Director Wes Anderson's follow-up to the acclaimed BOTTLE ROCKET is a funny, warmhearted, and extremely sharp American response to the English Angry Young Man films of the 1960s, right down to its British Invasion soundtrack. Newcomer Jason Schwartzman creates a classic protagonist in Max Fischer, a sophomore at Rushmore Academy. He excels at every extracurricular activity in school, from theater to beekeeping. Gradewise, however, he's failing. He has few friends outside school save for wealthy but depressed industrialist Herman Blume (Bill Murray), father of obnoxious twin boys who also attend Rushmore. Enter Rosemary Cross (Olivia Williams), a beautiful young widowed teacher at Rushmore Elementary. While Max is immediately smitten with Miss Cross, she finds comfort in the company of the emotionally frazzled Blume. But Max won't let Blume have Miss Cross without a fight. Anderson and cowriter Owen Wilson have created a script brimming with oddball humor at the surface, but at its core lies just enough realistic pain and disappointment to create an all-too-rare bittersweet edge, striking a subtle balance that few films ever achieve, and finally giving national treasure Bill Murray the chance to shine like never before. As director, Anderson displays his exceptional talents with careful choices in color palette, effective use of slow motion to comedic effect, and, most important, a brilliant selection of offbeat songs that are integral to the story. Easily one of the finest comedies since THE GRADUATE, RUSHMORE is a monument to brilliant filmmaking.
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