Rushmore screened on Sunday August 8th at Toronto Underground Cinemas as part of director Edgar Wright's Wright Stuff film series. For the last time on this blog, I beseech you to check out Wright's latest film Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World, now showing in multiplexes also showing the Expendables and Eat Pray Love everywhere.
Due to time constraints and the fact that I am far behind on these blogs, I will keep the joys of Rushmore simple. Rushmore is a brilliant dead pan comedy from a director I seem to have a love/hate relationship with. Wes Anderson has created a film that kind of works as a new genre unto itself and stands nicely alongside Ferris Bueller's Day Off. I like to call it, the reverse slacker film.
Max Fischer (Jason Schwartzman, in his first ever leading role) loves his extracurricular activities at Rushmore Academy, but seemingly detests the actual school part of things. Max doesn't seem to have many friends, but at the same time he has his hands in everything possible and is probably the most widely known person on campus. Max is a bit full of himself, but he uses everything he has at his disposal to make everything he does the biggest and best thing possible.
Max begins to have a crush on a first grade teacher (Olivia Williams) and soon finds himself embroiled in a battle for her affections (even though she wants nothing to do with him) with a much older and wealthier man played by Bill Murray. Both men act like small children and ultimately both end up alienating the woman of their dreams.
Schwartzman plays Max Fischer perfectly from Anderson and co-writer Owen Wilson's script. Max is very sure of himself, but also hopelessly naive. He is all street smarts and no book smarts, but all his street smarts comes from books that he wanted to read and not the ones he should have been reading in the first place to stave off his impending expulsion. Murray has also rarely been better, and that is saying quite a lot. He is the one who actually paid attention, but let life pass him by in the process. Their rivalry is one of the best in film history.