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Rushmore"Rushmore" on DVD

Offbeat Comedy with a Great Soundtrack

"Rushmore" is billed as a comedy - and it has some funny moments - but it's more whimsical than wacky, and that's okay.

The tale of Max Fischer, a smart fifteen year old with eclectic interests that seem to encompass everything except study, "Rushmore" follows Max in his pursuit of and fight for knowledge, experience, and Miss Cross (Olivia Williams). She's a grade one teacher at Rushmore Academy, a private school from which Max is expelled early in the film. She's a lot older than him, and though they have much in common, she ends up falling for Max's tycoon friend Mr. Blume (a restrained Bill Murray) and that's when the war erupts.

Max is a good kid, and you really get to like him. He has a lot of talent and smarts, but in the end after all, he's only fifteen.

Bill Murray's Mr. Blume isn't nearly as likable; he's rich and powerful, and genuinely likes Max, but in the end he's rather shallow. Murray does a good job with the part without any of his trademarked cockiness. It's a role in which he actually acts, not merely going through his "Stripes" or "Ghostbusters" schtick again.

The movie is "R" rated for language, but it's language any contemporary teenager has probably heard many times; there's no nudity and, though sexual situations are discussed, the movie is surprisingly sexless.

Whoever chose the classic rock music for the soundtrack did a wonderful job, with cuts ranging from John Lennon and the Rolling Stones to the Faces, Cat Stevens and The Who. I don't know if the songs were remastered for the movie, but they sound great nonetheless.

The widescreen DVD looks and sound great as well. There aren't a lot of extras, though. You get the theatrical trailer and a couple of other film recommendations, but that's about it. I would have been interested to learn more about the filmmakers because, while I didn't find "Rushmore" a yukfest (though my kids found it hilarious), I enjoyed it a lot on other levels and would like to keep tabs on the careers of those involved.

But it was not to be. You do get a chapter list, but liner notes are limited to a two paragraph blurb on the rear panel of the box.

When all is said and done, however, "Rushmore" is a warm and witty film that celebrates a guy who isn't a jock, who isn't a great student, who isn't a "babe magnet," but who has depth of character and a love for life. And that makes it very different from the run of the mill teen exploitation movie I expected.

Rushmore, from Touchstone Home Video
93 minutes, widescreen (2.35:1), Dolby Digital
starring Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Olivia Williams, Brian Cox, Seymour Cassel, Mason Gamble
Written by Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson, Produced by Barry Mendel and Paul Schiff
Directed by Wes Anderson


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Updated May 13, 2006