BEST COMEDY OF THE YEAR! Yes, better than “Something About Mary”, “Safe Men”, whatever. It’s a better coming of age movie than anything John Hughes ever did. Wes Anderson (Director/co-writer) and Owen Wilson (co-writer), the guys who made “Bottle Rocket”, have avoided the sophomore slump, given Bill Murray his best part in years, and provided a showcase for the newest Coppola brat, Jason Schwartzman (Talia Shire’s son). The only bad thing is you probably won’t get to see it until February.
Touchstone hadn’t planned on releasing the film until February 5th, especially in light of the massive holiday release schedule (8 movies are coming out on Christmas day) but when they received the final cut, they decided to do a limited release for December 11 to be eligible for the Oscars. It’s worth it.
Max Fischer (Schwartzman) is a student at the private Rushmore Academy. Max loves his school. He’s the editor of the newspaper and the yearbook, founder of the Debate Team, Dodgeball Society, The Max Fischer Players, president of the French, German, and Chess Clubs, and an alternate on the wrestling team. This doesn’t really leave him any time to study. Max, a young “Master of the Universe” in training, doesn’t really care, though, as he’s set his sights on a young, new first grade teacher, Miss Cross (Olivia Williams), and has the aid of his new benefactor, Mr. Blume (Bill Murray). Everything get’s mucked up when the married Blume falls in love with the widowed Cross and Max takes revenge. Hilarity REALLY ensues.
It’s hard to do this film justice. It’s a coming of age film on peyote. Max, like Owen Wilson’s character in “Bottle Rocket”, creates insane plans, but everyone really loves him. Max’s plays, as performed by the Max Fischer players, go off the rails as they perform adaptations of “Serpico”, what I think is “American Me” and an original piece at the end that I’ll only say includes explosives and a flame-thrower.
Like “Bottle Rocket”, Max has definite gifts, but must first learn lessons about friendship, loyalty, and responsibility before he can grow. In the process, we get to watch the birth of a star (Schwartzman) and probably Bill Murray’s best performance ever.