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flick pick | Rushmore 1998
Directed by:
Wes Anderson

Starring: Jason Schwartzman, Olivia Williams, Bill Murray
Language: English
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Plot synopsis Max Fischer is a highly gifted, extremely eccentric sophomore at prestigious Rushmore High. Yearbook editor, debate team captain, director of the Max Fischer Players, and founder of all manner of strange and wonderful clubs (Bombardment Society, Trap and Skeet Club, among others), Max throws himself into just about every facet of Rushmore High life. Problem is that he’s involved in so many extracurriculars that he's got no time left to concentrate on academics – hence the perpetual threat of expulsion looming over his head. One day Herman Blume, oil tycoon and father of two insipid Rushmore High wrestlers, gives a talk at a school assembly. Max is impressed with Mr. Blume, and initiates a friendship with the unhappy billionaire, who sees Max as exactly the sort of bright and interesting son he’s always wished he had (Mr. Blume’s not at all pleased with the two loudmouthed dimwits that are his real spawn). All is well until Max falls for the lovely Miss Cross, a first-grade teacher at Rushmore. Though she’s charmed by Max’s decidedly unique personality, she doesn’t quite know how to deal with his somewhat inappropriate attentions. When Mr. Blume offers to act as Max’s intermediary and patch up relations with Miss Cross, he ends up falling for her himself, leading to all out war between Max and his mentor.

Review Smart, quirky, unpredictable, funny, and genuinely, unabashedly sweet – there’s not a thing that I don’t like about Rushmore (including Bill Murray, an actor who normally induces that same cringing reflex in me as the sound of nails screeching down a chalkboard). Wes Anderson’s oddball little movie is as close to a perfect comedy as they get. The determined and puerile glee with which Max and Mr. Blume take revenge upon one another – Max pipes a swarm of bees into Mr. Blume’s hotel room, Mr. Blume runs over Max's bike, Max rigs a tree to fall on Mr. Blume – provides plenty of laughs, but what’s really impressive is how optimistic the film is at heart … it makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, without resorting to any of the usual stupid feel-good movie clichés. From the well-developed characters, who are appealingly weird without seeming at all contrived, to the subtly funny dialogue, to the spot-on perfection of the eclectic soundtrack, Rushmore oozes personality and winning geek charm. o

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