world. This effect is heightened by the dialogue. For example, Max sounds as if he is much older. He talks so seriously and it's funny that someone of that age thinks the way he does. Watch him direct Serpico for the school play and you'll see just what I mean.
The heart of the story involves an unusual love triangle. Max befriends Herman Blume (Bill Murray), who is a wealthy tycoon and former student of Rushmore. They both develop feelings for Miss Cross (Olivia Williams), who teaches at the school.
I won't reveal any more of the plot, because it doesn't really matter. All you need to know is that Rushmore is a typical Wes Anderson film. He'll surprise you at times, make you laugh, and leave you wondering how he came up with such original ideas.
I should also mention Mark Mothersbaugh, who began his association with Anderson on this film by contributing to the soundtrack. Other music used in the film includes songs by The Kinks, The Who, The Faces, and John Lennon. They all add to the nostalgic tone and fit perfectly.
Owen Wilson doesn't appear in this one, but Luke and Andrew Wilson are both involved. If you appreciate quirky comedy, Rushmore won't disappoint.
The Criterion Blu-ray offers a superb presentation. Colors are natural throughout and you'll feel as if you are standing next to the characters. The special features are also noteworthy and the highlight is a 55-minute feature showing interviews with Murray and Anderson on the Charlie Rose Show. Fans of commentaries will be happy that Anderson, Owen Wilson and Schwartzman appear on the commentary track.
If you are curious about the appeal of Wes Anderson, Rushmore isn't a bad starting point. It won't work for everyone though.
Overall score 4.5/5
on May 16, 2004
This review is for the Criterion Collection DVD edition of the film.
In this movie, 10th grader Max Fischer falls in love with the widowed 1st grade teacher at his school. Max is the undisputed king of extrcurricular activites at his school. His grades have plummeted as a result and is in danger of expulsion. He later becomes the protégée of Herman Blume, the father of twin brother students at his school. His new mentor then falls in love with the teacher and in an act of revenge, Max exposes the affair to Herman's wife.
The DVD has excellent special features.
There is audio commentary by the writers of the film and actor Jason Schwartzmann who plays Max in the film, a "making of Rushmore" press film, short theatrical adaptations films released at the time Rushmore was which aired on the MTV movie awards, screen tests and audtions of the child actors and actress in the film, Chrlie Rose Show interview with actor Bill Murray and Director/co-writer Wes Anderson, and drawn storyboards with film comparison and, several pictures of props, drawings and other items from the film. There is also a foldout map showing key events in the film.
on March 2, 2004
I wish there were more movies like this one. It's totally off-the-wall, but has intelligence and a warm heart. At first, I wasn't sure if this movie was going to be my cup of tea: The kid and his friends just reek of weirdness.
But, I was hopelessly drawn to them in minutes, and interested in what they were going to do or say.
Bill Murray excels in this movie. Forget "Lost in Translation", THIS film contains his best work. He truly shows an emotional scale that ranges from A to Z.
The supporting oddball characters are mercilessly intriguing. Just when you think they're coming out of left field (or from another planet), they show their humanity. End result: you end up liking them...a lot.
The music is right on target, especially Cat Stevens. The instrumental portions are appropriately playful and memorable.
I loved this movie. It's a masterpiece.
The packaging is superb, and the DVD contains enough bonus material to make this one fine purchase. Yep, it costs a lot, but the old adage is true: You get what you pay for.
on March 1, 2004
This promises to be a more satisfying DVD than the mass-market edition as it offers many bonuses along with the very engaging movie. Rushmore took me by surprise when I first saw it. Jason Schwartzman's character, Max Fischer, has to be one of the most original high school protagonists to come along in a long time. He finds himself a square peg in a round hole at a prep school, concocting one fantastic scheme after another which livens up the otherwise dreary academic experience of Rushmore.
Bill Murray provides a remarkable performance as a self-made millionaire, Mr. Blume, whom young Max solicits for his grandest scheme yet, a multi-million dollar aquarium to please the young teacher he is so smitten by. This soon evolves into a very comic love triangle, with Max opting for some rather dark attempts at getting back at Blume for stealing his love interest. The object of affection is a very fetching Olivia Williams.
There are so many odd turns in this movie that it continually catches you by surprise. Most notable are the plays Max stages including a theatrical version of Serpico and one of the Vietnam War. But, probably the most touching scenes are those between Max and his father, played by Seymour Cassel. Max tries to distance himself from the lowly station of his father, a local barber, but eventually is able to reconcile himself with his father.
Max finally accepts that Miss Cross maybe a little too old for him, and places his affections in the more suitable Margaret Yang, having now been kicked out of Rushmore and finding himself having to face the trials and tribulations of public school. The movie is underscored by a fine soundtrack that includes Rod Stewart's Ooh La La, when he sang for the Faces. This is a great movie, ranking up there with Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Dazed and Confused as one of the best high school movies of all time.
on February 19, 2004
Rushmore is the greatest movie of all time. go buy it now. Jason Schwartzman is hysterical, and is also one hell of a drummer!
on January 16, 2004
For everyone who agrees that Rushmore is on par with any and all the other "greatest movies of all time", the Criterion Collection DVD will more than pay you back in value for the extra cash you throw down.
Granted, the play's the thing, ....Also granted, some Criterion titles are all prestige and no payoff (Seven Samurai anyone?). But this is one of the very few instances where the potential of DVD technology has been fully and briliantly exploited. You can read the list of special features for yourself in the product description. Let me assure you that the technical enhancements make this transfer look glorious even on a regular television, and the content of the commentary track and other extras truly add to the Rushmore Experience.
If you love this movie, the Criterion Collection version is worth the investment. And my local video guru tells me that it's now out of print, so if you've had it on the back burner, don't put it off much longer.
On a personal note, if Bill Murray doesn't finally win the Oscar this year for Bob Harris that he earned for Herman Blume in 1998, Hollywood should fall into the ocean.
on December 25, 2003
There isn't much I can't say about this film that hasn't already been said. This is a great comedy, and probably my favorite of Wes Anderson's films. It's awesome how much input he puts into the DVDs of his films thanks to Criterion. However, 35.99?!?!? You can get the Lord of the Rings: Extended Editions at Best Buy for 10 bucks cheaper, and they have far far more extras and hard work put into them. Do I recommend this DVD? Yes, but I'd recommend finding one used so you aren't dropping so much money. Try finding it for around 20 and you will be very satisfied.
on December 2, 2003
Rushmore, the creator's second film, showcases Anderson's orderly and painstakingly precise directorial style. The lighting ideal, the colors vibrant, and the music perfectly compatible, Wes Anderson emerges from Rushmore as perhaps the greatest director in the business today. The greatest thing about Anderson, even besides his proficient directing, is his intelligent writing of Rushmore, co-written by Owen Wilson. Rushmore tells the story of Max Fischer, a poor kid who goes to an exclusive private school, Rushmore, because he wrote "a little one-act about Watergate" when he was in the first grade. His mother's dying wish was for him to attend Rushmore Academy, and thus, Max was accepted. The problem with Max, however, is that, though he is very involved in the school and has started a countless number of extracurricular clubs and societies, he puts none of his attention on his schoolwork and his, consequently, put on academic probation and then asked to leave. In the process he meets Blume [Bill Murray], a jaded tycoon, and Miss Cross, a teacher at Rushmore--both who are fascinated with Max's precocity and ambition. They, however, fall in love with each other, despite Max's love for Miss Cross. This starts an infuriated Max to revenge Blume, who stole his girl, in many strange--if not exaggerated--ways. The music of Rushmore is comprised of nothing but British Invasion--The Who, The Creation, The Kinks, and John Lennon--and fits the defiantly youthful disposition of Max impeccably.
Unlike most comedies, Rushmore never falls into shoddy writing--because of the confidence of the writers, they can pull off any situation or line that they so choose. When asked how he's already got it "pretty figured out," Max replies, "The secret, I don't know...I guess you've just gotta find something you love to do and then do it for the rest of your life. For me, it's going to Rushmore." A line as fanciful as this is harder to construct than one might think, and in the hands of an unskilled writer the relation of such an idea would seem dishonest or untruthful. But, because the wording is just right, the line comes about very nicely. Though the writing is very good, Rushmore fails to make a succinct statement or to really relay a perceptible point, in the end. Though it can easily be surmised that the ending is meant to be an optimistic one--Max performing another of his plays and finding an age-appropriate girlfriend--the film does not close properly and thus incites confusion in the viewer. Max takes little interest in the girl and treats her poorly since his meeting her, and is even reluctant to call her his girlfriend, in the closing scene. The film, then, ends on a strange note--even the closing music [The Faces' "Ooh La La"] is cagey and mysterious--and you are unsure as to how you should feel. The Royal Tenenbaums, Anderson's next film, closes in a less ambiguous way: Though Royal has died, he has, indeed, finished what he set out to do. So, though Royal's death is sad, it is cheerful and nice, as well. Despite the objectionable conclusion, overall, Wes Anderson's Rushmore is a well-written and superbly directed film.
on November 25, 2003
The combination of great acting, story, music, direction, and dialogue adds to the experience. From Bill Murray's one liners to Jason Schwartzman's mannerisms, you will find that it is the subtle nuances that make this movie enjoyable. You will find it all in this movie.