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Wes Anderson, Owen Wilson
Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman, Olivia Williams, Seymour Cassel, Brian Cox, Mason Gamble, Sara Tanaka, Connie Nielsen, Stephen McCole, Kumar Pallana, Luke Wilson, Kim Terry, Kim Terry, Ronnie McCawley, Keith McCawley
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|Movie Review by Derek |
July 10th, 2006
the great gatsby of our time ...
... who also happens to like british invasion music.
personally, this is a very important film for me because i felt like this was a film that was able to speak to me. prior to that, there were films that i enjoyed watching for their own sake. but here (and another film i saw prior to this one, *welcome to the dollhouse*), this was a film that i felt could reflect or correlate to some aspects in my life.
so how am i like max fischer? well, supposedly we were born in the same year (max fischer is suppose to be around 15 and 16 and this film came out in 1998). but more importantly, we both have that strong tenacious drive to go out and start something grand. in max fischer's case, it is being involved in every extracirricular activity that's currently available. and if it doesn't exist, he starts one. while his interests are diverse, his true strength and talent is in writing and directing plays and they are mostly adaptations of famous films such as serpico and various vietnam films. of course i love the metaphysical irony of it: a film that shows play performances based on films. but at the heart of it all, max fischer is someone who truly follows his heart's passion and desires. for the longest time, he has a strong love for rushmore academy (hence all the activities). where we come in, he has fallen for a teacher.
at the same time, he befriends a steel tycoon, herman blume (played by bill murray ... and everything after that will not be the same for him). blume sees his max himself at that age and therefore a promising future. max sees in him a father figure and another supporter for his various endeavours (he turns down a job but still asks for money ... "$35,000 for the initial plans [of a potential rushmore aquarium]"). for a good while, there was a good and caring friendship at work. this all changes when miss cross comes into the picture and it is revealed that max is in love with her (using the most ungraceful of means =] ).
what is charming about the film are the characters and the situations they either create or find themselves thrusted into. the film was casted wonderfully. jason schwartzman was one who made the film possible after an exhaustive search in the us, canada and the uk and he was perfect for the role. bill murray is perfect for herman blume and demonstrates that his acting abilities go beyond just *caddyshack* (of course five years prior to that, he was the lead in *groundhog day* and that was a nice precursor to his later roles for various independent film directors like wes anderson, jim jarmusch and sofia coppola). and the other characters are great as well: olivia williams playing miss cross (who most recently had a small appearance on *x-men: the last stand*) mason gamble playing max's "chapel partner" (more like partner-in-crime) dirk calloway and brian cox playing rushmore's headmaster dr. guggenheim.
and part of what makes the characters interesting in the first place (i.e. the reason why people agree to do the film) is the writing. this is the second film that was written by wes anderson and owen wilson. yes, before he fought alongside jackie chan, crashed weddings and, right now, mooching off his friends, he was also a writer and befriended wes when attending university of texas. the dialogue is unusual for a mainstream but it is not far-fetched either. in fact there is not only a charm but also a realism given the situations.
and lastly, there is the mise-en-scene that is all wes anderson. it is rich with detail that you always find something new in it. with that and the shot composition and the way it is edited, the "wes anderson style" can be best described as a children's book for adults. but of course, i wouldn't recommend reading a book to a child where a topic of handjobs come up. there is a playfulness in the visuals but it helps to express adult sentiments.
and lastly, i should explain the great gatsby reference. on owen wilson's side of the script, he's noted that that book was a great influence and he could see max fischer as a type of jay gatsby figure: very ambitious in his aspirations and his near downfall was fueled by romance. and thus, this is truly the story of gatsby made for those who lived to see the end of the 20th century.
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Jul 10, 2006 4:27 PM
|If you haven't listened to the commentary on the DVD, I highly recommend it. It's one of the better commentaries I've ever heard, and it's for one of the best movies ever made.|
Jul 11, 2006 1:19 PM
|"...can best be described as a children's book for adults."|
YES! I've always thought that about Wes Anderson's films! There's a playfulness, they're very colorful, and the shots are framed almost like illustrated pages, especially in The Royal Tenenbaums.
Damn, now I wanna watch some of his stuff...
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