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Film: Rushmore

Herman Blume: What's the secret, Max?
Max Fischer: The secret?
Herman Blume: Yeah, you seem to have it pretty figured out.
Max Fischer: The secret, I don't know... I guess you've just gotta find something you love to do and then... do it for the rest of your life.

Rushmore is a 1998 film by Wes Anderson, starring Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, and Olivia Williams. It follows the exploits of Max Fischer, 15-year-old student at the eponymous academy. He is incredibly bright but scatterbrained, preferring to do extracurricular activities instead of actual schoolwork. He becomes unlikely friends with Herman Blume, a local businessman who is unhappy with his life and becomes ispired by Max's energy.

When a new teacher arrives at Rushmore Academy, Rosemary Cross, an odd Love Triangle develops, with Max hopelessly lusting after Rosemary while she and Herman begin having an affair. The two friends soon become bitter enemies, working to ruin each other's lives. However, since this is a comedy, and not a particularly dark one, the tone remains lighthearted and whimsical throughout.

The movie has a childlike sense of awe and general quirky atmosphere, which went on to become Wes Anderson's signature style. It also allowed Bill Murray to establish himself as a dramatic actor, though he would continue to work with Anderson in later films.


This work contains examples of:

  • Bittersweet Ending:
    Max: At least nobody got hurt.
    Rosemary: Except for you.
    Max: Nah. I didn't get hurt that bad.
  • Brilliant but Lazy: Max has boundless energy for his many hobbies and projects, but is flunking his actual classes.
  • Cock Fight
  • Darkest Hour: “November”
  • Dogged Nice Guy: It’s clear pretty soon after she’s introduced that Margaret Yang is harboring an attraction for Max, but he gives her the cold shoulder in favor of his own infatuation with Ms. Cross. Things get better by the end, though, when he warms up to and eventually begins dating her after getting over Ms. Cross (maybe).
  • Elaborate University High: Actually filmed at two real schools in Houston. Rushmore is St. John's in real life, Wes Andersons alma mater.
  • Elevator School
  • Enter Stage Window: After learning Blume and Ms. Cross have split up, Max comes to the latter’s second-story window at night and makes up a story about having been hit by a car and needing to use her phone. When she wises up, he leaves the same way he came in.
  • Escalating War: Max and Herman's battle gets hilariously out of hand.
  • Extracurricular Enthusiast: Max Fischer's extracurricular activities at Rushmore Academy include: Yankee Review editor-in-chief, French Club president, representing Russia in the model UN, Stamp & Coin Club vice-president, debate team captain, Lacrosse team manager, Calligraphy Club president, Astronomy Society founder, fencing team captain, track & field J. V. decathlon, 2nd Chorale choirmaster, bombardment society founder, Kung Fu Club yellow belt, Trap & Skeet Club founder, Rushmore Beekeepers president, Yankee Racers founder, Max Fischer Players director and the Piper Cub Club. Yeah, and he saved Latin - what did you ever do?
  • High School Hustler
  • Hot for Teacher
  • Intergenerational Friendship: A few, but most prominently the one between Max, Ms. Cross and Mr. Blume.
  • Jerkass: Max at times. It gets really bad when Rosemary brings a date to Serpico and Max gets a bit of liquor in him.
  • Kid Sidekick: Dirk Calloway is this to Max.
  • The Lost Lenore: Ms. Cross has her deceased husband, Edward Appleby.
  • Modern Major General
  • Not So Different: "I always wanted to be in one of your fucking plays."
  • Parody Sue
  • Plot-Mandated Friendship Failure: At least two. One between Max and Dirk when the latter learns from Magnus that Max has been claiming to have gotten a handjob from Dirk’s mother. This, in turn, kicks off the falling out between Max and Blume when Dirk writes him a letter revealing the affair Blume is having with Ms. Cross.
  • Pretentious Latin Motto: "Sic transit gloria", as opposed to "Sic transit gloria mundi".
  • Retraux
  • Romantic False Lead: Luke Wilson as Dr. Peter Flynn.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Snowball Lie: Max starts a few, like how his father is a neurosurgeon or that he got a handjob from Dirk's mom.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The "you are forgiven" portion of The Who's "A Quick One, While He's Away" plays while Max pulls a series of pranks on Herman, who he believes has betrayed him.
  • Transfer Student Uniforms: Max, after he's expelled from Rushmore Academy.
  • Triang Relations: Type four.
  • Violent Glaswegian: Magnus Buchan.
  • With Friends Like These...: Max and Herman.

Rush HourFilms of the 1990sSaving Private Ryan
The Ruling ClassCreator/The Criterion CollectionSafety Last!

alternative title(s): Rushmore
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