Sunday, August 01, 2004

When he finished Rushmore, director Wes Anderson decided to show his movie to the redoubtable Pauline Kael, whom he apparently admired. When things didn't quite turn out as expected, (Kael had Parkinsons and was rather luke-warm about his film), Anderson wrote an article in the New York Times titled "My Private Screening with Pauline Kael". The text is not freely available on the Times' website but here is David Edelstein's rather sharp rejoinder to Anderson. (Incidentally, the article can be found as an introduction to the published version of the Rushmore screenplay.)

In his article, Anderson says that Kael told him that she "genuinely did not know what to make of the movie". Anderson, narcissist that he is, probably takes this to mean that there are people who just dont "get it". I agree with Kael though. I have no idea what to make of Rushmore. Or what Wes Anderson wants us to make of Rushmore. Yes, so he can create obnoxious - and I mean, really offensive - characters like Max Fisher. And yes, maybe Bill Murray can appear in a movie without appearing superior to it. But so what?

I could hardly stay awake through Rushmore, and most of the people I saw it with, couldn't either. After seeing the movie (or rather staying awake through it), I cannot believe that Bill Murray was even considered for an Oscar nomination for this performance. That this silly, pretentious, self-conscious, and smug movie is even considered to be a little gem.

Here is an interview with Wes Anderson published in Salon magazine.

Also a tribute to Pauline Kael that appeared in Salon.

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