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Joe’s Wacky Movie Reviews! – “Rushmore”

This entry was posted on Aug 22 2011

Rushmore is a 1998 comedy-drama, written¹ and directed by Wes Anderson. This is sort of a Wes Anderson redemption for me, since the first experience I had with The Royal Tenenbaums, a movie I didn’t care for, but plan to re-watch and reevaluate. Since then, I’ve watched (and loved) The Squid and the Whale (though only produced by Anderson, you absolutely feel his impact) and now Rushmore. Rushmore is the first film in sometime that I’ve really enjoyed. I’m watching many movies these days (hence the blog) and have begun to experience them a little less. It’s kind of like, if you’re around comedy constantly, you know what’s funny, but may not necessarily laugh. It’s not that it becomes mundane, but you certainly get used to it’s presence.

Before watching Rushmore, I would have made fun of Wes Anderson's lame, hipster movie poster. But now, I praise him for his originality and inventiveness!

Rushmore features a very modern and progressive fifteen year old named Max Fischer (Jason Schwartzman²), who befriends two adults and begins advanced relationships with each. One of the relationships is with Herman Blume (Bill Murray), who is the father of twins Max attends school with. Blume is a middle aged man who’s childish, self-loathing, and suffers from perennial loneliness. The two of them would develop an odd kinship, both respecting the qualities in each other that the former lacks. The second relationship Max begins is with a recently widowed teacher at Rushmore Academy, Rosemary Cross (Olivia Williams³). Max yearns for something more emotional from the relationship, while Cross finds Max fascinating, seeing many of her late husband’s characteristics in the boy.

Max Fischer is an extremely bright and gifted boy who spends so much of his time giving back to the school he adores by captaining, founding, and participating in various clubs and extracurricular activities, that he finds himself failing all of his classes, and facing expulsion. Rushmore Academy is his entire life, that is, until he meets Ms. Cross.

Rushmore is ultimately witty, clever, and very smart. It’s dry and precise, with each word delivered by each character deliberately. Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson craft lines that resonate with the audience, and make you delve deeper into what said character is really trying to say. In my opinion, the funniest moment in the movie is a dinner attended by Max, Mr. Blume, Ms. Cross, and Ms. Cross’ friend, Peter (Luke Wilson). The dinner takes place after one of Max’s plays (which is a huge hit, according to Max). Needless to say, Max isn’t thrilled to meet Peter, a guest of his beloved Ms. Cross, who wasn’t invited to the play, nor the meal. With one whiskey and soda in him (courtesy of Mr. Blume), Max proceeds to denigrate Peter at every corner, mocking him openly with severe condescension. Though Ms. Cross blames Mr. Blume for Max’s outburst, I suspect that his disdain for Peter was the cause for the commotion, rather than the alcohol. The conversations that occur at the table are patronizing and hilarious.

It's hard to ignore the ugliness, but it gets easier as the movie progresses. Make more Bored To Death, Jason!

Wes Anderson is making his case loud and clear. I will at some point re-watch The Royal Tenenbaums, and I don’t think it will be too long before I give The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou a chance. Anderson creates original and compelling characters. They all have tremendous quirks and speak far differently from each other. Though I don’t remember enjoying The Royal Tenenbaums, the one compliment I can recall making was about the characters. Rushmore was a damn good watch, and if you haven’t seen it yet, make it a priority. What a film to start Joe’s Wacky Movie Reviews!

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1) Rushmore was co-written by Owen Wilson, who, along with his brother Luke, frequently collaborate with Wes Anderson on various projects, including: Bottle Rocket, The Royal Tenenbaums, and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. I’m very impressed that Owen Wilson is as good a writer as he is an actor. I think both Owen and Luke are exceptional in almost every role I’ve seen them in, and yes, I’m taking Idiocracy into consideration when I say this.

2) One of the only problems with this film is that Jason Schwartzman is about eighteen when he acts in Rushmore. He’s hideous in this movie. Of course he eventually grows into his looks (to appear normal enough), but at this age he’s this oval faced, weird looking kid. Big nose, stupid hair, and glasses. Luckily, the movie was good enough to distract me, but damn…

3) Olivia Williams just isn’t attractive. Sure, she has a “nice” face, and appears to be a good person, but she’s nothing I would have obsessed over in 10th grade. I was all about huge breasted blonde sluts. And oh man, she hasn’t made one relevant movie since this one. Give up!

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