Rushmore ★★★★★

I wish that I knew all I know now.

As I write this I'm listening to these very words as the credits roll. Perhaps, a perfect way to punctuate the tumultuous character arc of the magnificently despised main character, Max Fischer.

She's my Rushmore, Max.

Fuck... this movie is so good. It's been well over eight years since I viewed it last, and nearly ten years ago it was one of the handful of films I'd watch every weekend during my freshman year at college... what possibly could have fascinated me beyond Bill Murray's incredible performance, or the one-liners that slice the air like a knife through butter? I think back then it was because I saw a little of myself in Max. Would I have admitted it? Most likely not, as he goes overboard in many instances striving to win the love of the beautiful Miss Cross; promising ambition turned into conceited malice. But what Max learns from this venture for love and in his new friendship with Herman Blume changes him for the better.

From Mr. Blume's beginning speech at the chapel, we are immediately introduced to class differences. For example how a poor kid like Max could get into such a highly respected school like Rushmore. We learn he gets in due to an amazing play he wrote when he was only in 2nd grade.  A life-altering event that took Max’s natural ambition and told him if he channeled it properly privileges can be gained.  Not everyone has the same conventional route of getting to where they go.  For Max, he is co-founder or founder of nearly every club on campus. He saves Latin. He's an alternate on the wrestling team. He tells people his father is a neurosurgeon (when he's really a barber). His ambition is like no other. And yet it doesn't matter what his background is or if he's actually book-smart. Rushmore speaks the truth of individuality, and that we can all strive for the best if we have our ambition in order and make good life-choices. Something Max forgets when he is smitten by Miss Cross, but relearns the hard way in more then one scenario. Does it get ugly and uncomfortable? It certainly does, but I think everyone who puts their nose up at Max's flaws won't admit they have gotten themselves in similarly awful situations or more plainly, have made mistakes in certain friendships. Because sometimes, we all can go a little too far.

Yeah dad, get your head outta your ass!

Film-wise, this is Wes Anderson in peak form. Still raw from “perfecting” his now too-symmetrical and color-soaked sets. What he achieves in Rushmore is not his quirkiness front and center, but rather the subtle humor and memorable characters that feed the engine of this film. My biggest takeaway now is how carefully the characters react to certain moments in the film, and how Anderson puts in very minor details that explain so much (for example Max's mother's name on his type-writer or the look on Bill Murray's face when he finally meets Max's dad). On top of that, throw in the banger of a sound track and you got yourself a helluva film. And the comedy... did I mention the comedy?!  There’s this strange atmosphere Anderson creates where you have odd characters saying hip things at the right moments.  Bill Murray’s dry humor and physical comedy is perfection in this.  

I know people see this one as flawed or they don't like Wes Anderson, but Rushmore does it for me on so many levels.

So you were in Vietnam?
Were you in the shit?
Yeah, I was in the shit.

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