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Martin Scorsese has called Wes Anderson's debut feature film "Bottle Rocket" one of his favorite films of the 1990s. At first I was surprised upon reading this, but looking at the film and hearing Scorsese talk about film in general, I can see why. On the surface, Anderson's and Scorsese's films have little, if anything, in common. But if you think about it, "Bottle Rocket" is a film about friendship between young men, not that different from Scorsese's "Mean Streets." Also, colour is always an active agent in Anderson's films, another aspect shared by Scorsese. And most of all, both filmmakers have a genius sense for soundtracks, i.e. what songs are most suited to the frame. I particularly admire the timing of the music, such as the use of The Proclaimers' song "Over and Done With" and The Rolling Stones' "2000 Man" and the way they fit in with their respective scenes. "Bottle Rocket" is a story about two characters, Anthony and Dignan and their feeble life of crime. What makes the film special is the infectious optimism, a sentiment that is neither artificial nor forced as it usually is in independent American films. Neither is the comedy, which just flows quite naturally and never intrudes upon the characters' believability. Anthony (played laconically by Luke Wilson) has just been in a psychiatric hospital for "exhaustion." As his little sister points out, there seems to be little cause for exhaustion in Anthony's unemployed, laid-back lifestyle, but as the film progresses we understand that it is Dignan who is the cause. The development of the character story (which throbs underneath the veneer of heist-buddy-comedy film) comes over beautifully, the pacing is perfect and the end result is one of Wes Anderson's most touching films to date. It does not have a trace of cynicism in it, a rarity in today's world. When Anthony meets a girl and falls in love, his best friend is happy for him instead of being jealous. Although it inevitably gets in the way of their friendship, it does not make any lasting damage upon it. The film's very happy ending feels real and natural. Criterion has of course given this film a proper sendoff - marvellously packaged with interesting special features, a fine booklet and a neat picture quality. Then again, I expected nothing less of Criterion than to show proper respect for one of the most original and exciting filmmakers in the US today.
I have no idea how Bottle Rocket (1996) has gotten it’s bad reputation as one of Wes Anderson’s weaker films because it is absolutely delightful! Wes Anderson’s directorial debut Bottle Rocket is full of his signature auteur style already established with striking symmetrical cinematography, quaint wide shots, intimate facial close-ups, quirky characters, gentle writing, and a fondness for the coming of age genre. Robert D. Yeoman’s cinematography finds the cutest framing and funniest angles to capture the absurdity of these foolish criminals’ schemes.
Straight out of the gate, Wes Anderson finds his own voice with a pleasant script that dives deep into unhappy young men that want more out of life and don’t want to work without ever judging them. Owen Wilson actually co-wrote Bottle Rocket with Wes Anderson likely adding his charm and earnestness to the affair. Bottle Rocket is uplifting and warm with a tender perspective on aimless youth. You’ll leave Wes’ warmhearted Bottle Rocket looking for close friends to cherish.
Bottle Rocket is easily one of Wes Anderson’s best feature films and quite charming. Anderson’s direction is intimate for the romance, endearing for the friendship, and hilarious for all the comedy aspects. The laid back vibe of Bottle Rocket akin to the feeling that Fargo or Nacho Libre give you. Bottle Rocket is Reservoir Dogs and Heat meets The Big Lebowski. I had a blast watching Bottle Rocket! It gets funnier and funnier as this heist farce turns from intricate crime thriller into endearing robbery spoof. The chaotic finale is too funny to miss!
Mark Mothersbaugh’s score is upbeat and alternative at all times. The entire soundtrack is a quick wave splashing over you. It’s bright and refreshing with cool alternative rock songs shoved into every scene neatly.
Luke Wilson is really likable and genuine as the lead Anthony Adams in Bottle Rocket. His chemistry is endearing with Lumi Cavazos as Inez. She’s pretty and sweet in this gentle way that makes Inez instantly sympathetic. Luke Wilson has never given a better acting performance than Bottle Rocket. Likewise, Owen Wilson is phenomenal as Anthony’s rowdy and rough comrade in crime called Dignan. He’s funny and intense like Owen Wilson never tried to be since. Andrew Wilson hilariously kills it as the mean heel called Future Man. Robert Musgrave is strange and funny as the always complaining rich cohort Bob Mapplethorpe.
I must mention the impressive performance from the child actress Shea Fowler as Luke Wilson’s precocious, disappointed, and caring little sister Grace. She’s really expressive and engaging immediately upon entering the scene. Haley Miller also gets a cameo as the odd Bernice. Brian Tenenbaum also cameos as Future Man’s bully toadie friend H. Clay Murchison.
Lastly, James Caan is wonderful as the karate enthusiast, part-time landscaper, and professional thief Mr. Henry. His playful character is both enjoyable and intimidating. His final scene is brilliant, but I adore the scene at the country club where Caan stands up to Andrew Wilson’s Future Man in a threatening speech on behalf of Robert Musgrave’s meek Bob.
In short, Bottle Rocket is a brisk 91 minutes of irreverent joy and creative energy. David Moritz’ slick editing drives you along a crime trio on the run in record time. Wes Anderson explores friendship, brotherhood, maturity, and love with a carefree attitude and breathtaking expression.
Disc was in perfect shape and played flawlessly. Shipping was on time. As far as reviewing the movie, I had seen it years ago and still love it. This is a very early Wes Anderson/Owen Wilson film about a trio of young guys all with different personalities and ambitions trying to make a hustle that they're not quite qualified for. Its pretty much an all guy movie, you can count the females on one hand, but its a very human movie and the dialog is great. And there's a bit of surprise at the end. I will definitely watch this one more than once.
Wes Anderson & Owen Wilson team up on their 1st feature, an expansion of their indie film, Bottle Rocket. Luke Wilson, & Andrew Wilson costar, as well as others, from his catalog of richly detailed & visually pleasing films. This one is fun. It has an energy, like trying to break out of ordinary life. Maybe not his "best", but his 1st movie collaborating with Film School classmate Owen Wilson. A must have for Wes Anderson fans.
Wes Anderson's movies are a joy to watch if you like quirky, out of the norm characters. Bottle Rocket is a fun caper movie. It sets the tone for almost all of his later movies. If you hated any of his other movies, it's very likely you'll hate this one just as much.
It's Wes Anderson, The Wilson Brothers with Future Wilson.....Best robbery movie ...up there with : The Town, Point Break and Bottle Rocket! If you can't like this movie then you may need to go to get some professional help ......this movie will make you laugh...if you don't laugh? Talk to someone about it! This is a classic movie with a great cast, great director, great everything !
The Criterion 2-disc Bottle Rocket is outstanding, but don't toss your original disc just yet... the new edition is a slightly different edit that loses one laugh and adds another. I couldn't find any reference to these changes in the supplementary material at all.
MISSING: Originally, during the book store robbery, Anthony grabs a random book off the shelf and opens it, revealing the title page "Job Opportunities in Government - 1995" which always gave me a little chuckle. Now for some reason the book opens to a black and white photograph of a military plane (it goes by so fast you'd have to freeze frame to make it out.) ** UPDATE *** per the new Wes Anderson coffee table book, we learn that the military plane shot was in the original cut ( a bit of non-sequitor humor... you think Anthony is reading something important enough to distract him from the business of robbing the store, only to discover its a completely off-topic, random photograph.) The studio wanted a more obvious laugh so they had Wes reshoot the "Job Opportunities..." title page (which, if you look closely, was just taped into the book). This Criterion edition restores the original shot.
The Wes Anderson Collection
ADDED: Originally, when Bob hands his earnings over to Future Man to cover his attorney fees, he asks if he can keep a few bucks for gas, and the scene ends. Now the scene plays a few seconds longer, and we hear Future Man's reply: "No, you can't."
In addition to these minor (and somewhat baffling) changes, I was also unable to find any images of the one-sheet art or logo anywhere on this set (as appears on the menu page and sleeve of the original release).
So if you're a hardcore Bottle Rocket fan or completist, hang onto your old disc and buy this set as well. In addition to a beautiful transfer, commentary track, documentary, the original short film, and other extras, the booklet insert is a miniature replica of Dignan's 75-Year Plan notebook, along with reproductions of Anthony's drawing of Inez on horseback, the book store heist plan schematics, etc.