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A coming of age tale that centers on precocious 10th grader Max Fischer and his expulsion from the prestigious Rushmore Academy.
For more about Rushmore and the Rushmore Blu-ray release, see the Rushmore Blu-ray Review
Starring: Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Olivia Williams, Seymour Cassel, Brian Cox, Luke Wilson
Director: Wes Anderson
» See full cast & crew
Rushmore Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, November 8, 2011
Winner of Best Director and Best Supporting Male Awards at the Independent Spirit Awards, Wes Anderson's "Rushmore" (1998) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Criterion. The supplemental features on the disc include the film's original theatrical trailer; gallery of archival audition clips; exclusive behind-the-scenes documentary directed by Eric Chase Anderson; Wes Anderson hand-drawn storyboards; interviews with Bill Murray and director Wes Anderson; theatrical adaptations directed by Wes Anderson; audio commentary by director Wes Anderson, cowriter Owen Wilson, and actor Jason Schwartzman; and more. The disc also arrives with an illustrated booklet featuring an essay by film critic Dave Kehr. In English, with optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature. Region-A "locked".
Fifteen-year-old Max Fisher (Jason Schwartzman, Spun, The Darjeeling Limited) is the busiest student at Rushmore, a prestigious high-school for rich kids. He is the editor-in-chief of the not so popular Yankee Review, president of the French club, vice-president of the stamp & coin club, captain of the debate team, manager of the lacrosse team, president of the calligraphy club, founder of the astronomy society, captain of the fencing team, choirmaster, founder of the bombardment society, an aspiring playwright, and among other things president of the Rushmore beekeepers.
Max is also one of the lousiest students at Rushmore. He is so busy with the extracurricular activities he is involved with that he does not have time to study, which is why he is placed on "sudden death academic probation". According to Dr. Nelson Guggenheim (Brian Cox, Manhunter, Braveheart), the school principal, this is a very serious matter, but according to Max it is actually not a bad thing at all, because he could stay on for a postgraduate year and keep doing the things he loves to do. The only problem is: Rushmore does not offer his students a postgraduate year to get back on track.
While reading Jacques-Yves Cousteau's Diving for Sunken Treasure, Max discovers a hand-written note that impresses him. He does some investigative work and quickly locates the person who had the book before him – Miss Rosemary Cross (Olivia Williams, The Postman, To Kill a King), a beautiful and single first-grade teacher at Rushmore. He immediately falls in love with her and comes up with a plan to attract her attention - build a giant, one of a kind aquarium, right next to the baseball field, and have it filled with exotic fishes.
Building an aquarium, however, costs a lot of money, which is why Max befriends Herman Blume (Bill Murray, Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day), a local millionaire who hates his two sons, both students at Rushmore, and drives an old Bentley. Blume is so impressed by Max's enthusiasm, social skills, and business ideas that he immediately writes him a check for $2,500 and then invites him to join his company. Blum also meets Miss Cross and, like Max, immediately falls in love with her.
Meanwhile, flattered by the attention shown by her new admirers, Miss Cross decides to make it perfectly clear how she feels about them. What follows up is a chain-reaction of hilarious and sad events that profoundly change everyone's lives.
Wes Anderson's Rushmore certainly ranks amongst the very best serious comedies and the very best unserious dramas made during the 90s. There are scenes in it that are absolutely hilarious and then there are scenes that are beyond depressing. Like real life, a lot in the film happens when you least expect it.
The script is very good, though the majority of the time it is the smart dialog not the plot that impresses the most. The jokes are very dry, at times borderline offensive, but almost always extremely well timed. There are excellent dark overtones as well, which keep the film firmly grounded in reality.
The film stutters a bit at the end. There is slightly more kitsch there than needed and the happy ending is disappointingly clichéd. A darker and perhaps more nihilistic finale would have made the film a lot more convincing.
The acting is fantastic. Schwartzman is perfect as the poor outsider who can't get a break. Williams and Cox are also terrific. The film, however, belongs to Murray, who is the glue that holds the comedy and drama together.
Note: In 1999, Rushmore won Best Director (Wes Anderson) and Best Supporting Male (Bill Murray) Awards at the Independent Spirit Awards.
Rushmore Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Wes Anderson's Rushmore arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Criterion.
The following text appears inside the booklet provided with this Blu-ray disc:
"Supervised by by director Wes Anderson, this digital transfer was created on a DFT SCANITY film scanner at 2K resolution from the original camera negative. Thousands of instances of dirt, debris, scratches, splices, warps, jitter, and flicker were manually removed using MTI's DRS and Pixel Farm's PFClean, while Image System's DVNR was used for small dirt, grain, and noise reduction."
Telecine supervisors: Wes Anderson, Maria Palazzola.
Telecine Colorist: Sheri Eisenberg/Colorworks, Los Angeles."
Supervised by director Wes Anderson, the new high-definition transfer Criterion have used for this Blu-ray release looks mighty impressive. From start to finish the image conveys tremendous depth, while color reproduction is simply flawless. Detail and clarity are also dramatically improved (see screencaptures #2 and 9), and fluidity is on par with that from Criterion's Blu-ray release of The Darjeeling Limited. There are no traces of overzealous sharpening or problematic denoising. The high-definition transfer is also free of aliasing and banding patterns, as well as problematic compression artifacts. There are absolutely no stability issues to report in this review either. Truly, this is one outstanding high-definition transfer. (Note: This is a Region-A "locked" Blu-ray disc. Therefore, you must have a native Region-A or Region-Free PS3 or SA in order to access its content).
Rushmore Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There is only one audio track on this Blu-ray disc: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. For the record, Criterion have provided optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature. When turned on, they appear inside the image frame.
The following text appears inside the booklet provided with this Blu-ray disc:
"The original 5.1 surround soundtrack was remastered at 24-bit from the original magnetic tracks. Clicks, thumps, hiss, and hum were manually removed using Pro Tools HD."
The audio treatment is as impressive as the video treatment. The English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track opens up the film very well in two key areas - surround activity and fidelity. The former is surprisingly effective, while the latter gives the film a unique flavor that is very difficult to detect while listening to the lossy track from the DVD release (the music of The Who, The Rolling Stones, and Paul Desmond, among others, sounds so much better). The dialog is exceptionally crisp, clean, stable, and very easy to follow. For the record, there are no problematic audio dropouts or sync issues to report in this review.
Rushmore Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Rushmore Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Hilarious, sad and at times quite bizarre, Rushmore is arguably director Wes Anderson's most effective film. It is not for everyone, but those who get it will certainly appreciate what the Texas-born director has to say with it and how he does it. Criterion's Blu-ray release of the film is a thing of beauty, and I am absolutely convinced that its fans will be enormously pleased with it. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Rushmore Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Criterion's November Blu-ray Line-Up: Renoir, Anderson, KieÅ›lows... - August 15, 2011
Criterion has revealed their November slate of releases, which confirms the Blu-ray debuts of Jean Renoir's The Rules of the Game, Wes Anderson's Rushmore and Krzysztof Kieślowski's Three Colors trilogy. Also announced were Sidney Lumet's 12 Angry Men and ...
• Criterion Teases Rushmore Blu-ray - August 13, 2011
Criterion has teased yet another title from their upcoming November slate of Blu-ray releases. In addition to pre-annoucements for Renoir's The Rules of the Game and Kieślowski's Three Colors trilogy, the distributor posted earlier today an image from Wes ...
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