Wes Anderson directs Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray and Olivia Williams in this comedy where a precocious teenager starts a friendship with a depressed millionaire, attempts to seduce the new kindergarten teacher and gets kicked out of the private school that is his world.
This is the tipping point where Murray shifted from beloved comedy star to global treasure. His grumpy, detached performance here is his best dramatic work… still hitting laughs… the lack of Oscar nomination is galling. The film itself is, for me, Anderson’s masterwork. Melancholy and enthusiasm, dreamers and deliberateness. Everything perfectly calibrated from the montages to the fonts. The reference points and homages just obscure enough to be hip without being alienating. An eye for getting his best out of casts that Hollywood has often forgotten what to do with. Later movies of his are more confident in their twee affectations but this still has one foot grounded in reality. The double whammy of Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums marked Anderson out as a distinct voice and measured creative within indie cinema. I’d say Rushmore just pips the later film past the post. It does just as much emotionally and visually with less resources and prestige. The soundtrack zings stamp for stamp. The slightly scrappier nature (don’t get me wrong this would feel pristine if it came from any other auteur) makes Rushmore just a bit easier to fall for. You watch Rushmore, by the final curtain, your soul feels a little cleaner, a little more glowing. It is breathlessly well composed cinema – one of the indisputable classics of modern comedy. “These are O.R. scrubs.” “Oh. Are. They?”
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