This movie is growing on me like lichen. At the end when Miss Cross takes off Max’s glasses, I cry every time. Though I still think the scene editing is better in Royal Tenenbaums, I think Rushmore and Royal Tenenbaums are truly peers; I would have a hard time now saying which is the better film. I still have a greater affection for Royal Tenenbaums because I have lived with it longer, but I’m getting toward 10 viewings of Rushmore now and I’m starting to understand how it works better.
I’m not ready to give my “observations on rushmore” but I have noticed interesting things with the names. Herman Blume has an interesting name. Herman could be literally “Her man” – the love triangle is the center of the story. Less literally and more by derivation, Herman means “Army Man” and that’s at the center too. Herman was in Vietnam, and he seems to get the brunt of the affect of Max’s final play. There is also the fact that he and Max are in a war for Miss Cross. Rosemary Cross is an interesting name too. First, again very literally, Max and Mr. Blume center their attention on her, there is a crossing of interests, and she is a crossroad in both of their lives. Max loses Rushmore on account of the first groundbreaking for the aquarium (all for her) and Blume loses all of his fortune on the second groundbreaking (all for her). Also, she has the name “Rosemary” – if she married Mr. Blume she would be Rosemary Blume! There is flower imagery there. Also, “Cross” as a reference to the cross she bears for Edward Appleby. Also, she is the locus of Max’s ultimate sacrifice; he sacrifices Rushmore for her, and finally, he sacrifices his own happiness for hers. Max’s name is like the Scottish guy’s name – “Max” and “Magnus” are related. Max Fisher – he is the most important fisher of men in the movie. The name connotes the same imagery that his involvement with the aquarium connotes. And then there is the idea that in the end he lures people together — all the reconciliation culminates at his Vietnam play. I can’t help but thing that these names have this meaning intentionally given Anderson’s other patterns of naming and how the names here are revealed rather dramatically and often visually. Max’s chapel partner, Dirk Calloway, has a name that can refer to a kind of knife (remember that Dirk gives Max a knife as his present and the knife is engraved like a tombstone with the from/to dates of Max’s Rushmore careers) – he is the observer of betrayal and is betrayed in the movie by Max – and the name Dirk relates to rule. Dirk is the one that reconciles Max and Mr. Blume to each other by arranging the hospital rendezvous. He heals the rift between them that he started by telling Max about Blume. I think Margaret Yang’s name tends to connote that she is finally the proper companion for Max – the yang to his yin, though in Chinese philosophy, yang is usually the male part of the opposing forces. Anyway, those are just a few thoughts on some of the names in the movie. Another part that makes me almost cry is when Herman Blume meets Bert Fisher. It is like he has come home.