December 18, 2012

Retroview: Rushmore (1998)

A Retroview Review. This one had been a part of a "favorite movies" series...

Introductory BS (writing about the movie starts below):
There are a few possibilities out there in regards to what our tastes say about us. I'll let your imagination do the hard work here. I subscribe to the newsletter "It Says a Lot," but that's me I guess. I think it speaks to how you grew up, how you ended up, how you see the world, how you'd like to see the world, what kind of values you hold, etc. However, The same can be said about every aspect of every person's life (meaning that our tastes in things is just as revealing as how organized our dresser tops are), so the relevance of the inherent truths behind our tastes is also in question. Luckily, It Says a Lot has a few talented editors behind it, one of which being Ms. Shut-The-Hell-Up-And-Get-On-With-Your-Life. While I find her articles enlightening, I can't deny the terrible truth that I can be a little vain sometimes, and fear what others will think of me when I express my opinions, partially because I know a lot of my friends also get the aforementioned weekly publication, and a my fear is that some of them favor Mr. I-Judge-You's articles. This is me being delusional, but I can't deny the fear.

Before I try to make that perfume sample last too long/stretch the analogy too far, let me get to my point: I am having trouble thinking of a movie to write about. Little Nemo? As Good As It Gets? The Phantom Tollbooth? Army of Darkness? Rushmore? The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe (1979)? You've Got Mail?Borderline (1930)? An article about these movies, which is only a smattering of movies from my childhood/adolescence that I love, would seem either embarrassing, cliche, or an attempt at seeming cool (clearly referring to YGM). Some of the movies I love are admittedly awful/awesome (which I believe can exist on similar planes), but it's hard to add any relevance to the incredible amount written about pretty much every movie. All on top of the fact that writing about a movie that I love that basically everyone else loves seems a littleredundant. But whatever, I'll just pick a movie that is basically the top pick. I thought briefly of just talking about Avatar: The Last Airbender (the only TV show that has ever mattered), but Justin already did a bang up job of that, so, without further ado, here is a little piece of my mind:

Okay, now we talk about the movie I like a lot:
Yes, yes of course everyone loves Wes Anderson, and I don't care about that, because so do I. He quickly became the go-to cliche hipster Auteur after he released The Royal Tenenbaums, but right before that he released another widely known and deeply loved movie by the name of Rushmore. More than just being a launching pad for Jason Schwartzman's movie career and the reviving of Bill Murray's career, Rushmore was Anderson's first major release as a film maker, and, above all, it is my favorite movie.

Rushmore follows young Max Fischer (Jason , a scholarship student at the private Rushmore Academy We watch him fall hopelessly in love with professor Rosemary Cross (Olivia Williams), meet the parent of a pair of devil children Max attends school with, Herman Blume (Bill Murray), and get kicked out of school. Max proceeds to try and woo Ms. Cross with the help of the unhappily married, though financially successful, Mr. Blume, but when their attempts result in Max's expulsion from Rushmore, and Mr. Blume falls for Ms. Cross, things get a little complicated.

(hint: that's not Herman's bike)

An industrious, well-mannered, and all around delusional 15 year old, Max Fischer was Everything I Wanted To Be when I saw this as a kid. He, much like I was, is interested in all things, save for school work. I did not participate in extra-curricular activities with the amount of vigor and excitement that Max Fischer did, and I was no where near able to write moving pieces of theater, but his drive to learn what he pleased and do whatever the hell he wanted reminded me an awful lot of myself, or, at least, the myself I wished to be. But this is just what drew me in, not what kept me coming back to this movie.

Wes Anderson's movies center around one topic: Love. Okay, take it down a notch, what I mean by that is that they're all about all sorts of different types of love (friend, romantic, familial, etc). Throughout the years Anderson has been focusing more and more on Familial love, but he hadn't really hit his stride yet with Rushmore, and because of this the relationship between Max and his father doesn't take center stage. That said, the movie wouldn't have worked if it had solely on Max and Bert (Seymour Cassel).

The depth of sadness all the characters feel because of the loss of a loved one is this incredible white elephant placed in a story about rebirth and revitalization in an unforgiving, unrelenting world. They search for something, Anything, to fill this unknowable void in their life, without really addressing the fact that something is desperately wrong until things start to go sour.

The encouraging thing is that when they hit bottom, they have the love of their friends and family to help them back up and on their way. There are so many things I find truly and earth-shatteringly moving about this movie. Rushmore is not as well choreographed and executed as Tenenbaums and Life Aquatic, but, to some degree, that makes it more endearing, because, like it's characters, the movie itself is not perfect.

Just remember, without Rushmore, we wouldn't have the careers of Jason, Wes, and Bill, and also this.

-Luke Hunter James-Erickson

No comments: