1998; Rated R; 93 Minutes
Jason Schwartzman: Max Fischer
Bill Murray: Herman Blume
Olivia Williams: Rosemary Cross
Seymour Cassel: Bert Fischer
Brain Cox: Dr. Guggenheim
Produced by Wes
Anderson, John Cameron, Barry Mendell, Paul Sciff and Owen
Wilson; Directed by Wes Anderson; Screenwritten
by Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson
by DAVID KEYES
Wes Anderson film infamously known as "Rushmore" is not
one of those Bill Murray comedies saturated with jolly humor,
but one overblown with despicable and unfunny plot twists
which create the illusion that audience members are seeing
something worthwhile. It creeps around on the screen like
rats behind the wall of a kitchen, and is soaked with situations
that make you feel unamused, depressed, and even woeful.
The movement of the story is enough to make any person dislike
it, or for that matter, find it stupid and pointless. Seeing
it after Premiere Magazine named it the best film of 1998,
it is uneven and distraught from desire to achieve greatness.
There's no question to whether or not the filmmakers strive
to entertain, but they neither allow the characters nor
the audience to experience laughter the way it should be
experienced. It's a tremendously bad movie, not because
of its greatly influencing cast, but because of its numerous
script shortcomings. All will probably be forgotten by the
time Bill Murray steps back into the spotlight.
project has a certain arrogance with the toleration of life.
We at first meet a Rushmore academy student Max Fischer,
played by Jason Schwartzman, a popular kid who is certainly
not famed for his academic skills. This is a guy who is
practically the president of every club that existed inside
the continental United States, and yet he somehow manages
to dig his academic effort so far into a hole that the principal
places him on "sudden death probation," in which his scholarship
will be ripped from him if he fails 'one more test.'
enters Bill Murray, who plays a Rushmore alumnus that becomes
amused by Max's company, and finds a fast friendship with
him. On screen, they work together to the best advantage
possible, but it's not like any of that matters, really,
since, shortly afterwards, the script creates a situation
that turns them both into rivals for the same woman. They
fall in love with a first grade teacher. Max doesn't quite
grasp the notion that this woman is too old for him, and
she has no interest in a relationship, though. He becomes
so obsessed with her, I am reminded of one of those love
stories in which the man stalks his prey until she either
gives in or is dead. When Max learns that his newly found
friend is getting to first-base with his 'crush,' this academy
student becomes the human chain-saw. Of course, the script
never gets to the point where Max is completely ruthless,
but it wants to.
from there is more or less a rivalry for the teacher's affections.
A use of gimmicks, tricks, and plot situations create a
climax so disheartening and so dumb, it makes the viewer
realize that 93 minutes of their life has gone down the
drain. Max sometimes gets so malicious, we don't want to
tolerate one more minute of him. Meanwhile, the other characters
begin to show signs of containing the same cruel characteristics
as Max, although the writers never allow us to fully investigate
their personalities. It's not funny, not amusing, and strangely
enough, not the least bit original as it is made out to
Owen Wilson likes to furnish the characters with a fascinating
treatment (he pays close attention to some of the most intriguing
minor details), but he swirls them into a story that comes
off as a huge disappointment. When we are sure that it doesn't
have a negotiable payoff, we aren't allowed to appreciate
the characters either. Critics obviously loved it for its
strong performances, but was it possible that they found
this story and setup suitable for the way the characters
were written? I do not know, nor do I care.
the film ended, some members of the audience discussed the
similarities of this movie to those of "The Graduate," mainly
in which Jason Schwartzman resembles a young Dustin Hoffman.
Alas, there's no definite similarities between that movie
and this other than its main characters. Comparing one to
the other is like comparing pees to green beans. Both look
the same, but only one of them is worth devouring.
1999, David Keyes, Cinemaphile.org.
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