“The Life Examined with Wes Anderson” {archive}

New York Magazine, December 20, 2004

What did the idiosyncratic director do with his first full-size budget? He put Bill Murray into a father-figure role, and gave him a speargun.

Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou looks, at first, as though it’s the inevitable final entry in what you might call Anderson’s Great-Search-for-a-Father-Figure Trilogy. It’s of a piece with previous Anderson movies like Rushmore (1998) and The Royal Tenenbaums (2001), in that it features a selfish bastard (Bill Murray in the first; Gene Hackman in the second) who, in crumbling middle age, decides it’s important to impart some of his wisdom, or at least his hard-won cynical savvy, to a young man who views him as a father figure, if not an actual father. What’s with the dad thing, Wes?

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Welcome to the Dahl House {archive}

August 18th, 2002 – New York Times
By Wes Anderson

My brothers and I grew up reading Roald Dahl’s stories. Our mother had gotten us nameplates to put in our books, and we used to steal one another’s copies of ”Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and ”The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar,” tear out the other’s nameplates and replace them with our own. Dahl was our favorite.

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“Road to Andersonville” {archive}


Welcome to Andersonville I’m a confirmed Wes Anderson fan, but then you knew that. Rushmore and Bottle Rocket (directed by Anderson, co-written by Anderson and Owen Wilson) are among my favorite films of the ’90s. I can’t wait for the next one, something about a family of geniuses living in New York.

But my admiration for Anderson’s sly brand of filmmaking pales next to Jon Doyle and Mark Devitt’s. These guys are serious. How serious? Last February they went on a Wes Anderson pilgrimage, traveling by car from their native Canada to visit various locations Anderson used for Rushmore and Bottle Rocket in Texas. A little strange, I suppose, but also charming in an oddball, Wes Anderson sort of way.

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“On the Road” {archive}


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.

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“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.

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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?

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“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.

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My Private Screening With Pauline Kael {archive}

New York Times
January 31, 1999

Wes Anderson, the director and co-writer of the new offbeat comedy ”Rushmore,” is a lifelong fan of the New Yorker magazine film critic Pauline Kael, who is now retired. Wanting to show her his film, he tracked her down last fall at her home in the Berkshire Mountains. The following account of his visit is from the introduction to his ”Rushmore” screenplay, to be published on Friday by Faber & Faber.

I already had Pauline Kael’s phone number because I’d found it when I was looking through somebody’s Rolodex a couple of years ago. ”Hello. My name is Wes Anderson. I’m calling for Pauline Kael, please.” I had immediately recognized her voice (from a tape I have of her on ”The Dick Cavett Show”) when she answered the telephone, but I wanted to give her a chance to introduce herself.

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“Teacher’s Pet” {archive}


“Rushmore” director Wes Anderson talks about his first “collaborative” writing effort, his recent pilgrimage to the home of Pauline Kael and New York telephone booths.


Director Wes Anderson’s rise from cable-access obscurity to Hollywood buzz boy is the stuff of indie auteur reverie. After graduating from the University of Texas, Anderson and his roommate, Owen Wilson, wrote and shot a 15-minute short on a shoestring budget. Through a combination of luck, talent and some well-connected family friends, the film found its way to Hollywood, where it gained the support of producer-director James L. Brooks. Brooks helped the duo hone their screenplay and secure a $5 million budget. The resulting feature, 1996’s “Bottle Rocket,” which starred Wilson and his brother Luke, is the story of a couple of suburban slackers whose aimlessness leads them to commit a series of half-baked heists. Though it opened to critical raves, it was more cult hit than blockbuster, but Hollywood took notice: Anderson commanded an eight-figure budget from Disney for his second feature, “Rushmore.”

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If I Can Dream {archive}

The Everlasting Boyhoods of Wes Anderson
From the Lawnwranglers.com Archive
Film Comment, January/February 1999
by Mark Olsen

Unlike many writer-directors of his generation, Wes Anderson does not view his characters from some distant Olympus of irony. He stands beside them — or rather, just behind them — cheering them on as they chase their miniaturist renditions of the American Dream. The characters who inhabit Anderson’s cinematic universe, a Middle West of the Imagination, embody both sides of William Carlos Williams’ famous edict that the pure products of America go crazy, being, for the most part, both purely American and slightly crazy. Though some might label his people losers, or even invoke that generational curse, slackers, they are in fact ambitious and motivated overreachers, misguided though their energies occasionally are.

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