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The Greatest Movies I’ve Never Seen #6: Rushmore

by gwolinetz on February 26th, 2014

I love Wes Anderson, but I don’t think I’ve seen many of his films. I saw the Royal Tenenbaums, which I loved. But until last week, that was the ONLY Wes Anderson film that I’d ever seen. So it begs the question: do I love Wes Anderson or do I just love that there’s a guy like Wes Anderson that out there, making weird films like this that I think I would love if I had seen them?

Rushmore is a somewhat iconic film for people that are my age (at least, anyone worth talking to that’s roughly my age), because it’s Anderson’s second film, but his first one that was mainstream, but also because there’s lots of good acting, including Bill Murray, who is like a god to not just people around my age, but basically everyone these days because he says things like he took the Garfield role without reading it because Joel Cohen wrote it. Turned out, it wound up that he thought he was working with Joel Coen (no h) and he was attached to this shitty film he couldn’t back out of, which doesn’t exactly explain why he did the second Garfield film.

Rushmore had been sitting on my DVD since my son was born. I assumed I’d have a chance to watch it in the middle of the night when he woke up, so I just recorded it and left it there and never got around to it. I got home the other day and there was fuck all on TV and my wife was into the idea of watching it, so we put it on.

Here’s what I’ll say: Rushmore’s a good film. Bill Murray is great, so is Jason Schwartzman. The woman who played the teacher was fine. I just didn’t love the story. It seems like there’s tons of potential there, and maybe I built it up too much in my head, but I just didn’t LOVE it the way I thought I was supposed to. And I think my wife hit the nail on the head, so I’m going to tell a Chuck Klosterman anecdote, then say what my wife said and then talk about Moonrise Kingdom.

In Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs, Klosterman has a chapter on Saved by the Bell, and he talks about this dude that he would watch the show with every day. And every day, he’s sit there in silence while Zach Morris did all kinds of things that completely defy logic and reality, but it wasn’t until there was a simple scene where the Bayside gang was friends with Belding that the guy exploded and said “Oh, come on!” You see it wasn’t that the show was unrealistic. Of course it was. It was just consistently unrealistic, until that moment. Which is exactly what my wife said about this movie. There were certain scenes in it that my wife just couldn’t handle. They were inconsistently unrealistic.

Which is why I liked, but didn’t love this film. It’s not even half the film, in my estimation, that Moonrise Kingdom is. It just happened that I saw them in the same week (M.K. first) and seeing them side by side made that plainly obvious to me.

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