Tag Archives: Bill Murray

65. Rushmore – Wes Anderson (1998)

Repeat viewing.

Having watched the delightful Moonrise Kingdom recently I had the urge to dig out some old Wes Anderson movies and treat myself to seeing some old friends. First on the list to view again was Rushmore, possibly, my favourite from Anderson’s back catalogue.

A very young looking Jason Schwartzman plays our not entirely loveable protagonist, Max Fischer, a student at the elite Rushmore academy. Max has terrible grades, and spends too much time participating in extra-curricular activities (not a euphemism!) Max, a prolific attention seeker, starts to concentrate his own attention on a first grade teacher, Rosemary Cross, (Olivia Williams) although the pair become friends it is a purely platonic affair on the part of Rosemary. Max, while crushing on Rosemary, is also cultivating a (platonic) relationship with millionaire Herman Blume, played in the most deadpan style by Bill Murray. This, if you couldn’t guess, is where things become complicated. Herman and Rosemary start a relationship and thus everyone’s lives start to follow a downward trajectory. Max, of course, is filled with jealousy and intent on revenge. And so it begins…

Like with most Anderson movies you either buy into the world he’s creating or you end up hating it. There’s plenty of vitriol, spread throughout the internet world, about Anderson’s style of movies. The word “quirky” gets thrown around a lot to describe them, I dislike that term. It seems so dismissive of what’s actually being created. Personally I love his films. I can appreciate why people do hate them, it’s not like when people tell you they hate Citizen Kane and you’re left a gasp. The characters in Anderson films can seem cold and difficult to connect with, whilst his directing style is exaggerated and aggrandizing. I’ve come to expect it from Anderson now, in fact, I rather enjoy it. I like all the little touches he adds to his movies.

Back to Rushmore…The film is a wonderfully observed comedy. It’s full of great lines, played in the most understated way. At one point Bill Murray is going through a minor mental breakdown, and, whilst smoking a cigarette, lights another cigarette and starts smoking them both inside an elevator/lift. It may not seem widely fun, but it’s performed so perfectly that it always makes me laugh. The film is full of little touches that make me smile. Even the tragic moments have a sense of comedy, for example, Murray mumbles irreverently “Mmmm…I’m a little bit lonely these days” and you don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

I’ve often wondered what the results would be if Anderson attempted to make a serious, deep movie. His own There Will Be Blood or No Country for Old Men. I can imagine he’d make quite an interesting director of crime movies. There’s really not a lot of difference between any Anderson film. They’re all of the same ilk. They’re all tragicomedies, with characters that aren’t quite the same as anyone else. I love Anderson movies, but watching Rushmore again shows a lack of evolution from Anderson. I don’t really mind really though, I kinda like them the way they are.

Marks out of ten – Nine.

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58. Moonrise Kingdom – Wes Anderson (2012)

First Viewing

After much pre-movie smoking and pizza we arrived at the Picturehouse looking forward, as ever, to the new Wes Anderson flick; were we going to get another great like Rushmore or something more troublesome like Life Aquatic, we wondered. In my haste to get the best seats in the house I rushed to the counter and asked for two tickets to Moonrise Kingdom, thus forgetting the rule that we’ve been trying to implement recently where all Bill Murray films must be ordered by asking for “two tickets for the Bill Murray” – and, before you ask, it usually works. Naturally, you can’t just use this technique anywhere, so we generally look for those cinemas that know their shit (and their Bill Murrays from their Bill Pullmans.) Tickets in hand we headed in with appropriate snacks for such a movie; orange chocolate for the lady and fizzy strawberry laces for myself. This didn’t feel like a popcorn movie, and I was to be proved right…

Moonrise Kingdom‘s story revolves around two adolescent misfits Suzy and Sam, I’d say they were about 12 years old, give or take a year. After meeting briefly in a church one evening they kept in contact by writing each other frequently. And, after much corresponding, they hatched a plan to meet up and run away together. That, in short, is the story. Being a Wes Anderson movie we are also treated to lots of supporting characters whose stories flow in and out of the movie. The most significant of these stories is the love triangle between husband and wife Walt and Laura – Bill Murray & Frances McDormand- and Laura’s lover Captain Sharp, Bruce Willis. It beats me why a woman would ever cheat on Bill Murray, but this is the movies so we must suspend our disbelief no matter how strange it may seem! Edward Norton plays a scoutmaster and he probably steals the show with his performance, it’s full of pathos and laughs. We also get great cameos from Jason Schwartzman – whom I always love seeing- Harvey Kietel and Tilda Swinton….On a side note, I sometimes wonder, as I lead a strange little life, if Anderson ever gets jealous when he sees Murray acting in Jim Jarmusch movies. Anderson basically invented the semi-serious acting talents of Murray in Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums, but Jarmusch went and stole the best performance, so far, from him in Broken Flowers.

I could easily sum up this review by saying if you’ve liked Wes Anderson movies in the past you will love this, if they’re not your thing then this will do nothing to change your mind. It’s every bit a typical Anderson movie; angsty characters, strange situations, plenty of style, slightly less substance, and, for me, plenty of laughs. If you’ve got a bit of a weird sense of humour, like myself, then I would recommend this without question. It reminds me, in the best way, of Richard Ayoade’s Submarine, but Anderson’s version of 1960s New England is slightly less depressing than Ayoade’s present day painting of Wales. So Moonrise Kingdom is a little less cutting in its humour.

Moonrise Kingdom is an utterly charming film and I enjoyed it immensely. It’s idiosyncratic and, for the majority of the film, it’s the children who take up most of the screentime, so it’s not the kind of movie that will instantly rise to the top of your favourite films list, but don’t let that put you off. It has more than enough charms to keep you happy for an hour-and-a-half.

Marks out of ten – Eight

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49. Lost in Translation – Sofia Coppola (2004)

Repeat Viewing.

Anyone who knows me will attest to my love of William James Murray, or just plain Bill to his friends. I could watch any film with him in, I even saw Garfield at the cinema as is my love for the great man (I didn’t see Garfield 2. That would’ve just been plain silly) So, and I can remember this quite clearly even though it was released here back in January 2004, I was standing on a platform waiting to catch the tube to some charming place and there, in front of my eyes, was a poster for Lost in Translation. It was magnificent. Okay, it was just Bill Murray sitting on a bed, but I was in love. I later found out that it also starred Scarlett Johansson, whom I had thought was fantastic in Ghost World, and so I started counting down the days until it’s release. Praying it didn’t disappoint. Hint; it doesn’t.

The story revolves around Bill and Scarlett being alone in Tokyo at the same period of time, and, in a somewhat unlikely fashion, they become friends, and possibly more. I could gush on about the wonderful direction, the beautiful photography and great soundtrack for an age, but I’ll try not to. Sofia Coppola, who had just the one previous film on her CV before this, The Virgin Suicides, does a remarkable job of allowing us to believe the relationship Bill and Scarlett are forming is real and not manufactured for a film. It seems entirely natural. The pair have great chemistry and Bill gets to show off some of his typically wonderful dead pan stylings. Everything in this movie works for me, it’s exactly the type of movie I love; it’s fairly minimalistic in it’s approach and it doesn’t get bogged down trying to tell a complex story, it’s just about a bunch of different people occupying a city at the same time & this is what happened. And, of course, there’s the ending, ah the ending, I wonder what was said….

See this movie if you haven’t already. It’s one of the best from the 21st century.

Marks out of ten – Nine

 

 

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15. The Limits of Control – Jim Jarmusch (2009)

Repeat Viewing.

As an unashamed Jarmusch lover I approached this film with unadulterated excitement back when I first viewed it in June 09. I enjoyed the movie, but ultimately felt confused by what I had seen. Upon closer inspection and a second viewing I can now see the film for what it should be recognized as; a masterpiece. With no expectations this time around I allowed myself to revel in the mastery Jarmusch and Doyle weave with their photography and visuals. To explain the film seeks only to distract oneself from the greater picture, this is Jarmusch beyond popcorn cinema, this is art.

Marks out of ten – Ten 

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