- Rushmore (film)
name = Rushmore
caption = Theatrical poster
producer = Wes Anderson
Owen Wilson Barry Mendel
writer = Wes Anderson
Jason Schwartzman Bill Murray Olivia Williams
cinematography = Robert Yeoman
October 9, 1998(premiere) February 5, 1999
runtime = 93 minutes
language = English
budget = $20 million
gross = $17,105,219
amg_id = 1:173502
imdb_id = 0128445
"Rushmore" is a 1998
comedy-drama filmdirected by Wes Andersonabout an eccentric teenager named Max Fischer ( Jason Schwartzman) and his friendship with rich industrialist Herman Blume ( Bill Murray), and their mutual love for elementary schoolteacher Rosemary Cross ( Olivia Williams). The film was co-written by Anderson and Owen Wilson. The soundtrack was scored by regular Anderson collaborator Mark Mothersbaughand features several songs by bands associated with the British Invasionof the 1960s.
The film helped launch the careers of Anderson and Schwartzman, while establishing a "second career" for Murray as a respected actor of independent cinema. "Rushmore" also won Best Director and Best Supporting Male awards at the 1999
Independent Spirit Awardswhile Murray earned a Golden Globenomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture.
The film centers on Max Fischer (
Jason Schwartzman), a precocious and eccentric 15 year-old, who is both Rushmore's most extracurricular and least scholarly student; Herman Blume ( Bill Murray), a disillusioned industrialist who comes to admire Max; and Rosemary Cross ( Olivia Williams), a widowed 1st grade teacher who becomes the object of both Max's and Herman's affection.
Max's life revolves on Rushmore Academy, where he is a
scholarshipstudent. Max spends nearly all of his time on elaborate extracurricular activities, caring little how it affects his grades. He also feuds with the school's headmaster, Dr. Guggenheim ( Brian Cox).
Blume finds his operation of a multimillion dollar company to be unsatisfying and is frustrated that his marriage is failing and the two sons he's putting through Rushmore are unrepentant brats. He and Max become close friends; Max admires Herman's success while Herman is impressed by Max's cocksure attitude.
Ms. Cross arrives at the academy as a new teacher after the death of her husband (and former Rushmore student), and Max quickly develops an infatuation. He makes many attempts at courting her. While she initially tolerates Max, Ms. Cross becomes increasingly alarmed at his obvious obsession with her. Along the way Blume attempts to convince Max that Ms. Cross is not worth the trouble, only to fall for Rosemary himself. They begin dating without Max's knowledge.
Eventually, Max's friend Dirk (
Mason Gamble) discovers the relationship and informs Max, initially as payback for a rumor Max started about his mother. Max and Blume go from being friends to mortal enemies. The two engage in a back-and-forth series of revenge on each other. Max informs Blume's wife of her husband's affair, ending their marriage. Max also cuts the brake lines on Blume's car, for which he is arrested. Meanwhile, Blume destroys Max's bicycle with his car.
After Max attempts to break ground on an aquarium without the school's approval, he is expelled from Rushmore. He is then forced to enroll in his first public school, Grover Cleveland High. Attempts to engage in outside activities at his new school have mixed results. He eventually begins spending time as an
apprenticeto his father, a barber. A fellow student, Margaret Yang ( Sara Tanaka), tries to engage Max, but he pays little attention to her.
One day, Dirk stops by the barber shop to apologize to Max and bring him a Christmas present. In the process, Dirk suggests Max see his old headmaster in the hospital, knowing Blume will be there, as well. Max and Blume meet and are cordial, but Max finds out that Ms. Cross broke up with Blume. However, he does manage to bring Dr. Guggenheim out of his coma.
Max takes his final shot at Ms. Cross and is rebuffed again. Max makes it his new mission to win Ms. Cross back for Blume. His first attempt is unsuccessful, but then he invites both Herman and Rosemary to the performance of a play he wrote, making sure they will be sitting together. In the end, Ms. Cross and Blume appear to reconcile. Max and Margaret Yang also become a couple.
The movie ends with Max and Ms. Cross looking at each other enigmatically as they share a dance at the play's
Jason Schwartzmanas Max Fischer
Bill Murrayas Herman Blume
Olivia Williamsas Rosemary Cross
Seymour Casselas Bert Fischer
Brian Coxas Dr. Nelson Guggenheim
Mason Gambleas Dirk Calloway
Sara Tanakaas Margaret Yang
Connie Nielsenas Mrs. Calloway
Luke Wilsonas Dr. Peter Flynn
With "Rushmore", Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson wanted to create their own "slightly heightened reality, like a
Roald Dahlchildren's book".cite news | last = Winters | first = Laura | coauthors = | title = An Original at Ease in the Studio System | work = New York Times| pages = | language = | publisher = | date = January 31, 1999 | url = http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F01E7DD1339F932A05752C0A96F958260&scp=30&sq=%22Wes+Anderson%22&st=nyt | accessdate = 2008-10-07 ] Like Max Fischer, Wilson was expelled from his prep school in the tenth grade while Anderson shared Max's ambition, lack of academic ability, and had a crush on an older woman.cite news | last = O'Sullivan | first = Michael | coauthors = | title = The Heads of "Rushmore" | work = Washington Post| pages = N41 | language = | publisher = | date = February 5, 1999 | url = | accessdate = ] Anderson and Wilson started writing the screenplay for "Rushmore" years before they made " Bottle Rocket". The two men knew that they wanted to make a film set in an elite boys' school, much like St. John's School in Houston, Texaswhich Anderson attended. According to the director, "One of the things that was most appealing to us was the initial idea of a 15-year-old kid and a 50-year-old man becoming friends and equals".cite news | last = Graham | first = Renee | coauthors = | title = On the Road for "Rushmore" | work = Boston Globe| pages = N7 | language = | publisher = | date = February 7, 1999 | url = | accessdate = ] "Rushmore" was originally going to be made for New Line Cinemacite news | last = Arnold | first = Gary | coauthors = | title = Pair on Bus Tout "Rushmore" and its Teen Protagonist | work = Washington Times| pages = C12 | language = | publisher = | date = February 5, 1999 | url = | accessdate = ] but when they could not agree on a budget, Anderson, Wilson and producer Barry Mendel held an auction for the film rights in mid-1997 and struck a deal with Joe Roth, then-chairman of Walt Disney Studios. He offered them a $10 million budget.
Anderson and Wilson wrote the role of Mr. Blume with Bill Murray in mind but did not think that they could get the script to him.cite news | last = | first = | coauthors = | title = Oddball Vision Hits the Fast Lane | work =
Toronto Star| pages = | language = | publisher = | date = February 7, 1999 | url = | accessdate = ] Murray's agent was a fan of Anderson's first film, "Bottle Rocket", and urged the actor to read the script for "Rushmore". Murray liked it so much that he agreed to work for scale.cite news | last = Giles | first = Jeff | coauthors = | title = A Real Buddy Picture | work = Newsweek| pages = 72 | language = | publisher = | date = December 7, 1998 | url = http://www.newsweek.com/id/94229 | accessdate = 2008-10-07 ] The actor was drawn to Anderson and Wilson's "precise" writing and felt that a lot of the film was about "the struggle to retain civility and kindness in the face of extraordinary pain. And I've felt a lot of that in my life".cite news | last = Hirschberg | first = Lynn | coauthors = | title = Bill Murray, In All Seriousness | work = New York Times| pages = | language = | publisher = | date = January 31, 1999 | url = http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F05E0DF1338F932A05752C0A96F958260&scp=31&sq=%22Wes+Anderson%22&st=nyt | accessdate = 2008-10-07 ] Anderson created detailed storyboards for each scene but was open to Murray's knack for improvisation.
Cast directors considered 1,800 teenagers from the
United States, Canada, and Englandfor the role of Max Fischer before finding Jason Schwartzman. In October 1997, approximately a month before principal photography was to begin, a casting director for the film met the 17-year-old actor at a party thanks to his cousin and filmmaker Sofia Coppola.cite news | last = Tahaney | first = Ed | coauthors = | title = Playing a Nerd to the Max | work = Daily News | pages = 12 | language = | publisher = | date = February 7, 1999 | url = | accessdate = ] He came to his audition wearing a prep-school blazer and a Rushmore patch he had made himself. Anderson almost did not make the film when he could not find an actor to play Max but felt that Schwartzman "could retain audience loyalty despite doing all the crummy things Max had to do". Anderson originally pictured Max, physically, Mick Jaggerat age 15 to be played by an actor like Noah Taylorin the Australian film "Flirting" - "a pale, skinny kid".cite news | last = Lee | first = Chris | coauthors = | title = Teacher's Pet | work = Salon.com | pages = | language = | publisher = | date = January 21, 1999 | url = http://www.salon.com/ent/movies/int/1999/01/21int.html?CP=SAL&DN=110 | accessdate = 2008-10-11 ] When Anderson met Schwartzman, he reminded Anderson much more of Dustin Hoffmanand decided to go that way with the character. Anderson and the actor spent weeks together talking about the character, working on hand gestures and body language.
Filming began in November 1997. On the first day of principal photography, Anderson delivered his directions to Murray in a whisper so that he would not be embarrassed if the actor shot him down. However, the actor publicly deferred to Anderson, hauled equipment, and when Disney denied the director a $75,000 shot of Max and Mr. Blume riding in a helicopter, the actor gave Anderson a blank check to cover the cost.
At one point, Anderson toyed with the idea of shooting the private school scenes in England and the public school scenes in
Detroitin order to "get the most extreme variation possible," according to the director.cite news | last = Linehan | first = Hugh | coauthors = | title = Latin Lessons for Today's America | work = Irish Times | pages = 64 | language = | publisher = | date = August 28, 1999 | url = | accessdate = ] The film was shot in and around Houston, Texas where Anderson grew up. His high school alma mater, St. John's School, was used for the picturesque setting of Rushmore Academy. Lamar High School in Houston was used to depict Grover Cleveland High School, the public school. In real life, the two schools are directly across the street from one another. The film's widescreen, slightly theatrical look was influenced by Roman Polanski's "Chinatown".
Wes Anderson originally intended for the film's soundtrack to be entirely made up of songs by
The Kinks, feeling the music suited Max's loud and angry nature, and because Max was initially envisioned to be a British exchange student. However, while listening to a compilation of other British Invasionsongs on set, the soundtrack gradually evolved until only one song by the Kinks remained in the film ("Nothin' in the World Can Stop Me Worryin' 'Bout That Girl").
"Rushmore" had its world premiere at the 25th
Telluride Film Festivalin 1998 where it was one of the few studio films to be screened and was well-received by critics and audiences.cite news | last = Cox | first = Dan | coauthors = | title = "Rushmore" Rocks Telluride | work = Variety | pages = 1 | language = | publisher = | date = September 8, 1998 | url = | accessdate = ] The film was also screened at the 1998 New York Film Festivaland the Toronto Film Festivalwhere it was a hit with critics.cite news | last = Roman | first = Monica | coauthors = | title = Foreign Vest, U.S. Indies Pepper New York Lineup | work = Variety | pages = 15 | language = | publisher = | date = August 17, 1998 | url = | accessdate = ] cite news | last = Kelly | first = Brendan | coauthors = Monica Roman | title = New Luster for Toronto | work = Variety | pages = 9 | language = | publisher = | date = September 21-27, 1998 | url = | accessdate = ] The film opened in New York Cityand Los Angelesfor one week in December in order to be eligible for the Academy Awards.
In his review for the "Daily News", film critic
Dave Kehrpraised "Rushmore" as "a magnificent work: the best and most beautiful movie of 1998".cite news | last = Kehr | first = Dave | coauthors = | title = "Rushmore" A Monumental Triumph | work = Daily News | pages = 74 | language = | publisher = | date = December 11, 1998 | url = | accessdate = ] " USA Today" gave the film three out of four stars and wrote that Bill Murray was "at his off-kilter best".cite news | last = Wloszczyna | first = Susan | coauthors = | title = "Rushmore" Comic Head-of-Class Act | work = USA Today| pages = 15E | language = | publisher = | date = December 11, 1998 | url = | accessdate = ] Todd McCarthy, in his review for "Variety", wrote, "The deep-focus widescreen compositions possess an unusual clarity that adds details and endows the action and humor with exceptional vividness".cite news | last = McCarthy | first = Todd | coauthors = | title = "Rocket" Men Carve Dark, Brainy Comedy | work = Variety | pages = 33 | language = | publisher = | date = September 14-20, 1998 | url = http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117913314.html?categoryid=31&cs=1&query=%22Rushmore%22 | accessdate = 2008-10-07 ] In his review "Time", Richard Schickel praised "Rushmore" as "an often deft, frequently droll little movie turns into an increasingly desperate juggling act, first trying to keep too many dark and weighty emotional objects aloft, then trying to bring them back to hand in a graceful and satisfying way".cite news | last = Schickel | first = Richard | coauthors = | title = Class Clowns | work = Time | pages = | language = | publisher = | date = December 14, 1998 | url = http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,989818,00.html | accessdate = 2008-10-07 ] Janet Maslin, in her review for the " New York Times", wrote, "It's a particular treat for its skewed, hilarious memories of a cutthroat boyhood".cite news | last = Maslin | first = Janet | coauthors = | title = Most Likely to Succeed? Or Annoy? | work = New York Times| pages = | language = | publisher = | date = October 9, 1998 | url = http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F0CE1D8123BF93AA35753C1A96E958260&scp=27&sq=%22Wes+Anderson%22&st=nyt | accessdate = 2008-10-07 ] In his review for the " The Independent", Anthony Quinn said of Schwartzman that "he perfectly captures the poignancy of a character who understands his failings but hasn't yet the emotional resources to conquer them".cite news | last = Quinn | first = Anthony | coauthors = | title = Murray, King of the Nerds | work = The Independent| pages = 14 | language = | publisher = | date = August 20, 1999 | url = | accessdate = ] In her review for the " Washington Post", Rita Kempley praised Schwartzman's performance for winning "sympathy and a great deal of affection for Max, never mind that he could grow into Sidney Blumenthal".cite news | last = Kempley | first = Rita | coauthors = | title = At the Head of Its Class | work = Washington Post| pages = C1 | language = | publisher = | date = February 5, 1999 | url = | accessdate = ] " Entertainment Weekly" gave "Rushmore" an "A" rating and wrote, "Anderson concentrates on beautifully disciplined filmmaking, employing 1960s British Invasion hits . . . to further define Max's adolescent dislocation".cite news | last = Schwarzbaum | first = Lisa | coauthors = | title = Class Struggle | work = Entertainment Weekly| pages = | language = | publisher = | date = December 18, 1998 | url = http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,286215,00.html | accessdate = 2008-10-11 ]
Anderson, a life-long fan of film critic
Pauline Kael, arranged a private screening of "Rushmore" for the retired writer. Afterwards, she told him, "I genuinely don't know what to make of this movie".cite news | last = Anderson | first = Wes | coauthors = | title = My Private Screening with Pauline Kael | work = New York Times| pages = | language = | publisher = | date = January 31, 1999 | url = http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C01E6DD1339F932A05752C0A96F958260&scp=33&sq=%22Wes+Anderson%22&st=nyt | accessdate = 2008-10-09 ] It was a nerve-wracking experience for Anderson but Kael did like the film and told others to see it. Anderson and Jason Schwartzman traveled from Los Angelesto New York Cityand back on a touring bus to promote the film. The tour started on January 21, 1999 and went through 11 cities in the United States.
Awards and nominations
"Rushmore" was nominated for two
Independent Spirit Awards- Wes Anderson for Best Director and Bill Murray for Best Supporting Actor with the actor winning.cite news | last = Klady | first = Leonard | coauthors = | title = Schrader's "Affliction" Wows Indie Spirit Noms | work = Variety | pages = 40 | language = | publisher = | date = January 11-17, 1999 | url = http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117490004.html?categoryid=13&cs=1&query=Alfre+Woodard&query=%22Rushmore%22 | accessdate = 2008-10-07 ] cite news | last = Puig | first = Claudia | coauthors = | title = "Gods" and Cast Rewarded for their Independent Spirit | work = USA Today| pages = 3D | language = | publisher = | date = March 22, 1999 | url = | accessdate = ] Murray was also nominated in the Best Supporting Actor category for the Golden Globes.
Los Angeles Film Critics Associationnamed Bill Murray Best Supporting Actor of the year for his performance in "Rushmore". Wes Anderson was named the New Generation honoree.cite news | last = Klady | first = Leonard | coauthors = | title = L.A. Crix Salute "Ryan" | work = Variety | pages = 1 | language = | publisher = | date = December 14, 1998 | url = http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117489387.html?categoryid=13&cs=1&query=%22Rushmore%22 | accessdate = 2008-10-07 ] The National Society of Film Criticsalso named Murray as Best Supporting Actor of the year as did the New York Film Critics.cite news | last = Carr | first = Jay | coauthors = | title = National Film Critics Tap "Out of Sight" | work = Boston Globe| pages = D3 | language = | publisher = | date = January 4, 1999 | url = | accessdate = ] Film critic David Ansenranked "Rushmore" the 10th best film of 1998.cite news | last = Ansen | first = David | coauthors = | title = Love! Valor! And Hair Gel! | work = Newsweek| pages = | language = | publisher = | date = January 11, 1999 | url = http://www.newsweek.com/id/86936 | accessdate = 2008-10-07 ] "Spin" hailed the film as "the best comedy of the year".
"Rushmore" is number 34 on Bravo's "100 Funniest Movies". The film was also ranked #20 on "
Entertainment Weekly" magazine's "The Cult 25: The Essential Left-Field Movie Hits Since '83" list.cite news | last = | first = | coauthors = | title = The Cult 25: The Essential Left-Field Movie Hits Since '83 | work = Entertainment Weekly| pages = | language = | publisher = | date = September 3, 2008| url = http://www.ew.com/ew/gallery/0,,20221982_5,00.html | accessdate = 2008-09-04 ]
Buena Vista Home Entertainment released a bare bones edition of the film on
June 29, 1999. This was followed by a special edition on January 18, 2000by The Criterion Collectionwith remastered picture and sound as well as various supplemental materials, including an audio commentary by Wes Anderson, Owen Wilson and Jason Schwartzman, a behind-the-scenes documentary by Eric Chase Anderson, Anderson and Murray being interviewed on " The Charlie Rose Show", and theatrical "adaptations" of "Armageddon", " The Truman Show" and " Out of Sight", staged especially for the 1999 MTV Movie Awardsby the Max Fischer Players.
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