The revenge sequence from Rushmore (written by Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson).
Setup: Vying for the affections of Rosemary, Max and Herman decide to go after each other.
INT. HOTEL ROOM. DAY The living room of Mr. Blume's suite. Mr. Blume is dressed in a bathrobe with the Bilbly-Flickenger stitched on the pocket. He sits at his table having breakfast and reading the newspaper. There is a little basket in front of him with a jar of hone in it. A note attached to the jar says, "Enjoy your stay." A little bug flies around Mr. Blume's head. He swats it away and keeps reading. Two more bugs come buzzing around him. Mr. Blume looks up and frowns. They're bees. Mr. Blume slaps at his neck and jumps to his feet as he gets stung. MR. BLUME Shit! Bees are circling all over the room. Mr. Blume looks around frantically. He sees something at the bottom of the front door. It is a little plastic tube with bees crawling out of it and taking off. INT. BASEMENT. DAY Max comes out of the freight elevator wearing a red room service jacket with the Bilby-Flickenger stitched on the pocket. He has a wooden box with Rushmore Beekeepers stenciled on it. Max throws the jacket in a laundry cart and goes out the back door. EXT. GROVER CLEVELAND HIGH SCHOOL. DAY Mr. Blume gets out of his car in the driveway at Grover Cleveland. He opens the trunk and takes out a set of steel cable cutters. He goes over to the bike racks and cuts the lock off Max's ten-speed. Mr. Blume lays the bicycle on the ground in front of his car and runs over it. Then he throws the car in reverse and goes over it again. He picks up the destroyed bicycle and takes it back to the bike racks and wraps the lock back around it. The small Indian groundskeeper we saw earlier on the roof is driving by in a Volkswagen Beetle. He frowns at Mr. Blume. Mr. Blume hurries back to his car. EXT. BLUME INTERNATIONAL CONCRETE. DAY The front gates of the concrete plant. Max rides up on an old grandmothers' bicycle with fenders and a handlebar basket. He's got a black duffel bag strapped to his back. Max waves to the SECURITY GUARD. The guard waves back: Max rides onto the lot and pulls over next to Mr. Blume's Bentley. He leans his bike against the car door. He unzips his duffel bag and slides underneath the car. EXT. RUSHMORE. DAY Mr. Blume pulls into the driveway to pick-up the twins from school. There is a lot of traffic and kids are running around everywhere. Mr. Blume taps the brakes. Nothing happens. He flies toward the back of a parked station wagon. He jerks the steering wheel and bounces up onto the sidewalk. The car pops through a wooden fence and rolls across the grass into the quadrangle. The Indian groundskeeper is raking leaves as the car goes past him. He watches as it crunches over some bushes and scrapes against a stone wall. It rolls to a stop in the middle of the quad. Mr. Blume gets out of the car and looks at the damage. He looks over at the white-haired Indian groundskeeper. The groundskeeper goes back to raking. EXT. PARKING LOT. DAY Kids watch from classrooms up and down the hall as Max is escorted away in handcuffs by the POLICE. Max has a hardened expression on his face.
Here is the sequence from the movie:
Questions to ask to analyze the scene:
* What elements in the movie scene are the same as the script?
* What elements in the movie scene are different than the script?
* Regarding the differences, put yourself in the mindset of the filmmakers and speculate: Why did they make the changes they did?
* How did the changes improve the scene?
* Alternatively are there elements in the script, not present in the movie, that are better than the final version of the scene?
* Note each camera shot in the movie version. Which of them does the script suggest via sluglines or scene description?
* How does the script convey a sense of the scene’s tone, feel, and pace through scene description and dialogue?
* What ‘magic’ exists in the movie that is not indicated in the words of the script? How do you suppose that magic emerged?
I’ll see you in comments for a discussion of this scene from Rushmore.
One of the single best things you can do to learn the craft of screenwriting is to read the script while watching the movie. After all a screenplay is a blueprint to make a movie and it’s that magic of what happens between printed page and final print that can inform how you approach writing scenes. That is the purpose of Script to Screen, a series where we analyze a memorable movie scene and the script pages that inspired it.
[Originally posted February 15, 2012]