Monday, 3 December 2007



For the longest time Rushmore was a favourite movie of mine.  I saw it at the cinema in Ipswich with a good friend and then later bought a DVD player (well, requested one as a Christmas present) specifically so that I could watch the movie as it had not been released on VHS.

In addition to this I also paid £16.99 for the soundtrack on CD.  These days you would not dream of spending a fraction of that price on a disc but for me that was how much the collection was worth.  Many of the songs in the movie exhilarated me and even though I didn’t know what they were or who they were by I wanted them all the same.

If you have never seen Rushmore it is a movie about a fool blindly ignoring his priorities and overachieving in aspects that are not necessarily.  Our hero is Max Fischer who is played by Jason Schwartzman, a person whose calm approach to the world is one that you could do worse than apply.

Spread over twenty tracks the soundtrack is split between score orchestrations from the ever reliable Mark Mothersbaugh and exhilarating British Invasion songs from the sixties.

The first track to really capture the sense of fun offered by the movie is “Making Time” by Creation.  In the film it is used to rock a montage of Fischer’s accomplishments and victories.  It is storming song, perfect to enhance any moment of winning.  And then it begins to feedback sixties style.  Was the world really that good?

In contrast the use of “Nothing In This World Can Stop Me Worryin’ ‘Bout That Girl” from The Kinks is used to exude the concerns of Herman Blume (Bill Murray) and display what are now past victories that have turned sour and into defeat.  It is a particularly beautiful song of horrid resignation and caring/concern being only one way.  Over the years I have applied this track to some of my own situations.  It has always proved a waste.

The sad reality is that these songs take me back and remind me of a time when I gave a fuck, something is just unfortunately no longer the case in my world.  And in many ways that is what Wes Anderson’s work attempts to express.  So often his characters and scenario are run down, at the post everything stage now very much representing an afterthought.  Yet within that he finds beauty and optimism even if first things need be taken down a notch.

The score from Mothersbaugh is very regal sounding almost medieval suggesting some kind of fort and turret attached to Rushmore that is in many ways Fischer’s Camelot.  This is not a movie or a score about modern times.

Later another Mothersbaugh composition called “Snowflake Music” appears in the mix, which appears to have been a song originally from Bottle Rocket, Anderson’s first film.

Elsewhere on the tracklist some real heavy hitters in the form of John Lennon, the Rolling Stones, Cat Stevens, The Who and The Faces all appear in subtle form with hidden treasures from the bottom of their chest.  So underplayed are their presence is that you fail to realise that these are the biggest names in the history of rock present on this record.

When The Who chip in with the eight plus minutes of “A Quick One While He’s Away” it really feels like things have weird.  That said I half suspect the song was only included in the movie for the chorus of “you are forgiven”.

Appearing twice on the album is Cat Stevens and particularly with the use of “The Wind” it serves as a suggestion and reminder of how influenced by Harold And Maude Wes Anderson appears to be.

Finally the movie and the album close with the euphoric nostalgia and sadness of “Ooh La La” by The Faces.  It is a song that always suggests a happy ending.

As with a film I can over and over, this is a soundtrack album I can listen to over and over.  This was my youth.  This got me through heartache and one day it might see me to maturity.

Thesaurus moment: academic.

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