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Story

Wes Anderson's follow-up to the quirky Bottle Rocket is a wonderfully unorthodox coming-of-age story that ranks with Harold and Maude and The Graduate in the pantheon of timeless cult classics. Jason Schwartzman (son of Talia Shire and nephew of Francis Coppola) stars as Max Fischer, a 15-year-old attending the prestigious Rushmore Academy on scholarship, where he's failing all of his classes but is the superstar of the school's extracurricular activities (head of the drama club, the beekeeper club, the fencing club...). Possessing boundless confidence and chutzpah, as well as an aura of authority he seems to have been born with, Max finds two unlikely soulmates in his permutations at Rushmore: industrial magnate and Rushmore alumnus Herman Blume (Bill Murray) and first-grade teacher Rosemary Cross (Olivia Williams). His alliance with Blume and crush on Miss Cross, however, are thrown out of kilter by his expulsion from Rushmore, and a budding romance between the two adults that threatens Max's own designs on the lovely schoolteacher.

Never stooping to sentimentality or schmaltz, Anderson and cowriter Owen Wilson have fashioned a wickedly intelligent and wildly funny tale of young adulthood that hits all the right notes in its mix of melancholy and optimism. As played by Schwartzman, Max is both immediately endearing and ferociously irritating: smarter than all the adults around him, with little sense of his shortcomings, he's an unstoppable dynamo who commands grudging respect despite his outlandish projects (including a school play about Vietnam). Murray, as the tycoon who determinedly wages war with Max for the affections of Miss Cross, is a revelation of middle-aged resignation. Disgusted with his family, his life, and himself, he's turned around by both Max's antagonism and Miss Cross's love. Williams is equally affecting as the teacher who still carries a torch for her dead husband, and the superb supporting cast also includes Seymour Cassel as Max's barber father, Brian Cox as the frustrated headmaster of Rushmore, and a hilarious Mason Gamble as Max's young charge. Put this one on your shelf of modern masterpieces. --Mark Englehart

DVD Features

  • Color
  • Closed-captioned
  • Widescreen

Cast

Jason SchwartzmanMax Fischer
Bill MurrayHerman Blume
Olivia WilliamsRosemary Cross
Seymour CasselBert Fischer
Brian CoxDr. Nelson Guggenheim
Mason GambleDirk Calloway
Sara TanakaMargaret Yang
Stephen McColeMagnus Buchan
Connie NielsenMrs. Calloway
Luke WilsonDr. Peter Flynn
Dipak PallanaMr. Adams (as Deepak Pallana)
Andrew WilsonCoach Beck
Marietta MarichMrs. Guggenheim
Ronnie McCawleyRonny Blume
Keith McCawleyDonny Blume
Hae Joon LeeAlex
Adebayo AsabiMr. Obiomiwe
Al FielderErnie
Colin PlattBoy Portraying Frank Serpico
George FarishO'Reilly
Francis FernandezBurnum
McCauley PenderdastFields

  • Genre: Comedy Movies
  • Director: Wes Anderson
  • Producer: Buena Vista
  • Length: 93 min
  • Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
  • Theatrical Release
    North AmericaFeb 5, 1999
    EuropeAug 20, 1999
    JapanApr 20, 2000
    AustraliaFeb 25, 1999
  • Ratings
    North AmericaR
    Europe15
    AustraliaM
  • Blu-ray Release
    North AmericaNov 22, 2011
  • DVD Release
    North AmericaMar 4, 2003
  • Also known as:
  • The World of Max the Genius in Japan
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