As Max Fischer, a 10th-grade student at Rushmore Academy, Schwartzman is the underachieving soul of academia. His entire life is built on schemes, dreams, and ambitions that realistically should have no part in his life, and when he and his new friend, Rushmore alum Herman Blume (Murray), both fall in love with widowed first-grade teacher Miss Cross (Williams), everything becomes that much more complicated. Anderson sets up this conflict of wills -- Max vs. Blume -- in a sort of surrealist, academic omniverse. Rushmore
as a film exists out of time and place; if anything, this outré, wildly original piece of cinema recalls Mike Nichols' The Graduate
. Featuring Schwartzman, Williams, and Cassel (as Max's father), Rushmore
is filled with brilliant, stand-out performances. But it is Murray who thrills here like he hasn't done in years. Murray's quiet, reserved, and droll wit is always at the ready, and Rushmore
offers him the opportunity to flex his chops and kick into laconic high gear. It's a wonder watching this comic stylist come back into the fore, especially in a film like this. Read a full review of Rushmore.