In old news I completely missed, Wes Anderson went out of his way to screen Rushmore for an ailing Pauline Kael. The director's transcript of the meeting, originally printed in F&F, as well as responses to this, can be found reprinted at This Recording. (click 'recording' for link to the whole thing)
She sounded skeptical. ''How are we going to do that?''
''I'll get the studio to set it up.''
''That could be expensive,'' she said.
''Well. Let's stick it to them,'' I said.
She liked the sound of this. ''O.K., let's stick it to them,'' she said. She told me she didn't drive, and that someone would have to pick her up and take her to the theater.
I love some of Wes Anderson's movies very much. Rushmore is actually not my favorite; that would be The Royal Tenenbaums, which I saw 7 times in theaters, spending more money than I care to remember, when it came out. It's true, though, that he isn't afraid to be caustic. He isn't afraid to cut into his characters a bit, and in fact, sharply defining them is sort of a hallmark, though their flaws and foibles translate into fondness in the viewer (though clearly, not all viewers). But when this is applied pretty directly to a living person, total veracity of the transcript aside, it cuts both ways. It hurts a bit, viewer and, apparently, subject. Maybe it's just because I have a hard time objectively evaluating someone who's ill - especially with a mental impairment - but it was a strange experience. I mean, again, I love his movies. The scene at the end of The Life Aquatic where Bill Murray's friends surround him as he leaves the theater, running up and happily greeting each other: touching, subtle, funny (and a direct homage to Buckaroo Banzai, probably a discussion for another time). I hate the condescension of "She liked the sound of this."
Nobody's perfect. But it was an interesting angle.