Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Wes Anderson Week: 'Rushmore'

This sharp little guy is going to lay it on you straight. This is Wes Anderson's best film and soundtrack. I love 'Bottle Rocket', but it's a distant second to this brilliant bit of celluloid. Bill Murray's character, Herman Blume, has a great line when talking to Jason Schwartzman's character, Max Fischer, about the beautiful Miss Cross. He says: "She was my Rushmore." Well, in my opinion, 'Rushmore' is Anderson's 'Rushmore'. If he never makes another, it's OK. This 1998 movie makes him immortal. Enough gushing... let me quickly write about the soundtrack so I can go watch it.

Anderson envisioned scoring the entire film to songs by The Kinks because they "played loud, angry teenage rock songs, and they wore blazers and ties" like Fischer. The concept shifted a bit to include the entire British Invasion "because they all basically dressed like that." Bands like Chad & Jeremy, The Who, The Faces and The Kinks strike a perfect balance with the playful film score by Mark Mothersbaugh. I know this is a blog about rock music, but I'm including Mothersbaugh's three best contributions to the movie because they are so well done. If you have seen the film, these pieces will be immediately recognizable and take you to the exact moments in Fischer's life.

Moving on, the Stones' song below didn't make the soundtrack, but the tone and lyrics were perfect for its scene. The Kinks' tune is used as we get a glimpse into the miserable family life of Blume. The song by Creation was new to me in 1998, but I remember waiting in the theater for the closing credits to find out who did "Making Time" as we saw all of Fischer's extracurricular activities on parade. If you have four minutes and are a fan, check out the Max Fischer Players' work for the MTV Video Awards. It's a hoot.

Mark Mothersbaugh - Hardest Geometry Problem in the World (mp3)
Mark Mothersbaugh - Sharp Little Guy (mp3)
Mark Mothersbaugh - The Lad With the Silver Button (mp3)
The Kinks - Nothing in This World Can Stop Me Worryin' Bout That Girl (mp3)
The Rolling Stones - I Am Waiting (mp3)
Creation - Making Time (mp3)

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