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February 05, 1999 - Image 9

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-02-05

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The Michigan Daily - Friday, February 5, 1999 - 9

MONUMENTAL SATISFACTION

'Rushmor
By Bryan Lark
Daily Arts Writer
"Best play ever, man," deadpans Mr.
Littlejeans (Kumar Pallana), the enigmatic
janitor of Rushmore Academy,
about the absurdly technical and
violent high school production $Rusin
he has just seen. .r
In his superlative, Littlejeans clans$i
could just as easily be referring
to Wes Anderson's "Rushmore,"'
the film that he magically wan-
ders in and out of with little nar- and, m
rative cause but profound cine- ; g V

e'

carves hilarious film niche

matic effect.

And like
Little -
jeans, so,

IIIIaJUi
doesn 'l
-canfiml

Rushmore
At Showcase

too, has SEMI
"R u s h -
more" magically wan-
dered upon unsuspecting
movie audiences - and
be glad that it has.
"Rushmore," in terms
of movie comedy, cer-
tainly is one of the best
plays ever as it brilliantly
and ingeniously docu-
ments several months in
the life of Rushmore
sophomore Max Fischer,

WE

has to offer, always eager to start a new club to
please an ever-smaller niche of Rushmore's
student body.
The niche Fischer most enjoys, however, is
first grade teacher
Miss Cross (Olivia
lore elUdes Williams), a fish
lover and champion
Ciatio ,of Romance lan-
guages, for whom
convention an instantly smitten
- Max plans an aquar-
ium and reinstates
Latin as a required
course.
t dealin But Max's roman-
tic plans are soon
entM foiled by his friend
Herman Blume
(Bill Murray),
Rushmore's most self-loathing alumnus and
benefactor.
These three lovelorn principals, along with
Max's devoted man-Friday Dirk Calloway
(Mason Gamble), comprise "Rushmore"'s
four-faced oddball facade.
But "Rushmore" mounts a convincing argu-
ment that it is much more than a romantic
revenge fable - a genre tired upon invention.
"Rushmore" eludes classification, defies
convention and, most importantly, doesn't deal
in sentiment.
It's a smooth, swift piece of celluloid origi-
nality, written by
Owen Wilson and
Anderson ("Bottle
Rocket") and direct-
ed by Anderson. It's
packed with sophis-
ticated wit and visu-
al quirks that per-
' fectly match Jason
S ch w a r tz a n's
droll, appealing mix
of angst and exuber-
ance.
Schwartzman's
deservedly the star,
yes, but he's well
supported by Olivia
Williams, a survivor
of Kevin Costner's
"The Postman," as
Courtesy of Touchstone Miss Cross, former
hwartzman starlIn "Dennis the
Menace" Mason

Movies
for half
price on
Internet
Newsday
The Internet became video's vir-
tual bargain basement in 1998, sell-
ing new movies at half their sug-
gested retail price - or, in some
cases, even less.
As a promotional deal, for
instance, Reel.com (www.reel.com)
attracted hundreds of thousands of
new customers to its site in
September by offering "Titanic" at
a financial loss - at $9.99 plus
shipping for the double cassette,
which had a suggested retail price
of $25.
Reel.com's latest below-whole-
sale offer is "Antz," the
Dream Works animated feature film,
due to be released on video Feb. 9.
The VHS cassette will sell for $9.99
plus shipping via a link on America
Online, which recently became a
cross-promotional partner of
Reel.com.
The "Antz" deal isn't as straight-
forward as the "Titanic" offer. To
get the lowball price, you've got to
access Reel.com through AOL. It's
part of an AOL Valentine's Day pro-
motion testing the effectiveness of
affiliates' ads that flash for brief
periods on the screen.
Nonsubscribers of AOL can go
directly to the Reel.com site, but
the price for "Antz" there is $16.99
(only $10 less than the suggested
retail price), plus shipping.
Trade weekly Video Business
reports that since Net-savvy shop-
pers also tend to be the earliest
adopters of movies on digital video
disc (DVD), 3 million of the 9 mil-
lion DVDs purchased last year were
from online suppliers.
At the peak of the year-end gift-
giving period, the five best-selling
items at Amazon.com (www.ama-
zon.com) _ which offers books,
music and videos _ were movies on
DVD ("Armageddon," "Out of
Sight" collector's edition, "Lethal
Weapon 4," "The Negotiator" and
"The Truman Show").

played by freshman actor Jason Schwartzman,
the primary source of
all "Rushmore"'s
magic.3
S chwartzman's
Fischer is probably
not the screen's first
overachieving under-
achiever, thel
resourceful wun-
derkind treading the
line of expulsion (see
Ferris Bueller), but he
may be the busiest.
Through an .
exceedingly hilarious ,
introductory mon-
tage, Fischer, a play-
wright by trade, is
revealed as a walking 3
extra-curricular activ-
ity, the president
and/or founder of Bill Murray and Jason
everything Rushmore "Rushmore."

Courtesy of Touchstone

Jason Schwartzman is the big man on campus at Rushmore Academy.

Gamble who makes Dirk's prepubescent rage
worthwhile, and the never-better Bill Murray
who conveys his character's deep dissatisfac-
tion with one hilariously disheveled look into
a mirror.
Like Murray's Blume, there's a sad under-
current flowing beneath the comedic surface
of "Rushmore" - in Blume's complete break-
down, in Miss Cross' quieting mourning of her
dead husband, in Max's shame about his bar-
ber father's occupation or his writing at the
typewriter inscribed with a dedication from his
late mother.

"Rushmore," by expertly balancing such
tonal schizophrenia, belongs in the pantheon
of great contemporary comedy with "The
Graduate," "Annie Hall" and even "Heathers,"
each film possessing equal amounts of daring,
freshness and invention and still remaining
totally incomparable.
On its own unpredictable terms,
"Rushmore" truly lives up to Mr. Littlejeans'
single line of dialogue.
Littlejeans, we hardly knew ye.
"Rushmore," we will know for years to
come.

Sc

NBC 's
By Undsey Alpert
or the Daily
* Every once and a while, a movie
comes out that gives us a sense of
understanding. In the case of NBC's
miniseries "The '60s," our genera-
tion is given the opportunity to part-
ly understand that of our parents.
"The '6.0s" examines the entire
decade by blending history with fic-
tion through news footage and fic-
tional charac-
ters. The series
focuses on two
families, one
The 160s white and one
black, and their
interactions dur-
NBC ing the turbulent
Synday and Monday time. The transi-

The '60s'
out in a closet and his other son
Michael (Josh Hamilton) promotes
left-wing ideals.
Changes are also in store for the
family of Reverend Willie Taylor
(Charles "Roc" Dutton). The
Reverend, along with his son Emmet
(Leonard Roberts), organize non-
violent lunch counter sit-ins, bring-
ing within the first half hour enough
clips of police brutality to last a life-
time.
While Reverend Taylor fights
against social inequalities, Brian
comes home to tell his parents that
he's off to Vietnam. It's distressing
watching Brian tell his parents, "I
have good news, I'm going to
Vietnam." Brother Michael begins
attending peace rallies, where he
meets radical rally organizer Kenny
Klein ("Clueless"'s Jeremy Sisto)
and Barnard student Sarah
Weinstock, played by "Faculty"
vixen Jordana Brewster. From here,
the miniseries highlights student
protests involving stand-ins in front
of speeding military trains, sit-ins
and a take-over of Columbia
University.
The strongest part of "The '60s"
rests in its absolutely amazing pho-
tography. The scenes shift from color
to black and white implying that the
media was always watching, and
making the fictional characters seem

I

are way groovy

to be part of the actual footage.
While authentic footage is also
shown to give a sense of the time
frame, it is interesting to see the
character's reactions to certain his-
torical events. The movie brings new
meaning to the questions "Where
were you when JFK was shot?" or
"What did you really think about
man walking on the moon?"
"The '60s" shows a nation in tur-
moil, one glued to the television set
waiting to see what will develop.
Though the characters are very
stereotypical, it helps to show the
varying aspects of the time. "The
'60s" presents the decade through
the eyes of an American values
father, a flower child, a Vietnam sol-
dier, a student protestor and a civil
rights activist. Somehow the charac-
ters take part in major historical
events, which although slightly
unbelievable, further progress the
story.
The acting and characterization
lacks in parts as the interactions
between Smitrovitch's Herlihy and
his wife are very forced. Hamilton
looks too old to be playing
O'Connell's younger brother and it
seems odd that he is a chick magnet.
Brewster's Sarah is confusing
because she speaks of independence
and having her own voice, but lusts
after any man who stands up to the

authority. As "The '60s" continues,
though, the acting improves with
Stiles' perfect flower child and the
surprisingly good Sisto as the arro-
gant revolutionary Klein.
Overall, "The '60s" is very attrac-
tive, intelligent and engrossing.
Although some parts seem uncon-
vincing, it gives you the essence of
the '60s. If you've ever wondered
about your parent's generation, here
is your opportunity. If you want to
experience the peace, love and rock-
and-roll, "The '60s" has it all, from
draft dodgers burning bras to a dis-
torted screen indicating a bad acid
trip and all of the Vietnam War being
fought behind the same bush. NBC is
correct in saying "The '60s" is "the
movie event of a generation." You
don't want to miss it.

at 9 p.m.
a'

tions between
the fiction and
history are beau-
tifully done, and
the four hours
fly by as you

become mesmer-
ized by the dynamic images and
engaging plot.
The year 1960 foretells change for
the right-wing ex-Marine Bill
Herlihy, portrayed by "Life Goes
On" dad Bill Smitrovich. His
favorite son Brian ("Sliders" star
Jerry O'Connell) joins the Marines,
daughter Katie (Julie Stiles) makes
'flme is running
down. You have
exactly two weeks
to do those last
revisions for your
submissions to the
Weekend, etc.
Literary Magazine.
Please bring your
stories, poems or
essays to the Daily
Arts office, 420

m

-- .a. ---,.4
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