And You Call Yourself a Film Buff?! Rushmore

Written by Alex Gibson on . Posted in And You Call Yourself a Film Buff, Film Buff, Jason Schwartzmann, Rushmore, Tags, Wes Anderson

All’s fair when love is war.

I have always been a Wes Anderson fan. Ever since I was exposed to his stunning cinematography and beyond-quirky characters in The Royal Tennebaums, I have been on the Wes Anderson bandwagon. However, there have been and still are some notable gaps in my knowledge. Although I have seen and very much enjoyed Moonrise Kingdom, The Darjeerling Limited, and, my personal favorite, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, I have yet to see Bottle Rocket or Steve Zissou. Tremendous oversights, I know, but at least now I can say that I’ve closed the gap somewhat after watching Anderson’s second feature film Rushmore.

I have to be honest – I did not like Rushmore as much as I thought I would. As I was watching it, I found myself wishing I were watching a different Wes Anderson movie. Nonetheless, it was very enjoyable. The film is, of course, about a 15-year-old prep schooler named Max who falls in love with a teacher and does whatever he can to win her over, including breaking ground on a piranha holding aquarium on the baseball diamond of Rushmore Academy. It stars Anderson staples Jason Schwartzman and Bill Murray, and was co-written by Anderson and Owen Wilson.

My favorite part of any Wes Anderson film is the offbeat characters, like the nine-fingered adopted daughter Margot, the over-zealous Scout Master Ward, or his incarnation of the precocious chicken-hunting Mr. Fox. In Rushmore, there are several quirky little characters – heckling Irishman Magnus, study falsifying Margaret Yang, etc. The most Andersonian character by far is the main character, Max. He is simultaneously completely juvenile, joining or founding every club imaginable in the interest of making friends, and oddly adult, pitching and getting funding for the construction of the aforementioned aquarium. Max is an interesting and original character and I enjoyed watching him navigate his first love, his attempts at winning friends, and his foray into the world of public school.

As I watched Rushmore, I recognized how this would be a stepping stone to Anderson’s later films. There are several hallmarks that Anderson fans have come to know and love, but some other trademarks are not necessarily there. His later films feature ensemble casts of fiercely odd characters and it’s entertaining to see how they interact and fit together like puzzle pieces.

Even though I did not like Rushmore as much as I wanted to, it has not, in anyway, lessened my affection for Wes Anderson’s movies. Just the opposite, in fact – it has reminded me that Wes Anderson was, even as a younger filmmaker, brilliant. Watching Rushmore has revitalized my endeavor to complete my education…anyone have a copy of The Life Aquatic that I can borrow??

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