Monday, August 25, 2014

The Essentials- "Bottle Rocket" (1996)

The Essentials-#71

Bottle Rocket

Wes Anderson has been delighting our souls with his unique comedy for over 10 years now. The best thing about Anderson is that he does not make comedy like we are used to. Everything he touches is uncannily original. If you were to watch “The Royal Tenenbaums,” “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou,” “Rushmore,” “The Darjeeling Limited” and “Moonrise Kingdom,” you would experience a whirlwind of zany, comedic adventure. Trust me, it would all be well-worth the trip. Each film in Anderson’s filmography seem to come from a very deep depth of Anderson’s psyche, he’s not a director that churns a film out every year (say, similar to Woody Allen.), there always seem to be a calculated time and measure to his films, so when they come out, they are much more rewarding.

I’ll never forget the first film Wes Anderson ever made the film that put him on the radar in a very big way. In 1996, Anderson made a little movie called “Bottle Rocket.” This starred Luke Wilson, Owen Wilson and the little-known other brother Andrew Wilson. The rest of the cast included James Caan, Lumi Cavazos, Robert Musgrave and Kumar Pallana. It was a wonderful way for Anderson to introduce himself to the world.
“Bottle Rocket,” revolves around Dignan (Owen Wilson), Anthony (Luke Wilson) and Bob Mapplethorpe (Robert Musgrave) and they have decided to become thieves. Dignan is the leader, Bob is the getaway driver and Anthony is the enforcer. Dignan becomes wildly excited to become a criminal, thinking it will be just as exhilarating as it is on TV. Turns out, being a criminal is a lot harder than it seems, especially with someone like Anthony who has a very good heart, even Dignan himself is quite gullible next to his old ex-partner-in-crime (James Caan).

When you see Owen Wilson in this, it is tough to imagine how he got work like “Anaconda” and “The Haunting” all throughout the 1990’s. It seemed that nobody knew how to use him except Wes Anderson. Wilson is alive like he never is when he’s with Anderson and his performance in “Bottle Rocket” is among his career-best performances. Dignan is a masterful creation, easily one of the coolest movie characters ever created. Dignan is offbeat, silly, courageous and fearless and all of those emotions and more are completely heartfelt in Owen Wilson’s hands. I also have to give Robert Musgrave a special mention as Bob. Bob has some of the most humorous scenes in the film and he nails every, single one of them. I can’t believe Musgrave is a name that barely registers in comedy anymore and after to see him as Bob, you shall surely agree.

The film will feel like a typical Anderson film for most people who are familiar with his work. But, when has that ever been a bad thing? There is enough originality in this movie to keep your eyes on the screen. The performances by each Wilson brother will keep your big smile plastered on your face. This is a true telling of how Anderson came to power and how that power has never lessened since.

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