Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
M. Leary

Rushmore

Recommended Posts

Can't believe we don't have a thread for this. We just watched this again, as we are cruising through the Anderson back catalog. It really hasn't aged well, in that you can see Anderson's over-reliance on the slow motion shots, matchy-matchy soundtracking, and some of the end of scene adornments he tosses in before closing out the frame (like Bill Murray running away in the background).

Yet it has heart, doesn't it? A provocative, enthralling, watchable heart - in that it is a movie about a young man that just wants to make families for everyone. By the end of the film, he has the kinks worked out of his family-making process. Which, I assume, is the point of the whole endeavor.

The problem is, I can't bring myself to criticize its formal shortcomings. In response to all the recent "cinema is dead" hubbub, I say: watch Anderson. Watch him make those mistakes and grow through successive films. Any cinema culture that embraces a director, flaws and all, along the sort of path that ends in Moonrise Kingdom seems to be working fine.

Edited by M. Leary

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

Filmwell | Twitter

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love this film-- have for over ten years-- and yet, possibly more than you do, M. Leary, I believe that it has serious flaws. For one thing, the film (or, rather, the behavior of some of the characters in the film) seems far too dark and mean-spirited, at times, for the sweet ending to move me, and convince me, as much as the director obviously wishes.

I balked when one film critic, in the year Rushmore was released, called it "the best American comedy since Annie Hall." That is, in my view, utterly absurd hyperbole. (The review also worked-- it made me want to see the film!) Still, I love this early, often gleefully goofy, movie in the Anderson canon. It's great to see him at work, at a more formative time, when many of his directorial quirks and themes were still delightfully "new," comparatively speaking, and didn't yet seem like a "Wes Anderson style." (I say this, also having enjoyed his successive films, some of them more than Rushmore.)

Edited by Christopher Lake

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It shouldn't surprise anyone that I love this movie too. It's not my favorite Wes Anderson film, but it is the one that speaks most directly and personally to me, at least at this point in my life (if I change my username to "Darjeeling" fifteen years from now, someone slap me, please).

I'll second what M. Leary and Christopher Lake have said so far. I also noticed that it seemed a little less strongly "Andersonian," as his directorial style was still developing. I found it interesting to contrast this with Charles Dickens, whose quirks were actually stronger in his early work. I love how there's a never-flagging atmosphere of zaniness, as if anything could happen, and yet the actual development of the plot events is perfectly logical. I'd also like to hear from anyone who's seen Bottle Rocket, the only Anderson film I still haven't seen, on how it compares to this in terms of Anderson's developing style and skill.

The formal shortcomings bothered me less than the character problems. The biggest one was Blume's wife.

I don't like it when the aggrieved wife is divorced out of the script and then dropped like a hot potato, while the erring husband's feelings are explored compassionately. In these cases, the wife always seems to be a bit of a whiner and not very attractive, as if that excuses infidelity. Shades of The Artist, and not in a good way.

And I can't blame Max for being reluctant to

transfer his affection to Margaret Yang. She may be more age-appropriate for him than Miss Cross, but she's a cipher (a zero, not a code). Her claim to fame is that she committed scientific fraud. And this isn't a big deal.

Also,

Miss Cross and Herman Blume ended up together, didn't they? What about Peter? Why is he even in the movie? Am I missing something?

Max's mania for starting clubs reminded me of what Roger Ebert says in the introduction to his first Great Movies volume, that modern viewers' unfamiliarity with classic movies is directly related to the decline of film societies like they used to have at universities and such.

Overall, the emotional arc of the film is only a partial success for me. The lesson Max has to learn is to

transfer his perhaps excessive effection for Rushmore the place to Rushmore the people (one person especially).

That's very real and very true, and I found it moving. The second step,

learning to love this person in the appropriate way while moving on to a girl he can date without its being creepy, seemed less real somehow. But it was obviously necessary. I just wish I respected Herman Blume (Bill Murray's character) more, and then I could accept the ending.

Edited by Rushmore

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"The best American comedy since Annie Hall"?

Let's be real here. It's a hell of a lot better than Annie Hall.


@Timzila

"It is the business of fiction to embody mystery through manners, and mystery is a great embarrassment to the modern mind." (Flannery O'Connor, Mystery and Manners).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"The best American comedy since Annie Hall"?

Let's be real here. It's a hell of a lot better than Annie Hall.

Rushmore is a good, funny, very creative film.... but if it's a hell of a lot better than Annie Hall, then I'm a long-distance runner, and I've had Cerebral Palsy since birth...! smile.png I'm a serious Wes Anderson fan, but Woody, in his halcyon days (at least from Annie Hall to Crimes and Misdemeanors), was a comedic and cinematic genius. Anderson's great, but he hasn't (yet) reached the level of Woody Allen's best by far (as always, in my opinion, of course)! smile.png

Edited by Christopher Lake

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rushmore, I largely agree with your criticisms of Rushmore. That's fun to write and even more fun to say!

About the Margaret Yang character, I can see how you view her as a cipher, in terms of the overall plot, but I do see her part as being a bit more substantive than that, and as adding more to the overall movie. Or maybe it's just my sentimental side. I love the scene when she comes to Max's house with the plant as a gift. smile.png Such a nice, sweet moment, notwithstanding Max's reaction to her. I do really wish that Sara Tanaka, the actress who played Margaret, had not left the film industry. She was quite talented and, I must say, adorable, at least in that role. http://rushmore.shoo...rgaretyang.html

Edited by Christopher Lake

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

M. Leary wrote:

: Can't believe we don't have a thread for this.

Actually, we have two. Or three, I guess, now that this thread exists.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
computer002.gif

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

Filmwell | Twitter

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"The best American comedy since Annie Hall"?

Let's be real here. It's a hell of a lot better than Annie Hall.

Rushmore is a good, funny, very creative film.... but if it's a hell of a lot better than Annie Hall, then I'm a long-distance runner, and I've had Cerebral Palsy since birth...! smile.png I'm a serious Wes Anderson fan, but Woody, in his halcyon days (at least from Annie Hall to Crimes and Misdemeanors), was a comedic and cinematic genius. Anderson's great, but he hasn't (yet) reached the level of Woody Allen's best by far (as always, in my opinion, of course)! smile.png

Ah, good old subjectivity.

I like Annie Hall okay, but it's not even close to being a great film in my estimation.

Then again, I'm not much for Woody Allen. And maybe experiencing the film so long after it's premiere dulls the experience. It's not as refreshingly original a couple decades later. Especially now that Woody Allen has practically become a brand name.

EDIT: Not that I really have any interest in disparaging Woody Allen in defense of Rushmore, but if I take a second to analyze why one film (and one filmmaker) interests me so much more than the other, it might go something like this: Woody Allen films always have a myopic, narcissistic bent to them. They're films about Woody Allen, in other words, and as such are modestly amusing and insightful.

I guess I prefer the wide-angle whimsy Wes Anderson brings to the table. Max Fischer, in particular, is such an interesting character (also, I might add, quite narcissistic), and his interactions with other characters drives the film, whereas I often get the sense there's often nothing driving Woody Allen films beside Allen's own hypochondriac monologue.

Although, when you consider the character of Max Fischer, his penchant for 'theater,' etc., you might say Anderson owes a lot to Allen in general.

I just watched The Royal Tenebaum, the other night, and it's a fair question if New York, as shown in that film, would exist at all if not for films like Annie Hall.

Edited by Timothy Zila

@Timzila

"It is the business of fiction to embody mystery through manners, and mystery is a great embarrassment to the modern mind." (Flannery O'Connor, Mystery and Manners).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

RUSHMORE is still my favourite Wes Anderson film. I watch it every couple of years and it stands up. Probably my favourite comedy of the last 20 years (until I think of one I like better).


"A director must live with the fact that his work will be called to judgment by someone who has never seen a film of Murnau's." - François Truffaut

Twitter.
Letterboxd.

Reviews and essays at Three Brothers Film.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

RUSHMORE is still my favourite Wes Anderson film. I watch it every couple of years and it stands up. Probably my favourite comedy of the last 20 years (until I think of one I like better).

I agree with everything in this quote 100%.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"The best American comedy since Annie Hall"?

Let's be real here. It's a hell of a lot better than Annie Hall.

Rushmore is a good, funny, very creative film.... but if it's a hell of a lot better than Annie Hall, then I'm a long-distance runner, and I've had Cerebral Palsy since birth...! smile.png I'm a serious Wes Anderson fan, but Woody, in his halcyon days (at least from Annie Hall to Crimes and Misdemeanors), was a comedic and cinematic genius. Anderson's great, but he hasn't (yet) reached the level of Woody Allen's best by far (as always, in my opinion, of course)! smile.png

Ah, good old subjectivity.

I like Annie Hall okay, but it's not even close to being a great film in my estimation.

Then again, I'm not much for Woody Allen. And maybe experiencing the film so long after it's premiere dulls the experience. It's not as refreshingly original a couple decades later. Especially now that Woody Allen has practically become a brand name.

EDIT: Not that I really have any interest in disparaging Woody Allen in defense of Rushmore, but if I take a second to analyze why one film (and one filmmaker) interests me so much more than the other, it might go something like this: Woody Allen films always have a myopic, narcissistic bent to them. They're films about Woody Allen, in other words, and as such are modestly amusing and insightful.

I guess I prefer the wide-angle whimsy Wes Anderson brings to the table. Max Fischer, in particular, is such an interesting character (also, I might add, quite narcissistic), and his interactions with other characters drives the film, whereas I often get the sense there's often nothing driving Woody Allen films beside Allen's own hypochondriac monologue.

Although, when you consider the character of Max Fischer, his penchant for 'theater,' etc., you might say Anderson owes a lot to Allen in general.

I just watched The Royal Tenebaum, the other night, and it's a fair question if New York, as shown in that film, would exist at all if not for films like Annie Hall.

I do think that Wes Anderson owes at least some of his creative vision(s) to "classic-era" Woody Allen (even as you would disagree about the "classic" part!). The Royal Tenenbaums is my favorite Anderson film, and without the work of both Robert Altman and Woody Allen, I don't think that we would have Tenenbaums.

Woody's narcissism (at least in his films) doesn't bother me too much. Actually, quite often, I like it! I see it less as narcissism, and more as a particular form of OCD-tinged urban neuroticism, which, as a man who was born and raised far from New York (in small-town Alabama), I find to be anthropologically interesting, and even charming/winsome in an unusual way! smile.png

Edited by Christopher Lake

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...