50/50 Review #28: Rushmore.

Something about Wes Anderson turns me off. His style has never attracted me, though I'll be honest and say I had never seen a full film. Even his one "The film Wes Anderson haters like" movie, Fantastic Mr. Fox, bored me. I fell asleep about halfway through and never bothered to finish it because, honestly, I didn't care. However, after seeing and loving Harold and Maude not too long ago, I was told that Anderson is clearly inspired by the film, which made me wonder if I should just give the guy a chance. Enter Rushmore. The film follows Max (Jason Schwartzman), a student at Rushmore prep school who is involved in so many clubs he's actually about to be put on academic probation for failing all his classes. But one day, he finds a quote in a book that leads him to a first grade teacher, Ms. Cross (Olivia Williams), with whom he immediately falls in love. But he also befriends a rich businessman, Herman Blume (Bill Murray), who eventually competes with Max for Ms. Cross' affections (though she has no affection for Max).

My biggest problem with this film is its overall emotional lacking. I know the film is supposed to have a lot of emotion and these character relationships are at the core of the story. But I honestly didn't give a crap about anything. Max was a little shit-head, but the film was directed in such a way that I couldn't even muster up enough emotion to really dislike him. I just ended up feeling distant; I couldn't connect or anything to him. (Also, the one story complaint I have is that I actually have personal experience switching from a private school after numerous years to a public one for high school, and there is absolutely no way he could be skidding along and barely making it through for so many years and then go to public school and do just as poorly. I can assure you he could go from a C or D average to A-B honor roll, even without trying or studying.) Anyway, that aside, the only person who I felt attempted some kind of emotional connection and to a degree succeeded was Bill Murray, who I liked in the film.

But there were some upsides, too. I liked the fact he keeps putting on school play versions of serious, adult stories and/or pre-existing movies (like Serpico). Though, again, something about the tone of the film didn't let me enjoy the ridiculousness of that to its full extent. Instead, it stays around the level of just being a humorous idea. I loved the way-too-short section of the film where they're at war with each other (the bees, the bike, the breaks, etc.). I wish that was a much larger section of the movie, because that was great. Also, Brian Cox was great but underused, and the Scottish kid was cool (could be the accent). And, again, Murray.

So... yeah, this did nothing for me. I didn't go into it expecting to dislike it. I actually wanted to like it. And throughout I kept trying to find stuff to like about it, but I was trying real hard at times... and that's generally not a good sign. Don't get me wrong, I didn't hate it. It just left me feeling rather indifferent. I had no emotional connection to any of the characters. I really couldn't have cared less what happened to any of them. They were dull, cold, and unrealistic, and I was mostly just bored with the film as a whole. It had some good moments, but nothing that makes me wanna see this again. (And now Dylan responds with "you suck.")

Stop Saying OK! OK.

(And that'll about wrap it up for Dylan's Month! Mostly a positive month. Next, though, we're moving back into some more critically acclaimed films with James' Month. First up? Headin' out west...)


  1. You suck.

    "Mostly a positive month?!?!" You gave 3 Keanus and this. Way positive! :P

    Seriously, though, you do suck. :D This movie is 15 kinds of awesomeness and Max Fischer is one of the all-time great movie characters, to say nothing of the scads of other great characters. Not a word (again?) of the music? You must hate good music, because the soundtrack for this (and the one - er, two for Trainspotting) is fantastic.

    That said, if one doesn't dig Anderson and his tropes, this ain't gonna change their minds. That's just a mindset I don't entirely understand. Get on him for doing the same thing all you want, but this and Tenenbaums (at the least) are masterpieces.

    1. Max Fischer an all-time great movie character? I wouldn't even come close to going that far.

      As for the music... I didn't even notice it except for the very end around the credits.

      I can understand somebody really digging this movie, of course... but I wouldn't go so far as calling it a masterpiece, either.

  2. Surprised but not completely shocked.

    I enjoy Wes Anderson's films and think this may be his best, but his films are highly stylized. One usually thinks of "highly stylized" as visual vomit, and that's clearly not what Wes Anderson does. But he unquestionably has a distinct style and tone that I can see being off-putting to some people.

    The real story here, of course, is that my month is still the best.

    1. I will own up to that... your month has been my overall favorite so far (and still remains to be the only month that has a film I've not only bought, but rewatched multiple times... though a couple from Travis' month have tempted me, as well).


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