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4.3 out of 5 stars
Bottle Rocket [DVD]
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Taking a trip into Wes Anderson's head is like going into a parallel universe where most things are the same, but the nature of reality is just slightly warped. And that formula holds true for "Bottle Rocket," his first collaboration with actor Owen Wilson (who also stars), an absurdist crime caper.
Anthony (Luke Wilson) has just been released from a mental hospital after being treated for exhaustion ("You haven't worked a day in your life. How could you be exhausted?"). He hangs out with his idealistically weird pal Dignan (Owen Wilson), who has mapped out his life over the next 75 years. Dignan, having seen a TV special, has decided to become a master criminal.
First they recruitt the timid Bob (Bob Musgrave) as the getaway driver, as he is the only one who has a car. They practice for a while on smaller-time burglaries, such as robbing a bookstore -- then hiding out at a motel, where Anthony falls in love with the pretty South-American maid (Lumi Cavazos). However, the guys find themselves in hot water when they bump into a REAL crime boss (James Caan).
Wes Anderson's touch is a little rough in his movie debut, but it's that slightly unpolished touch that makes his offbeat style a delight here. For example, Anthony "escapes" from a hospital that he can leave anytime he wants. That unnecessarily complex opener sets the tone of the rest of the movie, of thrillseeking young men who are just a little out of sync with the rest of us.
Don't expect stupid puns, toilet humor and bad sex jokes. "Bottle Rocket" shares the dry, funny, erratic humor of Anderson's later movies. Not to mention a thousand funny little lines ("Bob stole his car!"). Anderson and Wilson avoid being self-consciously cool, in favor of being earnestly quirky. No banter, just wit.
The Wilson brothers are in fine form here, especially when interacting with one another. Anthony is calmer and thinks a lot; Dignan is idealistic and wacky almost to the point of mental illness. They have a certain innocence despite their illegal ambitions, and it's fun just to see them ramble around. They, Inez and Bob are sort of misfits, but not the kind you laugh at.
It's a little erratic, but "Bottle Rocket" comes across as fresh, weird, and extremely well-done. Funny, zany and charming crime comedy with a twist of Wes Anderson.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Low-key, deadpan humor is the name of the game in this quirky comedy that is chock full of Wilson brothers. Owen wrote and starred in the film alongside brother Luke, and yet another Wilson brother plays a small role as their buddy's brother. Bottle Rocket is definitely a quirky little film, and its humor won't appeal to everyone. Inevitably, you'll either enjoy it or wonder why such a nothing story was ever made into a film. By this point, I have to come to terms with the fact that I am actually an Owen Wilson fan; I can't help it - the man's just extremely funny.
The story centers around Anthony (Luke Wilson), who just got out of a voluntary mental hospital, and his one-of-a-kind buddy Dignan (Owen Wilson). Dignan has big plans; in fact, he has the next fifty years charted out. This master plan of his calls for Dignan and Anthony to pull a few burglary jobs and thus impress the local landscaper (I mean, criminal mastermind) Mr. Henry (James Caan) so much that he makes them part of his crew. Dignan obsessively maps out each facet of his plans, treating them as daring capers of great importance, but Anthony and his friend Bob (Robert Musgrave) tend to get distracted rather easily. The first job, a little after-hours bookstore robbery, sort of succeeds despite itself, and the trio goes on the lamb until the supposed heat is off, holing up in a cheap motel out in the middle of nowhere. Here's where things start falling apart, at least insofar as Dignan is concerned. Bob's all worried about his brother having been arrested for the pot that Bob was growing in his own backyard, while Anthony falls in a rather pathetic - but awfully sweet - kind of love with Inez the housekeeper (Lumi Cavazos) - despite her limited knowledge of English. Everyone goes his separate way, basically, but the gang comes back together in order to pull their most ambitious (and, of course, wildly unsuccessful) heist yet. There's not a great deal of story resolution at the end, but that's okay; the film's ambiguity is actually one of its strengths.
Bottle Rocket is a decidedly quirky film, but the characters of Dignan and Anthony really grow on you. Poor Dignan, despite all of his big plans and enthusiasm, is really just a loser going nowhere, while Anthony basically just wants the world to slow down to his low-key pace and to be reunited with Inez. The whole film thrives on a fairly intellectual brand of comedy - no toilet humor, outrageous pratfalls, or low-brow, course jokes to generate cheap laughs. Sure, the movie is sort of stupid, but the comedy certainly isn't. Basically, you either get Bottle Rocket or you don't. That's probably one of the reasons that the film has never managed to generate a giant blip on the radar screens of movie viewers - and that's too bad because Bottle Rocket really is a funny little oddball of a film.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Taking a trip into Wes Anderson's head is like going into a parallel universe where most things are the same, but the nature of reality is just slightly warped.

And while the world of "Bottle Rocket" -- Anderson's first collaboration with actor Owen Wilson -- is a little rough around the edges, the absurdist crime caper is a jewel. And while it sounds like yet another goofy comedy, Anderson's signature quirkiness is already in place -- a heavy dose of his dry, erratic, clever wit and some lovable misfit characters.

After being treated for exhaustion ("You haven't worked a day in your life. How could you be exhausted?"), Anthony (Luke Wilson) has just been released from a voluntary mental hospital.

His "rescuer" is his idealistically weird pal Dignan (Owen Wilson), who has decided to become a master criminal. To this end, he has created an elaborate 75-year plan of theft and heists. You can guess where that's going to take them. After an absurd first heist, they recruit the timid Bob (Bob Musgrave) as the getaway driver, as he is the only one who has a car.

And so the odd little trio practice for a while on smaller-time burglaries, such as robbing a bookstore and Anthony's own house -- then hiding out at a motel, where Anthony falls in love with the pretty South-American maid (Lumi Cavazos). However, the guys find themselves in hot water when they bump into a REAL master criminal (James Caan), and Bob bails out on them. The hot water is rising.

Comedic crime caper movies are hard to make, because of the need for balance between the criminal activities and the comedy... without making any of it too stupid or over the top. Wes Anderson solves this dilemma by making this a caper carried off by affluent young slackers who could easily do stuff other than thieving their way through life. And that's half of "Bottle Rocket's" comedy appeal right there -- the unlikely criminals.

The other half is handling humor that would be stupid and forgettable in another auteur's hands. Wes Anderson's uniquely quirky touch is a little rough in his full-length debut, but it's that slightly unpolished touch that makes his offbeat style such a delight here -- as an example, Anthony "escapes" from a hospital that he can leave anytime he wants. That unnecessarily complex opener sets the tone of the rest of the movie, of thrill-seeking young men who are just a little out of sync with the rest of the world.

And "Bottle Rocket" shares the dry, funny, erratic humor of Anderson's later movies, albeit in a slightly more energetic manner ("Here are just a few of the key ingredients: dynamite, pole vaulting, laughing gas, choppers..." Dignan explains). And the scripting is peppered with a thousand funny little lines ("Which part of Mexico are you from?" "Paraguay"). Anderson and Wilson avoid being self-consciously cool, in favor of being earnestly quirky.

And the Wilson brothers -- Owen and Luke both -- are in fine form here as the Odd Couplish friends, especially when interacting with one another. Anthony is calmer, more laid-back and thinks a lot, while Dignan is idealistic and wacky almost to the point of mental illness. This pair have a certain innocence despite their illegal ambitions, and while they're goofy misfits, they're not the kind you laugh at.

"Bottle Rocket" is a bit erratic and rough around the edges, but it's also fresh, weird and delightfully zany. Anderson should try his hand at this sort of stuff again, because he has a rare talent for such films.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Bottle Rocket was co written by director Wes Anderson (The Royal Tenenbaums), and actor Owen Wilson (Meet the Parents, The Royal Tenenbaums), and tells the tale of three friends who decide to escape their mundane (and a little bit disturbed) lives and live a life of crime.
From other reviews I have seen of this film, the word most often used is, "quirky". And by all accounts the humour in it is very subtle and offbeat. If you're looking for slapstick laughs, this isn't the film for you.
Owen Wilson is excellent as militant Dignan (surely a classic cult character), showcasing the actors brilliant head for comedy. Praise must also be given to Luke Wilson, Bob Musgrave and James Caan (also excellent as the local "Godfather").
If you liked The Royal Tenenbaums and Rushmore, this will be a much cherished addition to your collection.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 8 January 2004
Bottle Rocket was the first feature film from wunder-kid Wes Anderson. He wrote it with his friend Owen Wilson, who stars along side his brother, Luke.
The story is basically about two best friends who have ambitions to be professional crooks, the one snag being they're absolutely hopeless at it. They rope in an old highschool friend to be their get-away driver (since he's the only one with a car), and embark on a petty-crime spree in order to catch the attention of a local mob boss played by James Caan.
This movie (described by The Boston Globe as 'Reservoir Geeks') is absolutely hilarious. The first time I saw it, I watched again straight afterwards. If you've seen Wes' other films; 'Rushmore', 'The Royal Tenenabums' or his new 'The Life Aquatic', then you'll know what sort of humor to expect.
This is a mature, cynical, funny funny movie, with plenty of heart. A nice indie-style movie - it's unconventional, comic, bright, original, funny and touching. If you haven't seen it then you owe it to yourself. If you haven't seen any of Wes Anderson's other movies, then start with this one - his first.
Go on, buy it now.
"Who is dat man?"
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 29 July 2009
Bottle Rocket is the breakout film for writer/ director Wes Anderson, Owen Wilson, (who also co-wrote it) and his brother Luke.

Anderson and Wilson's script is absolutely fantastic. It was fleshed out from a short sketch in black and white years earlier, and the amount of love and care that has gone into it over the years is plain to see.

Anderson's direction shows the promise he would later fulfill, despite this film lacking the sort of budget which he would use to such great effect later, particularly in the Life Aquatic. Anderson still manages to pack this film with loads of subtle details, however, for example Wilson's notebook with his 75 year plan for their life of crime. He flicks through it so fast that its impossible to read in real time, but i would actually recommend pausing it on each page as it is absolutely hilarious!

And the acting, mainly by the Wilson brothers, is very warm and affecting. You can't help but be taken by them and their next crazy scheme. James Caan is also enjoyable in his extended cameo towards the end.

This is a side-splittingly funny film, with some of my favourite quotes in any film ever (Owen Wilson describing his latest scheme - "Here are just a few of the key ingredients - dynamite, pole vaulting, laughing gas, choppers, can you see how incredible this is gonna be...hang gliding... Come on!")

Enough said, Just watch It!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 30 November 2003
The first feature film by Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson, who also made Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums, Bottle Rocket has achieved cult status in the US. It tells the gently comic story of three devoted, would-be thieves who prove the importance of friendship, honor and duty as they ineptly pursue a life of crime. It displays all that audiences have come to expect from the duo, including, of course, many quotable lines ('nobody ever thinks of old Dignan, do they?'). Owen Wilson stars (as the self-appointed leader of the trio, Dignan), alongside his brother Luke, Robert Musgrave and James Caan.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 13 November 2010
A rambling, oddball shaggy dog story, but it packs some real emotion and laughs along the way. Terrific understated performances, and good use of images and music.
I recently watched it a 2nd time and found I wasn't all that into it... until near the end, when it suddenly got me on a deeper level emotionally than on first viewing. There's something in it about the loss of childhood dreams that resonates beyond the silly and playful surface. Always a good sign when a film deepens with time and re-visiting.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 7 April 2008
I saw this film for the first time about a month ago and since then have been watching clips on youtube and now plan to buy it. I've always been a big fan of Owen Wilson, but I think this is his best role! The whole story is so well put together and both the Wilson brothers play a part in maing it hilariously funny and really quite sad.

I can see (almost) how the film might not appeal to anybody but I can honestly say THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST FILMS I've seen for ages and probably one of the best ones I've ever seen! Hopefully Anderson and Wilson will continue to collaborate and keep producing such great, heartwarming movies.....
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on 29 July 2011
Bottle Rocket is Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson's first collaborative script, and it shows. Adapted from their short film of the same name, Bottle Rocket tells the tale of loveable but simple Dignan, his always-wanting-to-please best friend Anthony, and getaway driver Bob. No more really needs to be said about this film as the story is worth watching in itself and the acting is spot on; Owen could not have nailed the character of Dignan any better and all of the cast, which includes all three Wilson brothers, really shines. Although not as well executed as the rest of the current Wes/Owen films (Rushmore, Royal Tenenbaums), for a first film, using mainly unknown actors (and some non-actors (Kumar) ) I think it's a wonderful effort and is one of my favourite films of all time. What this film lacks in minute details to the characters and settings - something very apparent in Royal Tenenbaums - it more than makes up for in a hilarious and well thought through dialogue and subtle one liners on and off screen, which I personally feel is second to no other Wes Anderson scripts.

If you've seen any other Wes Anderson films you must watch this. If you've seen any other Owen Wilson films, you must watch this. If you want to really feel like you've been introduced to a character who you want to be your best friend in real life (how I feel about Dignan), WATCH THIS FILM! You won't be disappointed.
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