Rushmore

1 bone dog

Stars:  Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Olivia Williams

Actually, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of this movie. I didn’t hate it. But I didn’t like it too much either. It had funny moments but then it became mean-spirited and that really irked me.

It’s about a brilliant tenth-grade weirdo named Max Fischer who starts a myriad of clubs at school, writes plays and does a whole lot of other brilliant things, but he has no friends. He puts on airs that his father is a neurosurgeon when he’s really a barber. All this because Max got a scholarship to Rushmore Academy, a school for the elite. I was wondering what this guy was doing there.

Anyway, Max takes a shine to a new, young teacher at the school named Miss Cross and then he befriends Mr. Blume (Bill Murray), who’s a steel tycoon who hates his own two stupid sons. His friendship with Blume is a way for Max to get funding for a new project at the school just to impress Miss Cross. The threesome becomes a kind of love triangle. Max loves the teacher who can’t possibly return his affections. The teacher, in turn, falls for Blume, who’s married and that’s not so good. Then Max hates both of them for betraying him and that’s when things get messy and Max turns into a vicious, destructive fiend. You hate the kid.

Jason Schwartzman does a wonderful job portraying this strange kid and Bill Murray can do deadpan like no one else. Olivia Williams plays Miss Cross, the teacher trying desperately not to hurt Max’s feelings.

I don’t know, maybe it’s the way Schwartzman looks throughout the movie, like Groucho Marx with his thick glasses and eyebrows, that’s not so appealing. Maybe it’s the stupid teacher who keeps Max a little too close that’s annoying. Actually I think it’s the whole character of Max that rubbed me the wrong way. Nothing says you have to like all the characters on film; but he’s the lead and I just couldn’t really root for him.

Murray got raves reviews for this film and he’s very good here, but if you want to talk awards (as many did), then Murray should have gotten it for his supporting role in “Tootsie”. This wouldn’t have been his movie, I think.

Lotta says “Rushmore”‘s got uumph but I just wasn’t crazy about it. It’ll probably become a cult film if it isn’t already.