I fucking bawled like a baby today. I sat in the dark theater with Mrs. Filthy, pretending to watch the credits, because I didn't want her to see me in my moment of weakness. And then there was the whole problem with my creamed jeans. My tears weren't from sadness; they were pure happiness because I fell in love with "Rushmore" and it loved me back. It cared and it tried and it succeeded.
I'll sit through twenty crapfests like "You've Got Mails" if I know there's a "Rushmore" waiting at the end. This should not be taken as an invitation by you uncreative assholes in Hollywood to go ahead and make twenty more flaming bags of dogshit.
Jason Schwartzman plays Max Fischer, the leader of every extra-curricular activity at Rushmore Academy, an exclusive school for the fancy-pant set. He's also a pretty piss-poor student whose grades have resulted in a threat of expulsion. See, while he's smart, he's also too damn self-confident and ambitious for his own good.
A note written inside a treasure-hunting book leads him to meet knock-out first-grade teacher Olivia Williams. For the first time in his life he has a focus, and that is the stupid 15-year-old boy fantasy of bedding a teacher. The kid actually thinks he has a real chance of getting into her pants, if she just gets to know him. We've all had unattainable fantasies. Hell, I still dream about sticking Little Mr. Filthy into some of my grade school teachers.
The problem arises when depressed millionaire-industrialist Bill Murray, and Schwartzman's mentor, also falls in love with Williams. Two men, with thirty years of physical age difference, but no emotional difference, fight for the affection of a woman they love in the only way they know how: like dumb-ass fifteen-year-olds. Their fighting escalates until Schwartzman is kicked out of school, Murray's wife files for divorce and Williams is forced to resign from her job at Rushmore.
Oh, man, I'm shooting more spooge into my pants just thinking about the movie. Why? Because this was a fully-realized character comedy. Almost every Goddamn character has a heart beating inside, like they are real people that make real decisions, and not the easiest choices that set up a fart joke, or boob shot. Nobody is a stock part from the Hollywood lame-o character bin. Nobody is evil, but some are selfish and some are immature, and that's what drives the plot. I wish every pretentious video-store clerk/wannabe screenwriting fuck in Hollywood would learn from this movie.
There's no glamour or Hollywood shine on the flick. It's told in grays, with leaf-filled pools, decaying public schools, run-down barbershops and untended hair. The makers weren't about to dress it up just to thrill the "People" magazine reading assholes out there. It's like they said, "This is the story, this is where it takes place. We don't give a rat's ass if you don't like that."
You know how Robin Williams makes you cringe with how hard he's trying? The way he pushes a bit too hard? Nobody in this movie does that. The jokes, as absurd as they are, come naturally and believably. When Murray runs over Schwartzman's bike, you know he would have done that. When Schwartzman tries to kill Murray with a falling tree, you don't doubt it for a minute.
This movie is funnier than the time Mrs. Filthy came tumbling down the basement stairs. It's funny because the characters make some stupid and irrational decisions, but I could understand why. It's funny because I cared about these people and what would happen to them. I mean, I truly cared, and that's pretty fucking rare for a laugh-out-loud comedy.
Schwartzman's Max Fischer is fifteen. He isn't some 26-year-old playing fifteen, he honestly seems fifteen. He is awkward, he has greasy hair, his clothes don't fit right and there's always zits blotting his face. Where most Hollywood bullshit shows teenagers as either smarter than the adults or single-minded horn-dogs, Scwartzman is neither. He is not too smart for his age, just too ambitious, and that's why he gets into trouble.
I love this Bill Murray because he isn't Jim Carrey. He doesn't have to act like a fucking clown to get laughs. He goes inside the character and mines the jokes from within, and he's willing to work in the background. He isn't afraid to look ugly, immature, or truly sad. In "Rushmore" there are moments where he breaks your heart. After seeing his wife flirting with another man, Murray dives into the swimming pool at his sons' birthday party and tries not to come up. When he battles with Schwartzman for the heart of Williams, he doesn't enjoy the mayhem, he looks guilty and remorseful but he isn't mature enough to know what else to do.
Beyond Murray and Scwartzman, there's a whole range of other fully-developed characters. Even for characters on screen for two minutes, director and co-writer Wes Anderson gives them the respect they deserve. Sara Tanaka plays the wallflower who silently pines away for Schwartzman, and who turns out to have much more in common with him than suspected. Seymour
The only character that disappointed me was the object of love. She's too perfect to be believed. Yes, she's got hooters that look fantastic in a tight sweater, but her character is least complete. I would have rather seen Murray and Schwartzman fight over a character as flawed as themselves. But that's about the only real beef I have with this movie.
This is a teen comedy that isn't for teenagers. It's too smart
and too good for them. So, while all those whiny little pissants
are letting their little brains and over-stimulated genitals
be rotted by "She's All That," let's us adults go watch
"Rushmore" over and over. It's a five finger
extravaganza I will be enjoying again soon.