It might have been Bottle Rocket that introduced the world to Wes Anderson but it was 1998's Rushmore that let us know who he is.
Though Bottle Rocket is and always will be my favorite film, Rushmore is my favorite Wes Anderson movie. I know that might seem strange but stay with me...
Anderson's sophomore film marks the point where he came into his own both storytelling wise and in style. Sure Bottle Rocket has the beats of a Wes Anderson film but he was proving himself to the industry that he is a key player, with Rushmore the training wheels were off and it was his to do with what he pleased. From the theater curtain cuts to the color and pace, it was the first full form of Wes Anderson.
Not only did the film introduce us to Jason Schwartzman but it also reintroduced us to Bill Murray and breathed new life into his career, for both, we the audience are eternally grateful. Beyond the story, style, and cast, Rushmore is movie for the underdog in all of us. It delivers a message that life progresses and nothing (good or bad) lasts forever. It reassures us in insecure moments and it let's you know that, if you make the best of a situation, you will make be in the best situation. Max didn't need Rushmore to be successful, he needed self confidence and that is something we can all take to heart.
So on this day that we celebrate Rushmore (and everyday for that matter), be more a Max and less a Ronny and Donny AND never forget, "take dead on the rich boys... they can buy anything but they can't buy a backbone".