Rushmore (1998)

by Paul on October 1, 2012

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My Hall Of Fame


In 1998, Wes Anderson released his second directorial effort, Rushmore. It was well received by critics and audiences everywhere and has remained a favorite film among movie lovers everywhere.  In addition to its successes, it changed theRushmore careers of many people involved and enabled Anderson to continue his style of filmmaking on all of the movies he has made since.

Max Fischer (Jason Schwartzman) is a fifteen-year-old student at Rushmore Academy. He is an eccentric, overly ambitious young man who desperately needs to focus more on his studies and less on his extra curricular activities. The school’s headmaster (Brian Cox) warns Max that if he fails another class, he will be expelled from Rushmore. Herman Blume (Bill Murray) is a millionaire businessman who has given up on life, until he meets Max and becomes intrigued by his flare for life. Max becomes infatuated with one of the first grade teachers named Rosemary Rushmore(Olivia Williams) and tries to seduce her into a sexual relationship. Although Rosemary is amazed by Max and his lust for life, she doesn’t have these same feelings for Max. Over time, Rosemary and Herman begin an affair that ends up costing Herman his family, his self-respect, and his friendship with Max. Not only is Max unlucky in love, but he also gets expelled from school and is forced to find his place in the world outside of Rushmore.

With Rushmore, director Wes Anderson became an overnight critical sensation. His previous film (Bottle Rocket) was received well, but didn’t have a wide spread following. Rushmore showed the cinematic world that Anderson was a creative force in filmmaking, and that his offbeat style and darkly comic scripts were going to be around for years. The script (co-writtenRushmore by Owen Wilson) was completely original and extremely witty. Even today it remains a movie that is full of laughs.

In addition to the film itself, Rushmore is always going to be remembered (and praised) as the film that brought Bill Murray out of the comedic trap that he was in, and showed his ability to play a more serious role. In the years before Rushmore, Bill Murray had starred in such films as The Man Who Knew To Little (1997), Larger Than Life (1996) and Mad Dog And Glory (1993). He also did some supporting roles in the films, Kingpin (1996), Space Jam (1996) and Ed Wood (1994). Although most of these movies have a fair share of laughs for long time Bill Murray fans, overall he appears to be tired of playing similar roles. The role of Herman was written with Murray in mind, Rushmore although Anderson and Wilson never realistically imagined he would consider actually starring in Rushmore. Luckily, Murray was eager to be part of this film, and now his career is forever changed. Murray’s subsequent films have been a perfect combination of dramas and comedies, culminating with his Academy Award nominated role in Lost In Translation (2003). Since Rushmore, Murray has played a role in every Wes Anderson movie.

The largest problem with comedic movies is that over the years they often become dated, and cease to be as funny as they originally seem. Rushmore is one of the exceptions to this rule. Every time I have sat down to watch Rushmore over the last 13 years, I walk away smiling. Its warm relationships and constant humor make it a must see for cinema lovers, as well as being one of my all time favorite comedies.

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