Bottle Rocket 1996 Movie Owen Wilson holding a Colt Anaconda after a shooting practice in a field

Bottle Rocket [1996]

With a quirky atmosphere and even quirkier characters, Bottle Rocket looks exactly like a movie you wouldn’t find here, at Rabbit Reviews. It seems like a perfect hipster movie, a true indie extravaganza with a pretentious and contrived story. However, there’s something irresistibly charming about Bottle Rocket. It disarms you with its honest and straight-forward approach and before you know it you’ll be waiting to see where our merry band will end up.

This was a debut for young director Wes Anderson who went on direct movies like The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, and The Grand Budapest Hotel. He successfully avoided being too on the nose and egocentric with this one, traits that destroyed so many indie movies. This is the reason why I liked the movie, it’s just a story about three guys trying to make something happen. Not to mention the fact that this is also a heist movie. Granted, the heist is as complex as our characters are, but it’s still a heist nonetheless.

Bottle Rocket captured that summer vibe that can make anything happen. You might end up at a crazy party, meet the love of your life or end up robbing a library. Yes, the story is feeding off a big Hollywood production and placing our clumsy protagonists in strange situations created by their desire to be/do something. The humor is subtle and this is not one of those laugh-out-loud comedies. Sometimes the sheer absurdity of situations our heroes find themselves in will make you burst out with laughter but for most of the movie, you will have a slight grin on your face.

Anthony Adams just left a psychiatric facility with a little help from his friend Dignan. While he was away, Dignan was making elaborate plans about their future. His 75-year-plan involves them pulling off several high-stakes heists and then link-up with a larger crew he met while landscaping. The only thing they need now is a getaway driver and some practice. Bob Mapplethorpe seems like a perfect man for a job as he’s the only guy Dignan knows who owns the car. And off the three of them go…

Strangely enough, Bottle Rocket also makes for a great character and social study. Why Dignan (a name you’re not going to easily forget) have such a desire for the life of petty crime? Is it perhaps because it will define him as a “tough and masculine” man? He seems more obsessed with his buddies and elaborate plans than looking for love. Anthony, on the other hand, seems to be rational and even trying to work on himself, doing all the right stuff. He’s still a troubled man.

The entire movie gives us a look into the lives and motivations behind these strange crimes that end up on news feed. You know the ones where robbers do something crazy or stupid. Now you will inevitably blame the society for these things as clearly they shouldn’t be happening and these poor guys never stood a chance. The Wilson brothers were great and you could feel they enjoy playing off each other. And Robert Musgrave was also phenomenal as Bob. This was their debut and it went swimmingly. I should also mention James Caan who offered the much needed gravitas and authenticity. And what to say about incredibly cute and dreamy Lumi Cavazos. I think I don’t need to say anything.

Director: Wes Anderson

Writers: Owen Wilson, Wes Anderson

Cast: Luke Wilson, Owen Wilson, Ned Dowd, Shea Fowler, Haley Miller, Robert Musgrave, Andrew Wilson, Lumi Cavazos, James Caan

Fun Facts: After the movie bombed at the box office, Owen Wilson seriously considered joining the Marines.


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