Next on Netflix: Anderson takes off
Wes Anderson has secured his place as the god of hipster filmmaking, but he had to start somewhere. And “Bottle Rocket,” which was also the film debut of actors Owen and Luke Wilson, was that start. Anderson and Owen Wilson were college roommates, and this was also their first writing collaboration.
“Bottle Rocket” is the story of two friends, Anthony (Luke) and Dignan (Owen). Anthony has just checked himself out of a voluntary stay at a mental facility, and there’s not much waiting for him, besides Dignan.
With no life prospects, the two are set to embark on a life of crime. Dignan has written out a 75-year plan for their potential lives as criminal masterminds, but neither of them are really cut out for it. After managing to successfully rob a bookstore, they hide out at a motel, where Anthony falls in love with a maid named Ines.
Anthony must overcome the language barrier between them—and Dignan’s constant interference—to make it work with Ines, but his love life may be the least of his worries.
The pair is falling deeper and deeper into a criminal world they don’t really understand, and the law is going to catch up eventually.
“Crime drama” isn’t really what comes to mind when one thinks of Wes Anderson, but the movie is full of his usual tricks.
Sibling rivalry, detachment, Owen Wilson as the comic relief, heavy themes discussed in an offhand and lighthearted way—it’s what Wes Anderson is known for, and he’s been doing it for years.
It’s not as whimsical as, say, “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” but it’s full of Anderson’s blended wry humor and melancholy.
It’s the only film Anderson has made without at least a cameo by Bill Murray, but the cast does include James Caan, which isn’t bad for a first movie. One of the best features of any Wes Anderson movie is the snappiness of the dialogue, and “Bottle Rocket” is no exception.
Dignan’s lines are perfect for someone who thinks he knows a lot more than he does, and it’s clear Anthony is caught between wanting to help and wanting to strangle his friend.
This movie is 17 years old, and a lot has changed since 1996. Owen Wilson could have funded his first-ever movie twice over from his “Little Fockers” paycheck, not to mention the other trillion movies he’s made.
It goes to show that a kid with a weird haircut and an English degree can become one of the most well-known comedy actors in the world, and that’s something to get you through your week.