By: Katy Kleinginna (A Toast) –
Wes Anderson has had a solid grip on the “coming of age” genre for over a decade with his dry, quirky films.
Anderson weaves simple story lines within his intricate characters by allowing the dialogue and body language of the characters to thrive without the use of choppy flashbacks or other generic story telling mediums. Though the characters names and locations vary, there’s a great likeness surrounding each character and film. Younger characters are often portrayed as lost, mature souls searching for the love in their hearts and a place to call home, often because of broken families.
In the case of Max Fischer (Jason Schwartzman), Rushmore serves as his love and home until he is threatened with expulsion due to his lack of academic ambition. After Fischer’s report card is exposed with all F’s, an extra curricular activity montage takes over to prove how diverse Fischer’s talents are outside of academia. Fischer has founded, served as president and participated in eighteen Rushmore clubs, an honor he is most proud of. Max’s mother passed away before the time period in which the film takes place, but Max still has his father, the town barber. Max’s father is supportive, but is emotionally reserved for reasons unexplained. Guidance for Max mostly stems from Bill Murray’s character who is in the midst of a failing marriage and budding romance. Murray’s character finds himself trying to maintain a relationship with his children, while remaining emotionally available whenever Max needs assistance.
Coming of age films are mass produced and often trite. Director Anderson’s films are all but trite because of how realistically the character’s story lines and futures blend with one another. Though the film revolves around a private school, a setting which some viewers have never experienced first hand, the themes of fleeting childhood and a thirst for adventure are dispersed through out the film.
Rushmore launched Jason Schwartzman’s film career when he was only eighteen years old. Wes Anderson plays with varying scenarios and settings, but has developed a fondness for using specific actors for nearly every film. Schwartzman has found himself roped into Anderson’s clutches and has had a role in several of his films including the most recent Academy Award nominated Moonrise Kingdom. Schwartzman is a gem because of his ability to channel a high volume of emotion and energy into each character he portrays, regardless of the scenarios. Owen Wilson and Wes Anderson co-wrote the screenplay in order to turn their understanding of how complex the teenage experience is by outlining the heartbreak and angst of finding who you are in the few, fleeting years of high school into a relatable story.
Every aspect of Rushmore compliments the other beautifully, leaving the viewer with a sense of nostalgia. Rushmore deserves a toast and Wes Anderson deserves respect for his insightful films.
Take a Drink: whenever music opens a scene
Take a Drink: for every failed attempt at flirting from Max
Do a Shot: every time the aquarium is mentioned