Wes Anderson Re-Creates The Truman Show, Armageddon & Out of Sight as Stage Plays Performed by the Cast of Rushmore (1999)

Nom­i­nees of the 1999 MTV Movie Awards includ­ed Adam San­dler, Liv Tyler, Chris Tuck­er, and Jen­nifer Love Hewitt to men­tion just a few of the names in a ver­i­ta­ble who’s-who of turn-of-the-mil­len­ni­um Amer­i­can pop cul­ture. But for the teenage cinephiles watch­ing that night, the high­light of the broad­cast was sure­ly a set of brief skits per­formed by “the Max Fis­ch­er Play­ers.” Direct­ed by Wes Ander­son, who had been named Best New Film­mak­er dur­ing the cer­e­mo­ny of three years before, they present low-bud­get but high-spir­it­ed inter­pre­ta­tions of three of the motion pic­tures up for hon­ors: Out of Sight, The Tru­man Show, and Armaged­don.

Hav­ing been a teenage cinephile myself at the time, I can tell you that none of those movies made as much an impact on me as Ander­son­’s own Rush­more, which intro­duced the hyper-ambi­tious young slack­er Max Fis­ch­er to the world. In it, Max and his play­ers adapt Sid­ney Lumet’s Ser­pico, and lat­er put on an elab­o­rate (and explo­sive) pas­tiche of var­i­ous Viet­nam War pic­tures.

Twen­ty-five years ago, few of us had iden­ti­fied in the painstak­ing­ly ram­shackle look and feel of these pro­duc­tions the seed of what would grow into Ander­son­’s sig­na­ture aes­thet­ic. But it was clear that, if the Max Fis­ch­er Play­ers method were applied to the Hol­ly­wood block­busters of the day, amus­ing incon­gruity would result.

These skits promi­nent­ly fea­ture Mason Gam­ble and Sara Tana­ka, both of whom retired from act­ing a few years after giv­ing their mem­o­rable per­for­mances in Rush­more. But Jason Schwartz­man, who will no doubt for­ev­er be iden­ti­fied with Max Fis­ch­er, has remained an active mem­ber of Ander­son­’s own group of play­ers, and even plays a star­ring role once again in Ander­son­’s new film Aster­oid City, which comes out this sum­mer. The Max Fish­er Play­ers’ par­o­dies were includ­ed on the DVD of Rush­more released by the Cri­te­ri­on Col­lec­tion — an hon­or still denied, one might add, to the recip­i­ent of the 1999 MTV Movie Award for Best Movie, There’s Some­thing About Mary. (But not to Armaged­don, which just goes to show how unpre­dictable the favor of cinephil­ia can be.)

via Red­dit

Relat­ed con­tent:

Wes Anderson’s Break­through Film Rush­more Revis­it­ed in Five Video Essays: It Came Out 20 Years Ago Today

Wes Ander­son Explains How He Writes and Directs Movies, and What Goes Into His Dis­tinc­tive Film­mak­ing Style

Wes Anderson’s Shorts Films & Com­mer­cials: A Playlist of 8 Short Ander­son­ian Works

Wes Ander­son Goes Sci-Fi in 1950s Amer­i­ca: Watch the Trail­er for His New Film Aster­oid City

Why Do Wes Ander­son Movies Look Like That?

Watch the First Two Hours of MTV’s Inau­gur­al Broad­cast (August 1, 1981)

Based in Seoul, Col­in Marshall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the Sub­stack newslet­ter Books on Cities, the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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