“What’s his name again?”

“Max Fischer.”

“Sharp Little Guy.”

“He’s one of the worst students we’ve got.”

First up on our look at the films of Wes Anderson is Rushmore (1998) Starring; Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Brian Cox, and Olivia Williams.

Right when the movie starts you know you’re in for a Wes Anderson film. From the slow lilting tunes created by the great Mark Mothersbaugh to the block lettering exposition as we are introduced to Max Fischer (Jason Schwartzman), a young man attending the prestigious Rushmore academy. Captain, co-founder, or president of over a dozen extracurricular activities available at Rushmore. Many due to his diligence and insistence that they be started.

Within 10 minutes we find Max looking at a book by Jacques-Yves Cousteau, Diving for Sunken Treasure, which was also checked out by first year teacher Ms Cross (Olivia Williams). She quickly becomes the love interest for Max who gives no regard to the fact that he’s half her age. I found it interesting that Anderson would focus so much on the book by Cousteau as well as entering in a hand written quote by Cousteau that Cross had written inside the book when she’d checked it out. I associate this entrance of Cousteau by Anderson as a premonition to the great role Cousteau would play in Anderson’s Life Aquatic. But we can talk about that later this week.

Max soon gains a competitor for Ms Cross’s heart in Mr Herman Blume played by Bill Murray (Yes, I do realize I do a lot of reviews of Bill Murray things, it’s not intentional. He’s just in a lot of good movies!) who is the father of twins who also attend Rushmore Academy. Blume is also a very successful and rich business man who donates a lot of money to building new facilities at Rushmore. Max believes he can use Blume’s wealth to his own advantages by planning on building an aquarium to present as a present to Ms Cross.

There are a lot of interesting relationships that build between our trio, Max’s obsession with Ms Rosemary Cross, Rosemary and Blume’s relationship that eventually ends Blume’s current marriage, and the friendship that develops with Max and Herman. There are few times where you really feel like any of the relationships are wrong, but you know that they just aren’t quite right. Even though Herman is supposed to be an adult he’s constantly acting more like a child than Max does. The two even get into a heated battle of destruction when Blume wrecks Max’s bike, Max cuts Blume’s brake lines in his car. Then, being the president of the bee keeper’s society at Rushmore, uses said bees to infest Blume’s hotel room while he’s dining.

The battles are childish but neither realize who the child really is. Even Rosemary never does the right thing and ends whatever form of relationship she and Max do have. She is a teacher and he is a student. There are lines that should never be crossed, no pun intended.

Max is kicked out of Rushmore due to falling grades and ends up burning a lot of bridges with his classmates on his way out. He is then thrust into the world of public school where he still acts like the same person he was in Rushmore. His magnetic personality and over the top ambition soon surrounds him again with a strong group of followers. He returns to Rushmore to speak with Rosemary again saying he needs help being tutored in order to survive in public school.

Thus the path to reconciliation begins and then we’re thrust back into the drama until the point where Rosemary quits, Herman drops off the Earth, and Max gets horribly depressed. Then as we’ve all come to know and love, Anderson brings about a bittersweet ending with most everyone being happy again and headed down the right path to a brighter future.

“Well Tell that stupid Mick he just made my list of things to do today.” – Max Fischer


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