Monday, May 25, 2009

Late to the Game

Last night Shel and I watched “Rushmore” at my behest. The previous week we screened “The Life Aquatic”, and during the film I thought – “the pacing and cinematography remind me of Rushmore” - and sure enough they share a director. I was fairly chuffed. Watching (a few seconds of) the credits, they also share Owen Wilson. Wilson co-wrote Rushmore and co-pretended-to-be-someone-he-isn't in Aquatic.

An interesting bond between the films (as amusing and wonderful though the cinematography may be) was Bill Murray. Murray plays a similar self-obsessed, take interest in a protoge, pining for a woman he doesn't have, character in both films. So, marvel of self analysis that I am: he plays a common man. Both characters have been on the good end of good luck in their respect environments (Zissou to marry into money, Blume to have a great business) and are something of a showman. Is this Murray, Anderson, or the common man? I'm not sure. Anderson takes advantage of Murray's “straight man” delivery and common (American) man gut to great comedic effect in both films.

The more curious link in plots was Jacques Yves Cousteau. Aquatic's satire was aimed squarely at Cousteau from le commencent a la fin, and I assume the episodic titles were in the style of Couseau's tv/movies – I can't say as I've never seen them(!). The European feel of the film from the italian opening and international crew of the Belefontaine to the poppy euro techno (which I'm tempted to grab on itunes) further emphasized Cousteau as the subject. While that is all obvious and good, the central role of Cousteau in Rushmore is fascinating. Miss Cross, teacher Max Fischer (Schwartzman) with whom he “falls in love ”, left a Cousteau quote in the margins of a Cousteau book which Fischer stumbles upon in the midst of a personal crisis. The text is "When one man, for whatever reason, has an opportunity to lead an extraordinary life, he has no right to keep it to himself." That is, if you're awesome, you owe it to everyone else to share yourself. Anderson's m.o.?

Regardless, if you review films 5+ years after they come out, you feel like the first to see these things. :)

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