Top positive review
Go back to school at "Rushmore" Academy...
on June 4, 2002
I have decided that we need more films like this one. I propose to start a club dedicated to making good, quality films. Even if it's without the approval of the Dean.
Or we could just talk about how great this film is.
"Rushmore" stars the son of Talia Shire("Rocky"), Jason Schwartzman(of the highly-awful SLACKERS) in his debut performance as an overachieving student of Rushmore Academy named Max Fischer. Max does everything one could possibly do at a school except for keeping his grades high which suffer due to all the activites he works on. He runs clubs dedicated to stamp-collecting, astronomy, fencing, and debating, just to name a few and when he's not doing all this, he's directing "hit-plays" like SERPICO, based off the film of the same name.
His friends consist of Dirk(Mason Gamble), his chapel-partner; Mr. Bloom(Bill Murray in a quiet, understated breakthrough performance), the owner of a metal/construction-plant; Bert Fischer(Seymour Cassel), his father; and his love, "Miss Cross"(the beautiful Olivia Williams)...
It ain't that easy, unfortunately. For someone who has done it all, Max doesn't have it all. He's only Dirk's friend because he likes his mother, he likes Mr. Bloom because he mistakenly thinks Bloom thinks the same way he does, him and his father are close but are more like friends and Mrs. Cross doesn't want to be romanitcally involved with Max because Max is a minor, for the love of God. On top of all of this, his fellow peers can't stand him as he ruthlessly and sadistically uses them to achieve his fame and steer his ship, the school he calls Rushmore Academy.
RUSHMORE is beautifully written by Owen Wilson and Wes Anderson, well-acted, expertly directed and at times, slightly touching.
Bill Murray turns in an expert-performance and Jason Schwartzman is equally good. The fantasically set-up cinematography is a thing of beauty, a work of art, almost as if it came out of a master-director's playbook. The art-direction is like something out of a science-book from the sixties complete with the generic-yearbook font. And it all comes together to form a mosaic, ironically like one of Max's stage-plays.
The funny thing about it is, this seems to be a surreal tale of kids and adults battling in a scholastic enviornment, but it's really about a group of mature adults, getting through their respective lives, discovering who they are, growing up to be the adults they've longed to be. It could be taking place in the real world in a business office, a tale set in an ancient society, or a small town in America, but it doesn't. The performers aren't supposed to play the characters they're assigned, yet like a Max Fischer Production, here they are. The setting is at a school, and the storyline remains the same, yet the characters are changed slightly...you can interpret this film many ways.
The Criterion Collection DVD is one of the best I have ever seen. Great sound and picture and the extras! My, oh my! You get a featurette on the making of the film, Charlie Rose interviews Wes Anderson and Bill Murray, a great audio-commentary track by the filmmakers and actor, Schwartzman, an amusing set of stage-plays based on OUT OF SIGHT, ARMAGEDDON, and THE TRUMAN SHOW that will crack you up if you've seen all three films, cast auditions, storyboards, posters...this is a great DVD, just like the film.
Go to Rushmore. You won't be disappointed. One of the best films of 1999.