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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 22.68%
Average: 9.28%
Pretty Bad: 5.67%
Total Crap: 2.58%

13 reviews, 116 user ratings

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by Rob Gonsalves

"Vividly drawn, well-textured cult comedy."
5 stars

"I can safely say I've never met anyone like you before," says a fetching young teacher to Max Fischer (Jason Schwartzman), the 15-year-old hero of 'Rushmore.' Nor is anyone likely to meet anyone like Max in real life, and very seldom at the movies.

As Rushmore begins, Max is a seriously overachieving student at Rushmore Academy, where he compensates for his stereotypically nerdy looks (thick-framed glasses, tinsel teeth) by joining and/or founding just about every organization at school. He devotes himself to writing and directing school plays with the zeal of a young Welles or Spielberg, putting on spectacular shows everyone will talk about for years. Meanwhile, he's flunking all his classes. He's a bright kid -- some would say ingenious -- but grades aren't important to Max; for him, Rushmore is both his playpen and his canvas. Everything he does is meant to leave the indelible mark of Max Fischer.

Is Max insufferable? Sure, sometimes -- and one of the surprises of Rushmore, a sort of cross between Amadeus and The Graduate, is that Max's outsize ambition is often shown up for the narcissism it is. He's a kid. He means well, but he also rolls right over everybody's toes; he's so focused on achievement he seems near-autistic at times. Director Wes Anderson, who also wrote the script with Owen Wilson (this is their second film, after 1996's Bottle Rocket), risks alienating us: Max is obviously brilliant and just as obviously a case of arrested development, a boy who lost his mom at an early age and has thrown himself into distractions ever since. The movie is about what happens when he collides with another case of arrested development -- tycoon Herman Blume (Bill Murray), who befriends this gangly kindred spirit but soon competes with Max for the affections of the aforementioned teacher, Miss Cross (Olivia Williams).

Wes Anderson has a distinctive and unstable style; he likes the sound of different personalities clashing, different moods bumping together. In Bottle Rocket, a trio of suburban goofballs fancied themselves aspiring criminals; the story took the form of a road movie, and just when you thought the plot might tighten and thicken, it got slack and digressive (and vice versa). Rushmore is a much more successful mood-swing comedy, with moments of classic slapstick rubbing elbows with moments of painful candor. As in so many films about boy dreamers of all ages, the woman is the pinprick of reality that pops the balloon of male fantasy. Deflecting Max's advances, swiftly bored with Herman, Miss Cross is the sanest voice in the movie, yet she, too, has her false ideal; she takes up with a hunky intern (Luke Wilson) for physical comfort but can't help comparing every man to her late husband, whose memory she just about fetishizes.

Everyone is talking about Bill Murray, as if he'd never given a real performance before. Actually, he's been building a solid rep as a born-again character actor and supporting player in films like Ed Wood and Wild Things, but it's fair to say that Herman Blume is his first fully mature role (ironic, given Herman's lapses of golf-ball-tossing, bicycle-wrecking childishness). The vaguely depressed father of twin sons who have more brawn than brains, Herman sees Max as both the smart son he never had and a younger, not-yet-disillusioned version of himself. Murray's performance is mostly subdued, with flashes of adolescent contempt popping out like a switchblade (he has a hilarious boozy scene in a hospital elevator); Anderson and Wilson have written him a great role, and he brings it home effortlessly.

This is not to slight Jason Schwartzman, a rookie actor who more than holds his own with Murray, or Olivia Williams, captivating us even at her most brutally honest. Nor should we overlook Wes Anderson's stylized brand of comedy (his main theme so far seems to be the folly of ambition), his pitch-perfect selection of oldies that heighten each scene, his odd use of widescreen for this small-scale teen movie, as if it were an epic on a par with one of Max's excessive plays -- it's as if Max wouldn't settle for anything less than CinemaScope.

'Rushmore' is an ode to creative wunderkinder, who can be immature pains in the ass (just ask anyone who worked with Welles or Spielberg way back in the day); most movies wouldn't exist without them, but they don't exist in most movies.

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originally posted: 01/28/07 04:31:08
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User Comments

7/27/15 stanley welles a delicious twisted treat 4 stars
1/17/12 hurdygurdy man Endured this to see why well liked.. NFI! What fuckin planet am I on?? 1 stars
5/30/11 heather omg this is the worst movie every made dont watch it!!!!!! 1 stars
9/09/10 the dork knight Elitist. Empty. Aimless. What the fuck is so fascinating about this? 1 stars
9/23/09 Monday Morning This flick rocks, and if that makes me a snob, so be it!!! 5 stars
6/30/07 johnnyfog For snobs only. Not endearing, not interesting, not funny. 2 stars
1/08/07 Bitchflaps A fine cast (bar Schwartzman) can't save this dull dull film. 2 stars
12/14/05 Ewok All -Time Greatest Movie ever and a half!! 5 stars
11/06/05 DM Doesn't work in places, but so endearingly unconventional you have to like it. 4 stars
8/17/05 ES Schwartzman embodies the creepy geek = that doesn't help this garbage one bit 1 stars
6/14/05 E-FUNK Wes Anderson's swansong of genious. Murray is amazing as is every detail of this movie. 5 stars
5/26/05 Jake Wes Anderson's Best Film 5 stars
4/30/05 pym Great movie, I love Anderson's sense of humor, Murray and Schwartzman were excellent 5 stars
1/18/05 sbpat21 Really brilliant and quirky 5 stars
1/07/05 HL Let's not assume you'll love this movie...not as funky as "Ferris Bueller's Day Off". 4 stars
11/16/04 Dunce Rare film that gets better with repeated viewings. Murray is the best! 5 stars
7/06/04 James Kustes It will be nice to see Murray return in The Life Aquatic 5 stars
4/08/04 Morally Sound Funny movie with all the quirky, satirical comedy one could ever want. Awesome acting too! 5 stars
2/04/04 Asolando Nearly flawless, intelligent, offbeat comedy. 5 stars
7/12/03 Indrid Cold Pretty damn overrated. Anderson has become self-conscious about being an "indie" director. 3 stars
3/22/03 Kyle Overrated, but still a good film nonetheless. 4 stars
2/05/03 natasha_theobald funny and charming and wildly original 5 stars
1/04/03 Thomas Sealey The humor is all in the delivery. Anderson delivers the humor, but makes you figure it out. 5 stars
12/29/02 Jack Sommersby Obscenely overrated; Murray, though, is superb. 2 stars
11/27/02 Zack W. Young This film is brilliant; Mona Lisa and Brahm's 2nd come to mind. 5 stars
11/04/02 Nerf_Herder One of the best films ever made 5 stars
10/17/02 Charles Tatum About as funny as a fart at a funeral 1 stars
8/27/02 I Can't Swim I am in awe of it 5 stars
7/25/02 Chris Muggleworth This movie is like no other, and gives me a feeling like nothing else can 5 stars
7/23/02 erick hilarious, and it only got better (royal tenenbaums) 5 stars
4/18/02 R.W. Welch Has a certain style and low key humor, not a lot of electricty. 4 stars
4/03/02 Butterbean Great ideas, but why does it play out so dull? 2 stars
2/20/02 luda hoe one of my favorite films 5 stars
11/25/01 KC witty yet leaves ou wondering, can be seen as original or boring 3 stars
11/24/01 George Partington Humor, pathos, struggle, growth, understanding, Howe's review; he nailed it 5 stars
8/22/01 Hal Henry Mind-bogglingly good. Dark but adorable, Anderson is the new godfather of literary quirk. 5 stars
8/14/01 shankster If you didn't like this movie - you have no soul 5 stars
8/10/01 E-Funk A perfect joke. This movie is so original and the cast was amazing to watch. 5 stars
8/06/01 daniel "wow...were you in the shit?" "yeah, i was in the shit." 5 stars
6/28/01 Chris Newton aesteticly pleasing and has a wonderful story to it 5 stars
6/27/01 ted ryan originality is here 4 stars
5/30/01 Carly a quirky, hilarious little gem 5 stars
5/03/01 BrainPan Art-house freaks? Go put on your Linkin Bizkit albums, pop in 'The Program' and have fun. 5 stars
3/10/01 The Mighty Mo When I began tIt had potential and creativity but sucked it with pointless drudgery. 3 stars
3/04/01 doug The best yet from Wes..... 5 stars
3/01/01 Scott This movie is very funny but not for everbody. Murray is always funny and real. 5 stars
2/14/01 Jake Max is not an endearing character at all. Go Swans review sums it up for me. 2 stars
11/09/00 Tim Fair Great movie, all the way around. 5 stars
5/27/00 Jaime N. Christley War does funny things to men. 5 stars
5/06/00 Kieran This movie inspired me in life & praise Jah for Wes dusting off Murray & letting him shine 5 stars
4/12/00 Adrian Pickworth don't fuck with my play! 5 stars
4/10/00 Schrive-dog Murray is a true genius. Loved Mr. Littlejeans . . . "Best play ever, man." 5 stars
4/04/00 Casper Once again a comedic gem is brought to us by geniuses Anderson and Wilson. Loved it!!! 5 stars
2/21/00 arnold the kid with the slingshoy was fucking hilarious 5 stars
2/12/00 Skye Chapman good movie. liked it, but didn't write home about it 4 stars
1/19/00 amanda awesome shit! Bill Murry and Jason Schwartzman, we need to see more of you!!!! 5 stars
1/12/00 Nice Guy Eddie Not what I expected from the trailers -- better! Pleasantly surprised. 5 stars
1/08/00 Man On The Street Thinly veided ode to obsession 4 stars
12/23/99 Wafer Irony is hilarious 4 stars
10/30/99 Bozo I love this to death; great debut by Jason, Bill Murray should've been Oscar winner 5 stars
9/03/99 Elizaveta Yeahhh Bill Murray! I loved this movie so much - smartly hilarious and snide!! 5 stars
7/30/99 Scott Lange Absolutely perfect- my favorite comedy of all-time. 5 stars
7/26/99 Michael Grimm So well written and acted, Bill Murray is the best 5 stars
7/25/99 Ryann Gray Such an in depth entertainer...FUCKING AWESOME IT IS!!! 5 stars
7/15/99 bridgette made me smile, but i didn't laugh as much as i thought i would. still good though 4 stars
7/04/99 J-Dogg Critics said this falls apart towards end. What movie were they watching? 4 stars
5/08/99 BraveFan "She's sweet, but she's fucked up." Best of 1998 5 stars
4/27/99 Lucas jackson it was an outstanding movie,I loved the guys plays and Bill Murray was awesome 5 stars
4/25/99 Chelsea, the mod pixie Loved it! Great script, awesome set design, crushworthy lead! 5 stars
4/15/99 Jon Jackson A classic! See it now! Hunt it down! Steal it! Just watch it! 5 stars
3/27/99 Lisa My new reason to live. Seen it 4x so far; seen something new each time. Murray was robbed. 5 stars
3/26/99 kmk not as great as everyone keeps saying, but original and well written. 4 stars
3/26/99 debbie tuttle what's your rushmore? 5 stars
3/24/99 jvt A refreshing teen comedy 5 stars
3/20/99 Andy Rice Good Shit 5 stars
3/20/99 Mambo Howlingly funny in a deadpan way 5 stars
3/18/99 S.B. Glowinski It's just always a great high to see such an original piece of work. 5 stars
3/18/99 Scott Stipe F***in A 5 stars
3/16/99 Chris Ashmore Refreshing and original. Doesn't flow particularly well at times. But, 4 stars. 4 stars
3/12/99 Jeff HOUN good movie, could've been better, no real ending plot 3 stars
3/11/99 nototis Amazing. A coming of age movie that doesn't suck. 5 stars
3/11/99 haden lawyer Original and entertaining 5 stars
3/11/99 Negative Creep Great film. Very entertaining and plus Affleck just rocks. 5 stars
3/10/99 Ah Dooey Charhas' review rocks! Now that's movie business! 5 stars
3/08/99 Thysious I will see it again 5 stars
3/08/99 tellurium Wow, saw it twice. Just the right amount of artisticness to be a successful Hollywood film. 5 stars
3/06/99 Mike Rotch Bring it on! 5 stars
3/03/99 Jerry-93 I laughed, I cried, I pissed my pants 5 stars
3/02/99 slimshady this movie rocked jason schwartzman is hysterically funny , definatly a must see movie 5 stars
3/01/99 captjoe just read charas, laughed so hard I cried 5 stars
3/01/99 jennifer newsome this was the best film i have seen in a long time, it is a true origional, bravo!! 5 stars
2/28/99 Dirty Dave Capone great 5 stars
2/27/99 Viral Messiah AWESOME! 5 stars
2/27/99 Sink Bill Murray.Soundtrack!Great,inventive, film. 5 stars
2/25/99 Cagliostro This movie is *full* of entertainment...wonderful! 5 stars
2/24/99 somber Haven't seen a great movie like this in a while. Here's to of the best of 99 5 stars
2/21/99 MilhousFan Awesome movie man! Great music too! 5 stars
2/19/99 chuck-d it was great! well acted, well written, wonderful direction, and wierd as hell 5 stars
2/19/99 Agsmith I think i liked it.. I scratched my head a lot.. But it was good 4 stars
2/15/99 Vick Di Brecci Soundtrack, Murray, and Shwartzman, are better than the dumb plot which starts off good. 4 stars
2/12/99 Ben An odd movie, but very enjoyable. Murray and Schwartzman were good 5 stars
2/09/99 Gary More creative than most recent movies. Liked the sound track. 4 stars
2/09/99 Jumbles Feels more like real life than anything I've seen in a while. 4 stars
2/08/99 MickCollins Needed more Murray. Max gets creepyas hell after awhile. 4 stars
2/08/99 john this movie was sooo amazing. bill murray is a god. 5 stars
2/07/99 Giladani Saw it at Telluride, has its been changed? Max is creepy, Murray does his usual schtick. 3 stars
1/12/99 Kevin Maynard Murray's found the role of a lifetime. The funniest, saddest performance of the year. 5 stars
1/03/99 Leon Russell Bill Murray is an underrated actor. He deserves parts in serious features. 4 stars
12/29/98 Movie Geezer I really enjoyed this fim---offbeat and refreshing 5 stars
12/28/98 The Dude Bill Murray is great , the movie is funny, and it gives me a major hard on. 5 stars
12/20/98 Mr Showbiz An Oscar-worthy performance by Bill Murray 5 stars
12/14/98 Binky I love me a Wilson. 5 stars
12/12/98 Kirgo Refreshingly odd 4 stars
11/26/98 poppy Tone of BottleRocket w/o the story problems. Bill Murray finally gets a good role. 5 stars
10/19/98 Aint-It-Cool So enjoyable and original that it's hard to believe it was funded by a Hollywood studio! 5 stars
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  11-Dec-1998 (R)


  18-Feb-1999 (M)

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