Sunday, August 26, 2012


"The secret, I don't know... I guess you've just gotta find something you love to do and then... do it for the rest of your life. For me, it's going to Rushmore."

So says Max (Jason Schwartzman), our hero at the outset of the film, and so he does, taking of the mantle as editor of the yearbook, editor in chief of the Yankee Review, President of the French club, stamp and coin club, calligraphy club, astronomy club,  beekeepers club, in addition to a member of the debate team, lacrosse team, fencing squad, track and field team, and the model U.N. as well as founder of the bombardment club, to name a few. Despite his unprecedented extracurricular participation, Max finds himself both unable and unwilling to pass his classes, and faces expulsion from the school, and matters grow even complicated when he befriends a wealthy benefactor (Bill Murray) and a beautiful kindergarten teacher (Olivia Williams) at his beloved academy. Wes Andseron's sophomore outing is a sublimely constructed and directed concoction that can at times, as his films often do, get carried away and run off the rails by their own sense of whimsy. Inconsistent is also how I would describe the performance of young Jason Schwartzman, who can be so funny and endearing in some scenes, and so off-putting and crass in others, which may have been the director's intention, but nonetheless leaves a bitter taste. Even Bill Murray's character, though often hilarious, is too dead at times. I did think Olivia Williams was lovely and brought weight to the film, as did Brian Cox as the school's headmaster. "Rushmore"  is enjoyable on so many levels (The scenes involving the Max Fleischer's players are a real treat) but it still bears the stamp of a filmmaker trying to gain his bearings and summon his incredibly talented abilities.