The way stories get told in pictures…and writing, it’s a two language medium, it’s words and pictures, so, you write a script, but the way you shoot it shows how you want to impact things on an audience. These guys have an enormous film culture. They’re ripping off Apocalypse Now, Barry Lyndon, and all these films, but they’re using them for completely different purposes.
I remember Wes, I said, “What’s this shot?” and he goes, “It’s one I saw in Barry Lyndon.” You remember Barry Lyndon? It’s this enormous thing. Ours though, is the intermission of the school play. It’s the Barry Lyndon shot, but it’s coming past mothers and fathers all the way past people buying cokes.
It always gets perverted when people say, “Oh, The good ones copy, the great ones steal.” Well, that sends a misdirection to somebody. People take that one incorrectly. You gotta see what it is, you say, “OK, it’s about the impact. The way the camera moves. About how you end up with the pictures.”
What Murray is talking about here is the taste involved in stealing the right things, and the way you use your theft. One of the best ways to steal effectively is to steal something that works in one context and translate it to another context. In this case, the dinner scene from Barry Lyndon gets used for the intermission for Max’s play in Rushmore. You can see this very clearly in the work of other directors of Anderson’s era, especially Tarantino and PT Anderson (think of the Scorcese-ish opening shot of Boogie Nights…)