School hosts “Rushmore” 20th Anniversary Viewing

Ryan Chang and Megan Chang

Between winning the Silver Bear for Best Director for Isle of Dogs and working on The French Dispatch, director Wes Anderson (’87) continues to make a name for himself as one of Hollywood’s most creative, visually distinct filmmakers. For members of the SJS community, the past week also brought an opportunity to celebrate one of Anderson’s older films: Rushmore.

Members of the Advancement Team worked with the fine arts department to host the Rushmore 20th Anniversary Viewing at the VST on March 23. Students, parents, alumni and faculty attended this event to reunite with former classmates and enjoy Anderson’s 1998 classic, parts of which were filmed on campus.

Megan Chang
Parts of the movie were filmed on campus, such as the Quad.

The showing was originally scheduled for Nov. 30, but complications arose after a public Facebook account – which was not affiliated with the School – publicized the event. After Houstonia Magazine subsequently advertised the showing as a free event open to the public, Director of Alumni Philanthropy Lorin Crater postponed the event due to “safety and security reasons.” For the rescheduled date, organizers communicated via email and set up a ticketing system “to ensure only our community and their guests would be granted access to the showing.”

“We were very disappointed when we had to make the decision to postpone, but we know it was the right decision,” Crater said. “Unfortunately, we do not have the space or staffing to support a Houston-wide event, especially for a movie with this large of a following.”

Joshua Pesikoff (’87), who was close with Anderson throughout high school, introduced the film. Pesikoff provided background information about Anderson and the filming of Rushmore, which partially took place in Pesikoff’s childhood home. He then presented behind-the-scenes photographs and a recorded message from Anderson and stars Jason Schwartzman and Bill Murray.

Megan Chang
Joshua Pesikoff (’87) introduced the film to parents, students, alumni and faculty who attended.

According to Crater, Rushmore brings back many fond memories for members of the SJS community. For Tracy Carlson (’95), it was exciting just to see her friends make background appearances in the film.

“It’s amazing that this film was made by such a well-known alum,” Carlson said. “My husband is a film critic, and Rushmore was his favorite movie even before he knew about St. John’s.”

Senior Mariela Arreola, who says Rushmore is her favorite film, appreciates how rewatching the film helped her appreciate the SJS parallels and view the movie from a new perspective. Pesikoff believes Rushmore holds up well and remains as clever and funny as it was when he first watched the film back in the 90s. He attributes the film’s timelessness to Anderson’s subtle humor and creativity.

In his speech, Pesikoff mentioned that he was proud of the School for recognizing Anderson’s accomplishments, and that Rushmore has helped him connect more with his former classmates years after graduation.

“It’s cool to see friends and classmates, some of whom I haven’t talked to since elementary school, call me up sometimes to mention Rushmore when they see it and recognize my house,” Pesikoff said. “I’m glad the School hosted [this showing]; they should be proud of Wes. His movies are clever and smart, and he’s a good representation of St. John’s.”