Rushmore

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With his sophomore film, Wes Anderson created The Graduate for the late 1990s with this highly affectionate but wonderfully unorthodox look at the perils and pitfalls of adolescence. In Rushmore, built from equal parts coming-of-age story, French New Wave homage and screwball comedy, Jason Schwartzman plays tenth grader Max, a gifted and rebellious prep school kid known to all as Rushmore Academy’s most extracurricular student (head of the drama club, the beekeeper club, the fencing club …) – and its least scholarly. Facing expulsion, our renegade hero (who is seemingly smarter than all the adults around him), falls in to an unlikely friendship with a melancholy self-made millionaire named Mr. Blume (Bill Murray) – until their friendship is threatened by both men’s fondness for the lovely first grade teacher, Miss Cross (Olivia Williams), at which point it’s all-out war. With Rushmore, Anderson and co-writer Owen Wilson (scrupulously avoiding stooping to sentimentality), have fashioned a wickedly intelligent and wildly funny tale of young adulthood (set to a killer soundtrack of classic British Invasion tunes) that hits all the right notes, capturing the pain, exuberance and optimism of adolescence with wit, depth and cinematic flair. (Dir. by Wes Anderson, 1998, USA, 93 mins., Rated R) 35mm