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.
on July 22, 2002
This movie is perfect in every way, though I will admit that it is not for everyone. My (ex)girlfriend and I had a long distance relationship, and I urged her to see this movie. She did, and she hated it. I have said in other forums that this is a "litmus test" movie, I didn't realize how accurate that was. The casting is brilliant, the story is brilliant, and the movie is extremely funny. But through it all, there is this melancholy undertone that I really connected with. I wish I could say I was like Max when I was in high school- but I wasn't. I was a smart aleck, though, and I thought I knew everything about everything. I guess that is what strikes a chord with me- the Max character does everything that I WISH I could have done back then, but still... there is this innocence about him that is really touching. I really wish that I could have watched this movie with my girlfriend, I think she would have gotten a lot more out of it. Oh well, as Max would say, C'est la vie.
The Criterion collection edition is absolutely brilliant. The most important feature is the full length audio commentary, featuring Mr. Wilson, Mr. Anderson, and Mr. Schwartzman. Watch this movie a couple of times, and then put on that audio track. It opens you up to a whole world that you didn't even notice the first couple of viewings.
on January 26, 2001
By far one of the best films that has come out in recent film history. I don't even know where to begin. From the amazing script that is just one long enjoyable ride of dark humor to the incredible performances of Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman, Olivia Williams et al to even the music which pulls from classic Brit Invansion tunes. Considering that I bought the Criterion Edition, I feel that a review of that edition is in order.
This is why DVDs were invented. It includes the movie, of course, but a great commentary from director Wes Anderson, coscreenwriter Owen Wilson and actor Schwartzman. It also has a great behind the scenes documentary, by Anderson's brother. The 1999 MTV movie awards clips, where the Max Fischer plays reproduce scenes from Truman Show, Armageddon and Out of Sight is brillaintly, and a great addition to this DVD. There are even interviews with Murray and Wes Anderson from the Charlie Rose show! Even after watching the movie this DVD kept me completely engrossed for hours. It even includes a section called color bars...those lovely "this is only a test of the emergency broadcasting system" bars that we all grew up to love.
So if you haven't scene this movie yet, you are missing out on an American classic. And if you have seen it and are looking for the right way of adding it to your movie collection the Criterion Edition is the perfect choice.
on December 12, 2000
*Rushmore* is the story about a misfit who starts out at a tony private school called Rushmore, where he's a key member in every ridiculous club that the school has, but ends up, due to academic absent-mindedness, at a very typical public high school. The point is, of course, how can such an oddball fit in? should he bother? Wes Anderson, the director, answers with a resounding "NO!"
Max Fischer (brilliantly played by Jason Schwartzman) is merely the LEAD oddball in this movie. There are many others, not the least being a scabrous Bill Murray in a supporting role as Herman, a Rushmore alumnus. Both Max and Herman make the mistake of falling for Olivia Williams, who is pretty much right in the middle of them, age-wise. Astonishingly, Anderson doesn't make these separate crushes seem ridiculous. Max's lovelorn state, indeed, might bring back to some viewers some of the inadvised crushes they went through in their own youth.
There's a lot of goofiness in this movie, arguably too much goofiness. Max's student play, a Vietnam phantasy, replete with ear-plugs that come with the program (due to actual shooting of blanks on stage), might be just a bit overdetermined -- does he really have to be THAT crazy? Well, no and yes: creating memorable characters such as these carries the risk of overdoing it. *Rushmore* is the kind of movie where the director presents many items for your perusal; you can laugh at whatever you wish. Or not. Happily, Anderson doesn't try so damn hard. Writers and directors who aspire to comedy should duly take note.
on July 21, 2002
This movie is sheer brilliance. It's hard to tell whether this movie is a romantic comedy, or a coming-of-age drama. The plot circles around Max Fischer, who is an over-ambitious, extra-curricular high school student, whom befriends a Mr. Herman Blume. Both Max and Blume fall in love with the attractive and interesting first grade teacher, Miss Cross. The love triangle affects Blume's and Max's relationship in both a humorous and somewhat saddening way. All three characters are well-defined and the directing and photography are simply beautiful, with the use of the fall season to set the background. Every single line of the film is said with such a brilliant charm, it has to be seen to be believed. Many will not find a whole lot of comedy in this film without repeated viewing, but it is well worth it. The fact that Max is virtually blind to the age difference between him and Miss Cross brings a smile to my face with every viewing. Also, Mr. Blume sees himself within Max's personality, and is probably some of the reason that they form a friendship in which they both respect each other and resent each other. In the end, they find their relationship to be a great treasure, and is one of the reasons this film is so beautiful. I don't know whether this is a comedy or drama, but I love it, and those who don't might want to give it another or even a few more chances. The features on this DVD are both incredibly entertaining, and very insightful. Definitely Criterion status.
on September 3, 2000
This is truly a one-of-a-kind film, which shows a refreshingly unique view of adolescence.
Now, granted, I also enjoyed "American Pie", and the other films along that line. However, "Rushmore" shows much greater depth and heart than those rather formulaic teen romps.
Bill Murray is absolutely brilliant, wonderfully downplaying his trademark wry sense of humor. The Academy really messed up by not acknowledging him at Oscar time. Schwartzman is really a gifted young actor, and, if there is any justice, he will be around longer than any of the alleged hunky, flavor-of-the-month types that litter most films about adolescence. Olivia Williams is great, and, unlike Shannon Elizabeth, doesn't have to take off her clothes to be sexy.
This film shows a unique mix of angst and humor, fluctuating between moments of sadness, and fall-on-the-floor laughter. Furthermore, the soundtrack is SUPERB. Only a movie this unique could support a unique combination of music ranging from The Who to Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo.
Great movie. One-of-a-kind. No pie.
on May 16, 2000
First of all, a big "shame on you" to all the people who totally panned this movie. It's not bad, but not the artistic masterpiece the people who loved it make it out to be. When you love something, you tend to get a bit biased. I first saw this movie on video due to missing it in the week long run it had at the local art house. I was entertained, but something was lacking. I couldn't relate with the main character, Max, as I feel the intended theme was. I found the character annoying and void of a reason to sympathise with. I liked Bill Murray's role and wished he had gotten more screen time. I would rate this movie as it is: Anderson's sophomoric film endeavor. It's a nice homage to the teen that tried (like the film "Lucas" just not as Hollywood). It's not as "haha" funny as it is a subtle funny, so don't get fooled into thinking you'll be belly-rolling out of your chair. It's entertaining if you don't relate with the main character, but if you do, I'm sure it's a gem to treasure always; it just isn't for me. Rent it before you go out and throw down $30 on the Criterion version.
on February 1, 2003
Max Fischer tells us that the secret of life is to find something you enjoy and do it for the rest of your life. For Max, it was going to Rushmore. For Herman Blume, it was a never ending quest to find "his Rushmore". And that is the basis for the sophomore effort from director Wes Anderson and his screenwriting partner Owen Wilson. A good part coming of age story of both young and old and part dry comedy, Rushmore excels on every level with an outstanding ensemble cast, a obscenely witty and smart screenplay, intricate set design, and the perfect 60s Mod soundtrack of coming of age music.
Max Fischer (Jason Schwartzman) is a middle class teenager who gained a scholarship to the prestigious Rushmore private school (he wrote a one act Watergate play in the first grade) and he's a star in dozens of extra curricular activities which have a negative effect on his class work. Max's chapel partner Dirk Calloway seems to be Max's only real friend and acts as Max's assistant (because you need one when you have ambitions like Max does). Max is able to have a incredible clout at Rushmore and he's skirted around the grades issue before by sweet-talking his way with the administration.
Enter Henry Blume (Bill Murray) a wealthy industrialist whose sons are idiots, marriage is falling apart, and he's enamored with Max Fisher because he seems have the self contentment Blume can only dream of. They enter an unlikely friendship where Max is the son Blume never had and Blume is the man with the pocketbook who can help Max's over ambitious projects come to fruition. One catch, they're both in love with the same woman, Rosemary Cross (Olivia Williams), a widowed elementary teacher at Rushmore. We're never sure why anyone here would really be attracted to each other but that adds to the fun.
The film is quite endearing, which is carried by the amazing performance of Schwartzman whose Max will one minute have you pity him and the next mad as hell. Max's ambitions early in the picture are all of triumph, but soon they get out of control and he's lost. Our 3 central characters are all alone but seem to continuously destroy their relationships with each other because they seem to be afraid to be happy. The sad soul lying underneath the film makes the character's final triumph all that much more sweet. Before the end Max has to allow himself to find his "Rushmore" outside of his former school, Blume needs to come to terms with his middle age monotonous life, and Miss Cross needs to move past her deceased husband. Only one man can make this happen and that's Max Fischer who ultimately does this through the help of Dirk and the new girl in his life Margaret Yang at his new school, Grover Cleveland, who like Dirk has appreciation of Max's mass aspirations.
At any point Anderson and Wilson could have let their story tread into standard coming of age ground but throughout it stays fresh and vibrant. We have to tip our cap to Max's glorious ambitions because we'd never have the audacity to even think about such things while Max acts on them. Bill Murray brings in the performance of his career as he manages the bulk of the deadpan humanity of the picture that is slapped on every frame. Like Max, we don't know why we should even care for this man but we do, and the same can be said about the picture in general. We're not sure why we like it, but we do.
on April 29, 2003
"Rushmore" so obviously wants viewers to enjoy themselves that the film will register with many as very good entertainment and little more.
Persistent viewers find that "Rushmore" is also a film of rare meticulousness, in which something as seemingly minor as a school teacher's classroom number, on screen for about 2 seconds, may resonate on three distinct levels. "What is this movie doing, how, and why?" is a question some viewers are unlikely to ask of any film, but for those so inclined, "Rushmore" provides an embarrassment of riches in return.
The storytelling style of "Rushmore" is highly elliptical; what it doesn't show is frequently as important as what it does. We don't find out that the barber cutting Max's hair is his father until Max produces a failed geometry test and dryly intones, as though asking for a little more off the sides, "By the way. I need your signature on this," establishing in one deft stroke Max's alienation from his own background.
Later, though we see Margaret's remote-controlled airplane arrive and depart from where Max and Dirk are flying a kite, Margaret herself is shown neither arriving nor departing: she is simply and suddenly present on the tarmac. Likewise, her presence in Max's heart will be noticed by him in the course of this scene with the same abruptness.
What makes "Rushmore" so moving is that within its ingenious technical framework, beneath its beguiling artifice beats a whole community of hearts. Everyone in the movie is a person, frequently a deeply damaged person defined in some way by death. Max, who lost his guiding light when cancer took his mother 8 years before, is a young man of protean ambition and perfect self-absorption who fails to realize his weakness until he's run out of people to hurt. Herman, whose great professional success in no way helps the part of him stuck in Vietnam, is permanently estranged from his wife, his sons, hope and life itself. Rosemary has pledged eternal devotion to a deceased lover who is incomparable to anyone except -unfortunately for all- 15 year-old Max.
Though nominally a comedy, the film manages a tonal breadth equal to that of any film one might care to mention- from the giddiness of first love to the blankness of the umpteenth heartbreak, and everything in between, without grinding a single gear, probably because sadness is latent in even its funniest moments, and humor lights the edges of even its most depressive ones.
By the end of the film and the sublimely off-kilter "Heaven and Hell Cotillion", featuring Django Reinhardt's balmy guitar, it seems as if the director is gathering all of his characters together one last time to make up, in some small way, for all the trouble they've gone through. The "Cotillion" seems to exist, as well, to allow the audience one last chance to bask in redemption, and watch reconciliation flow like wine before returning to a real world where both are a good deal more scarce.
on February 1, 2002
In his films, Wes Anderson has created a world populated with his unique kind of people. And believe me it is a amazingly beautiful world. "Rushmore" is one of the most famous works of his, and it has became a cult flick world wide.
It is a story of a 'nerd' called Max (Jason Schartzman), whose life is devoted to his well concepted school, Rushmore. Everything is his life has to do somehow with his school. Accidentally he comes across both Mr Blume and Miss Cross -- two people who will change his life forever. They introduce Max to love, friendship and some other things of the real world -- a place to which Max is not very used.
"Rushmore" --the movie -- is melancholic, funny and deeply lyrical. It seems to me that the film is a metaphor of the Rites of Passage -- the ritual that transforms the teenager into an adult. Rushmore -- the school -- is a metaphor of the world, where in this little place, Max can experience all those things that he will face through his life, such as love, friendship, betrayal, rejection and some others that we all have to face sooner or later.
The two who change Max's life are played by Olivia Willians and Bill Murray. She is a widowed teacher for whom he falls, despite she being a bit older than him, and this platonic love affair is the first contact that Max has with the mysterious world of women. This relationship must have to do with the Oedipus Complex somehow, once Max's mother died when he was only 7. I think that Mr Blume represents what Max wants to be when is older -- i.e. wealthy and important. But these two poles will give Max their back, and this is when he seems his dreams falling into pieces.
But it is not a sad film, although it is very melancholic. The soundtrack has an important role in this story. It is perfect and every song played there does extremely fine with the character's mood and with the sequences. Anderson's direction and script -- written along with his pal Owen Wilson -- is so good that makes easy to understand why so many people love this flick.
If you have seen "Rushmore", you understand what I mean. If you haven't, go and see it. Give this gift to yourself. You won't regret!!!