Underground Film Journal

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Movie Review: Rushmore

With luck on my side, in the next two weeks my entire life is going to change. I’ve known about this for at least seven or eight months, but now D-Day is staring me right in the face. The “D” standing for “Downsizing”.

As the guy who runs my favorite comic book store said, “I didn’t think companies did that anymore.” Maybe I don’t fit the strict definition of the word, but I work(ed) at a small company that got gobbled up by a larger corporation and my job is suddenly obsolete. Well, not exactly suddenly as it’s been a long, agonizing process. My termination date has been consistently pushed back and I’m still living in fear that it will get pushed back once again at the last second. I’m like a prisoner on Death Row who WANTS to get zapped in the electric chair, but some busybody lawyer keeps appealing my case. Another department who was supposed to get the boot next month just found out the other day they’re stuck now until August.

So, I’m setting about getting my affairs in order. Most of the people in my department that share my predicament, actually I think all, are just staying here in the Philadelphia area trying to find work. I’m taking this opportunity to begin a new life in New York City. Hey, I think I can make it there after all.

There’s still a ton of crap floating around my apartment, but I’ve thrown out a couple garbage bags of junk. I’ve filled another box of books I’m going to donate to the local library this afternoon. This morning I scanned the NY Times on-line classifieds for places to fax my resume, on which I’ll use my friend Becky’s phone number and address as a contact as I’ll be staying with her until I get a place of my own.

I live alone so I have to deal with all this by myself which at times feels totally overwhelming. But in the bigger picture, I’m NOT alone as I’m calling on a bunch of friends for various favors to help me get set up in my new life, whether it’s them looking out for job opportunities or places to live, and I can always call my brother or parents if I need any advice about anything. I’ve got a 101 gazillion things to do, yet here I am furiously pounding out this geeky little review so I can update my goofy website. I’m not sure if I’ve always got my priorities in order.

I’m not quite a workaholic, but I have an uncontrollable urge to keep myself busy. I don’t know if the finished product reflects it, but this website takes a tremendous effort to maintain. I spent hours last night designing a new menu bar (doesn’t look half-bad, I think). I woke up first thing this morning to upload my changes and to work on this piece. Everyday I at least work on something even if it’s only one sentence for one article. The strangest thing about staying with Becky will be that she doesn’t have a computer. I sit in front of this stupid thing every goddamn night. What am I going to do with myself in the evenings while I’m with her? Guess I’ll make sure to bring a paper notebook to work on stuff longhand.

The topic of getting a job comes up extremely frequently in my office these days. There was one conversation I wasn’t a part of, but I got word of it a few days later. Chris has sat next to me for almost a year now. He’s a good guy and a lot of fun, but his views on life are very conservative and somewhat religious. He doesn’t talk about his religion all that much, but every once in awhile it comes out.

For example, this job, at least when you’re first starting out, doesn’t pay very much and a lot of people have to work two jobs to make ends meet. Chris works part-time on weekends and some nights at a pizza place. One day Chris says to fellow cubicle-mates John and Craig that he’d be happy just working in the pizza parlor, but God gave him the talent to write so he has to use it. My desire to write I view as a curse and an unhealthy obsession. I found Chris’s point of view interesting. It’s a positive one, something I have no experience with.

RUSHMORE is about this dorky overachieving fifteen-year-old on a scholarship at a posh private school who is the president of so many extracurricular clubs he has no time to study and is thus failing all his classes. If his grades don’t pick up he’s going to be expelled from the very institution he’s devoted his entire life to.

As I was leaving the theater after the movie was over I overheard a couple senior citizens discussing how much they hated the film. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was hilarious in a completely twisted, low-key way. It was one of the subtlest comedies I’ve seen a good long time, so I can understand why some people wouldn’t enjoy it. I don’t know where the director Wes Anderson found the kid (Jason Schwartzman) who played the main character, Max Fischer [actually, doing research to make sure I spelled his name right I have discovered that Jason is Talia Shire’s son], but the kid is brilliant. I can’t picture anybody else playing the role.

It’s a nice little film that celebrates those of us who walk to the beat of a different drummer and work on creative projects at the expense of most everything else in life. The movie IS exaggerated and outrageous, but I could relate.