Monday, July 1, 2013

Movie of the Week – Bottle Rocket

This week’s movie: Bottle Rocket (1996).

Anthony is about to be released from a metal health sanctuary (one in which he checked himself into because he was having a hard time dealing with normal life and its pressures). Waiting for him with eager anticipation is his best friend Dignan (a mass of nervous energy who might actually be crazy). Dignan has big plans for the friends now that Anthony is out – plans that involve pulling off an elaborate theist.

Bottle Rocket is auteur Wes Anderson’s first film, which he co-wrote with Owen Wilson. Stylistically, the film least resembles what fans of Anderson have come to expect from his work, but it certainly embodies the genesis of his style and directing nuances. What is particularly evident is Anderson’s typical protagonist – a mixture of joy and sadness who is not quite sure how he fits into the world. Anderson worked with composer Mark Mothersbaugh, cinematographer Robert D. Yeoman, and production designer David Wasco, which fostered brilliant partnerships (Motherbaugh has scored four Anderson films; Yeoman has shot six Anderson films; Wasco has designed three Anderson films). James L. Brooks served as the film’s executive producer (and chief engineer in getting it made).

The film also launched the careers of the Wilson brothers – Owen, Luke, and Andrew, who were friends with Anderson at the University of Texas (and the film was made primarily in Austin). Robert Musgrave, Lumi Cavazos, and James Caan feature in support.

Bottle Rocket was not immediately accepted by audiences, finding much more of a cult following. However, critics took notice of it – most notably Martin Scorsese lists it as one of his ten favorite films of the 1990s. The film is a wonderful quirky comedy with rich characters (who are refreshingly different). For fans of Anderson and the resurgence of indie films and auteur filmmakers in the 1990s, this is a must-see.

Trailer: Here

Available on: Blu-ray and Streaming

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