Rushmore (1998)

Directed by Wes Anderson

When a beautiful first-grade teacher arrives at a prep school, she soon attracts the attention of an ambitious teenager named Max, who quickly falls in love with her. Max turns to the father of two of his schoolmates for advice on how to woo the teacher. However, the situation soon gets complicated when Max's new friend becomes involved with her, setting the two pals against one another in a war for her attention.

The ship that launched a thousand prematurely middle-aged 20-year-olds.

This must have felt genuinely fresh in the late-1990s amongst all the other high-school movies such as She's All That and Varsity Blues. And I've gotta admit, it was nice to see a Murray/Anderson collaboration in 2024 in which the former isn't just phoning in his "disinterested supporting actor" schtick. You know, I think Murray actually cared about his role here — albeit inversely proportional to the degree that Wes Anderson has ever thought about class as anything other than a direct synonym for their 'job' and, moreover, something that people just, somehow, 'are'.

Anyway, although markedly less insufferable than the rest of his oeuvre, with its aggressively affected aesthetic and contrived grace, this film helped me realise that Wes Anderson is basically Frederico Fellini for Gen Z.


It's structured like a comedy, but there are undertones of darker themes, and I almost wish they'd allowed the plot to lead them into those shadows. The Max Fischer they give us is going to grow up into Benjamin Braddock [of The Graduate]. But there is an unrealized Max who would have become Charles Foster Kane.

Roger Ebert