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Rushmore

Reviewed By Ryan Arthur
Posted 03/11/99 14:59:16

"I saved Latin. What did you ever do?"
5 stars (Awesome)

Difficult to describe, but well worth watching.

Ah, Max Fischer (Jason Schwartzman). He's the kind of guy you were in school, or the kind of guy you made fun of. There's no middle ground. Max is an activity geek at Rushmore Academy. He's involved in everything and he's responsible for the creation of countless clubs and organizations. He's got his own little toadie/assistant named Dirk (Mason Gamble). He's the head of the Max Fischer Players. But Max, who's on a scholarship, is in trouble. He's got this whole problem with passing classes. He wants - he needs - to stay at Rushmore. He aspires to be like Herman Blume (Bill Murray), Rushmore's most famous and successful alumni. Blume, a Ted Turner lookalike, is tired, almost sad. He's got twin sons that he hates and a wife who's having an affair. In Max, he finds an unlikely friend.

Enter the woman. Rosemary Cross (Olivia Williams) is a first grade teacher who Max becomes smitten with. He tries to woo her in a few unsuccessful ways, then becomes distraught when she brings a new beau to one of Max's plays (Serpico!). He frigghtens her off, then sends Blume as an intermediary.

Blume, of course, starts to fall for her too.

What follows in this very unconventional flick are scenes of great comedy and a little sadness. Blume and Max become rivals, and the whole relationship between the three of them becomes even more entangled. Max gets expelled to (gasp!) public school. Blume's trysts with Rosemary become public and his wife takes him for all he's worth. Each time something bad happens to one, the other seems to be the one pulling the strings to make it happen.

Whether Max makes it back to Rushmore, and whether his relationships with the other two can be salvaged, makes up the rest of the film.

Rushmore's a quirky film, and it's easy to see how Disney botched the release so badly despite such pozitive buzz. It's a movie that's extremely hard to categorize.

The performances here are quite good, specifically with Murray and Schwartzman. Schwartzman has Max down; it's a breakout role. And Murray...Bill Murray is known for being a good character actor. This is no exception. But it's also the best role he's had in a long time. Blume is funny, but there's also a certain world-weariness in his eyes. It's Murray's best performance.

Is it worthy of the buzz? Yep. Definitely worth your time.

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