Monthly Archives: February 1999

“On the Road” {archive}

Roughcut.com

by Andy Jones

When I heard that Wes Anderson was traveling across country on a bus to promote Rushmore, I assumed that he was driving around in a big yellow school bus. I don’t know why. But it seemed very Wes and very Rushmore — which is an odd, riotous, deeply satisfying, crushingly original film that Anderson directed and co-wrote with his good friend Owen Wilson. Both are also responsible for the equally out-there Bottle Rocket. Anyhow, it’s not a school bus. It’s a high-tech tour bus painted bright yellow and Anderson holds court in the back bedroom… with a mirrored ceiling. Very rock star. We caught up with him in Atlanta, early in the morning, between television interviews.

Continue reading

“Wes Anderson carves a masterful ‘Rushmore’” {archive}

Boston Phoenix, February 1999
By Peter Keough

RUSHMORE; Directed by Wes Anderson. Written by Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson. With Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Olivia Williams, Brian Cox, Seymour Cassel, Mason Gamble, Sara Tanaka, Stephen McCole, and Luke Wilson. A Touchstone Pictures release. At the Nickelodeon, the Kendall Square, and the Circle and in the suburbs. Adolescence, for better and worse, defines popular culture these days, from the hit movie Varsity Blues to the junior-high petulance and concupiscence of the United States Congress. In the process, with the emphasis on hormones, pseudo-hipness, bogus nihilism, and bodily functions, all of the charm of that evanescent, inescapable state of mind has been lost, as well as the magic, the optimism, and the spontaneity. In his brilliant new Rushmore, Wes Anderson goes a long way to restoring all that. It’s innocent (mostly — the deviations are crucial, never gratuitous) and funny — in its way as funny as There’s Something About Mary. Smugness and smarminess never taint its irony; compassion and exuberance stir its absurdity.The spirit of Rushmore, the genial private academy of the title, is embodied in its hero, Max Fischer (Jason Schwartzman, whose film debut is comparable in many ways to that of Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate). His gravely monumental face peaking in a prominent, pasteboard-looking nose surmounted by Harold Lloyd-like glasses, he’s driven by simple, irreconcilable desires: he wants to be loved; he wants to succeed; and he wants to remain forever at his beloved school. On the basis of a play he wrote about Watergate at age seven, his mother got him a scholarship to go to Rushmore. Now 15, with his mother dead, and his loving dad (Seymour Cassel, another great face and performance) an embarrassment given the tony crowd Max is hanging around with, he sees Rushmore as his alma mater in the literal sense. It’s the womb he doesn’t want to leave.That may explain why he’s such a lousy student. An opening fantasy parodying Good Will Hunting notwithstanding, he’s failing every course. In extracurriculars, though, he’s outstanding — in a hilarious montage of yearbook-like snapshots, he’s shown as active in every group from the Bombardment Society to the Max Fischer Players, his personal drama corps. But Dean Guggenheim (Brian Cox, one of the few excellent supporting actors underused) has had enough. Max faces “sudden-death probation” — one more failure and he’s across the street, where the grim Grover Cleveland public high school looms.

Continue reading

Onion A/V Club Interview with Wes Anderson {archive}

The Onion A/V Club
By Keith Phipps

Though he only has two films on his resume, it’s safe to say that no one makes movies like Wes Anderson. Despite barely being released in theaters, his debut, 1996′s Bottle Rocket, still found an audience on video. Starring brothers Luke and Owen Wilson (who also serves as Anderson’s writing partner), the sweet, complex, humane comedy about a hapless group of aspiring criminals struck a chord with most who saw it, even while languishing in relative obscurity. Rushmore, Anderson’s follow-up, doesn’t seem likely to meet the same fate: It has a high-profile star in Bill Murray and the support of its studio. More importantly, the film has gathered an avalanche of good will from critics, many of whom began publicizing its virtues in November, long before most people could see it. Rushmore tells the story of a lovestruck 15-year-old private-school student whose desire to achieve in every extracurricular activity is outstripped only by his inability (or unwillingness) to recognize his limitations. Raised in Texas, the 33-year-old Anderson shares with his film’s protagonist a private-school background (Rushmore was filmed at the academy he attended as a boy) and prodigious creative instincts (like Rushmore‘s hero, he channeled much of his energy into staging elaborate school plays). Anderson recently spoke to The Onion while touring America in a yellow school bus emblazoned with the Rushmore logo.

The Onion: Tell me about this bus tour you’re on. Have you had any strange experiences on it?

Continue reading

“Funny Men Bill Murray & Wes Anderson” {archive}

Interview (magazine), February 1999

Not since the mid-to-late ’80s — the days of movies like Blue Velvet, True Stories, Raising Arizona, and Something Wild — has there been a slice of post-modern Americana as funny, thoughtful, and downright weird as the unmissable Rushmore. The film tells the tale of fifteen-year-old nerd entrepreneur Max (played by astounding newcomer Jason Schwartzman), who gets tycoon Mr. Blume (Bill Murray) to sponsor his madcap schemes so he can impress the schoolmarm he desires (Olivia Williams), only for the melancholy millionaire to fall for her himself.

Continue reading