In an effort to rejuvenate my thirst for film I have partaken on an ambitious endeavor. I have decided to compile my list of 100 favorite films, “rewatch” them, and write a brief review. I encourage you to follow along.
Rushmore (Anderson, 1998)
The earnestness of love and youth can be indistinguishable. In our flailings and yearnings for affection we sometimes find ourselves repeating the mistakes of naivety from our youth. In Rushmore, we meet two men, one aged in disappointment, cigarette smoke, and bitterness, and the other, a child making a mockery of manhood, still stumbling through the trappings maturity. Both men, different in every way, begin to mirror each other in foolishness. They are both consumed with the idea of salvation through love. The older man, Herman Blume, played by Bill Murray, is desperate for a release from his prison of mundane disappointment, and belittlement. He wants Rosemary Cross, played by Olivia Williams, to gather the pieces of his life, and make sense of them. Max Fischer, played by Jason Schwartzman, is a dreamer, who believes everyone in his life is a tool designed to fulfill his dreams, including Rosemary. His love for her is displaced in the void left by his deceased mother, and his disdain for childhood. Max wants to be a man without knowing what a man is.
The first half of this write-up does not give credit to the charm and earnestness of Anderson’s film. The film itself is a work of dichotomy, in that he takes characters, saddened by life and its broken promises, and pulls from them an identifiable charm. This approach more closely resembles ourselves than the typical drama of such themes. Our laughter is not directed at the characters, but at our own lives. We identify with the absurd charms that shield each character from their pain and confusion. We watch these people grow until they come to a happy understanding of their present lives and the acceptance of the unknown ahead of them, captured is the feeling of comfort and love we all yearn for. It is the mark of a great comedy, and something Wes Anderson gleefully toys with in later films.
– James Merolla