Directed by Wes Anderson and co-written by Owen Wilson and Anderson, ‘Rushmore’ follows Max Fischer, an eccentric teenager and depicts the friendship between him and Herman Blume, a rich industrialist, and their mutual love for elementary school teacher Rosemary Cross. The film stars Jason Schwartzman as Fischer, Bill Murray a Blume and Olivia Williams as Cross. It is co-produced by Touchstone Pictures and American Empirical Pictures and distributed by Buena Vista Pictures. ‘Rushmore’ is shot by cinematographer Robert Yeoman, edited by David Moritz and the music is composed by Mark Mothersbaugh.
The movie premiered at the Toronto Film Festival, and upon its theatrical release, it received immensely positive reviews from critics and audiences. Many have hailed it as one of the best works of Anderson and one of the greatest films of the 90s. With quirky characters, inspiring cinematography, the taut direction and the wonderful performances, ‘Rushmore’ has gone on to be regarded as a classic. Its status was legitimized in 2016 when it was selected for preservation by the Library of Congress.
For this article, I have taken into account films that have similar narrative structures and visual style as this Wes Anderson flick. The films on this list are mostly coming of age comedies. In addition, I have not included films directed by Anderson in order to make it more diverse. So, without further ado, here is the list of best movies similar to ‘Rushmore’ that are our recommendations. You can watch several of these movies like ‘Rushmore’ on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime.
8. American Pie (1999)
A teen sex comedy, ‘American Pie’ is often disparaged to be a low brow film which finds success from cheap humour. However, one cannot deny that it is a rib-tickling comedy with compassionate moments sprinkled over the narrative. Co-directed by Paul Weitz and Chris Weitz, and written by Adam Herz, ‘American Pie’ follows a group of friends who make a pact to lose their virginity before their high school graduation.
What makes the film such an enjoyable watch is how the writers and actors showcase the awkward situations that come with the seemingly steamy acts of sex. The characters are constantly caught in embarrassing situations by their parents, teacher and the girls they like. Though it received mild reviews from critics, ‘American Pie’ was a gigantic box office success as it earned $235.5 million against a small budget of $11 million. The commercial success has spawned four sequels and a spin-off.
7. Sixteen Candles (1984)
Written and directed by John Hughes, ‘Sixteen Candles’ is the story of Samantha “Sam” Baker, who learns to cope with every kind of embarrassment on her “sweet” sixteenth birthday. The film stars Molly Ringwald as Samantha Baker. ‘Sixteen Candles’ was produced by Universal Pictures and upon its theatrical release, received positive reviews. Ringwald particularly was praised for her charming performance as the protagonist. The tone is immensely engaging and performances make it quite likable. However, the positive reception was marred by sociological criticism. It was nonetheless a commercial success, grossing $23.7 million against a budget of $6.5 million.
6. Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)
Directed by Amy Heckerling and written by Cameron Crowe, ‘Fast Times at Ridgemont High’ chronicles the lives of a group of Southern California high school students who venture through their new found love for sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll. Adapted from ‘Fast Times at Ridgemont High: A True Story’, written by Crowe, this coming of age comedy is built on the wonderful performances of the actors. ‘Fast Times at Ridgemont High’ was distributed by Universal Film and upon its release, received positive reviews from critics and audiences alike. The film also paved the way for the genre of coming of age comedies to flourish in Hollywood.
5. Booksmart (2019)
Directed by debutant Olivia Wilde, ‘Booksmart’ follows Molly Davidson and Amy Antsler, two young girls in the last week of their high school graduation who make a vow to break all academic rules to party in the last few nights of graduation. The film premiered at South by Southwest and later received a theatrical release. The coming of comedy explores various themes through the superb screenplay, which is co-written by Emily Halpern, Sarah Haskins, Susanna Fogel and Katie Silberman. Actors Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever, who essay the roles of Molly and Amy respectively, are immensely likable and deliver memorable performances. Upon its theatrical release, it received immensely positive reviews. ‘Booksmart’ holds a rating of 97% on Rotten Tomatoes, making it one of the most critically acclaimed films of the year.
4. Superbad (2007)
A coming of age teen comedy, ‘Superbad’ follows the journey of Seth and Evan, two teenagers who are about to graduate high school. Before completing the year, the two boys make a pact to party like men and lose their virginity. However, the determination soon starts falling apart and things don’t go as planned. Directed by Greg Mottola and co-written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, the film is extremely entertaining. The writing is complemented by the hilarious performances by Jonah Hill and Michael Cera, who essay the roles of the protagonists.
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3. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)
‘Scott Pilgrim vs. the World’ follows the protagonist, the titular Scott Pilgrim, a slacker musician who must battle the seven evil exes of his newest sweetheart Ramona. Adapted from Canadian cartoonist Bryan Lee O’Malley’s graphic novel of the same name, the film blends formalistic tone with the genre of coming of age. Actors Michael Cera and Mary Elizabeth Winstead are the soul of the film and they perfectly enrapture the style of Wright with their charming and comedic performances. The movie premiered at the Fantasia Festival and won positive reviews from critics, who particularly praised the unique visual style, the direction and the aforementioned acting. The critical acclaim, however, did not contribute to the commercial prospect, as it was a box office bomb, earning $47.7 million against a budget of $90 million. But the film has develop a strong cult following over the years.
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2. American Graffiti (1973)
Directed by George Lucas and co-written by Gloria Katz, Willard Huyck and Lucas, ‘American Graffiti’ follows a group of teenagers and depicts their misadventures over the course of one night. The narrative is set in the year of 1962 and focuses on the rise of a new culture in the aftermath of World War II. It also stems from Lucas’ own teenage years and his experiences. ‘American Graffiti’ premiered at the Locarno Film Festival and received a theatrical release a couple of days later. Upon its release, the film received immense critical acclaim and bagged a “Best Picture” nomination at the Academy Awards. It has had a massive cultural impact and many filmmakers have cited it has the most important coming of age film ever made. To surmount its legacy, it was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry in 2005.
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1. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’ stars Matthew Broderick as Ferris Bueller, a high-school slacker who spends a day off from school. Written and directed by John Hughes, the film received wide critical acclaim. One of the big reasons why the movie is such a great experience to watch is the writing style and Broderick’s performance. Hughes uses the technique of breaking the fourth wall to engage the viewers on a more personal level. The actor received a Golden Globe nomination for “Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy”. Top critics named it as one of their favourite movies of all time. Roger Ebert, in his review, wrote that it was the most innocent movie he had ever seen. ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’ in 2014, was selected for preservation by Library of Congress, thus establishing its legendary status.
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