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Bottle Rocket is a 1996 American crime-comedy film directed by Wes Anderson. It was co-written by Anderson and Owen Wilson. In addition to being Wes Anderson's feature-length directorial debut, Bottle Rocket was the debut feature for brothers Owen and Luke Wilson, who co-starred with James Caan and Robert Musgrave.

Bottle Rocket
Bottle Rocket (1996 film poster).png
Theatrical release poster
Directed byWes Anderson
Produced byPolly Platt
Cynthia Hargrave
Screenplay byWes Anderson
Owen Wilson
Based onBottle Rocket
by Wes Anderson
Owen Wilson
Music byMark Mothersbaugh
CinematographyRobert Yeoman
Edited byDavid Moritz
Production
company
Distributed byColumbia Pictures[1]
Release date
  • February 21, 1996 (1996-02-21)
Running time
91 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Spanish
Budget$5 million[2]
Box office$560,069[3]

The film was a commercial failure but launched Anderson's career by drawing attention from critics. Director Martin Scorsese later named Bottle Rocket one of his top-ten favorite movies of the 1990s.[4]

Contents

PlotEdit

In Arizona, Dignan "rescues" his friend Anthony from a voluntary psychiatric unit, where he has been staying for self-described exhaustion. Dignan has an elaborate escape plan and has developed a 75-year plan that he shows to Anthony. The plan is to pull off several heists, and then meet up with a Mr. Henry, a landscaper and part-time criminal known to Dignan.

As a practice heist, the two friends break into Anthony's family's house, stealing specific items from a previously agreed upon list. Afterward, critiquing the heist, Dignan reveals that he took a pair of earrings not specified on the list. This upsets Anthony, as he had purchased the earrings for his mother as a gift and specifically left them off the list. Anthony visits his little sister at her school and asks her to return the earrings. Dignan recruits Bob Mapplethorpe as a getaway driver because he is the only person they know with a car. The three of them buy a gun and return to Bob's house to plan their next heist, which will be at a local bookstore. The group bickers as Dignan struggles to describe his intricate plan.

The group steals a small sum of money from the bookstore and go "on the lam", stopping to stay at a motel. Anthony meets Inez, one of the motel maids, and the two spark a romance despite their language barrier (Inez speaks little English, and Anthony barely any Spanish). Bob learns that his marijuana crop back home has been discovered by police, and that his older brother has been arrested. Bob leaves in his car the following day to help his brother, without telling Dignan. Before leaving the motel themselves, Anthony gives Dignan an envelope to give to Inez. Dignan delivers the envelope to Inez while she is cleaning a room, not knowing that the envelope has most of his and Anthony's money inside. Inez does not open the envelope and hugs Dignan to say goodbye. As Dignan is leaving, Inez asks an English-speaking male friend of hers to chase after Dignan and tell him that she loves Anthony. When he delivers the message he says, "Tell Anthony I love him". Dignan fails to realize he is speaking for Inez and does not deliver the message.

Dignan discovers a dilapidated but functional Alfa Romeo Spider, and Dignan and Anthony continue with the 75-year plan. The car breaks down eventually and Anthony reveals that the envelope Dignan gave to Inez contained the rest of their cash. The two get in a confrontation and go their separate ways. Narrating a letter to his sister, Anthony says he and Bob have settled into a routine back at home that is keeping him busy. Dignan, who has joined Mr. Henry's gang, tracks Anthony down and they reconcile. Dignan invites Anthony to a heist with Mr. Henry and Anthony accepts on the condition that Bob is allowed in too. The trio meet the eccentric Mr. Henry and plan to rob a safe at a cold storage facility. Mr. Henry becomes a role model for the trio, standing up to Bob's abusive brother and tutoring Dignan on success. He invites the trio to a party at his house, and visits the group at the Mapplethorpes' house, which he compliments. Anthony learns of Inez's love for him and contacts her via phone. Her English has improved and the two rekindle their relationship.

The group conducts their heist at the cold storage facility with Applejack and Kumar, accomplices from Mr. Henry's landscaping company. The plan quickly falls apart with Kumar unable to crack the safe, and Bob accidentally firing his gun, which in turn triggers a cardiac event in Applejack. As the police arrive, Dignan has locked himself out of the escape van and is arrested and brutalized by the police. During the heist, Mr. Henry loads furniture from Bob's house into a truck. Later, Anthony and Bob visit Dignan in prison and tell him how Mr. Henry robbed Bob's house. While Bob and Anthony are saying their goodbyes, Dignan begins rattling off an escape plan and tells his friends to get into position for a get-away. After a tense moment, the two realize Dignan is joking. Dignan says to Anthony, "Isn't it funny that you used to be in the nuthouse and now I'm in jail?" as he walks back into the prison.

CastEdit

ProductionEdit

In 1992, Anderson directed a short film, also titled Bottle Rocket, starring the Wilson brothers and Musgrave. It was released in 1994 and serves as the basis for the feature-length film.

The film was shot entirely in Dallas, Fort Worth, and Hillsboro, Texas.[5] The scenes at Bob Mapplethorpe's house were filmed at the John Gillin Residence, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.[6]

After the film failed to achieve success, Owen Wilson considered joining the Marines.[7] Bill Murray was considered for the role of Mr. Abe Henry.[8][9]

ReviewsEdit

Bottle Rocket received generally positive reviews from film critics. As of July 2015, it maintains an 85% "fresh" rating, with an average rating of 6.8/10 on Rotten Tomatoes.[10] On Metacritic it has a 65/100 weighted average score with critics which translates to "generally favorable reviews".[11]

Additionally, Martin Scorsese was a fan of the film, calling it one of his favorite movies of the 1990s.[12] In a 2000 interview with Esquire, Scorsese praised Wes Anderson for his ability to "convey the simple joys and interactions between people so well and with such richness."[12]

Home mediaEdit

In 2008, Bottle Rocket was released on DVD and Blu-ray as part of The Criterion Collection.

Bottle Rocket (1994)Edit

In 1994, Anderson directed a 13-minute short film, also titled Bottle Rocket.[13] The short was filmed in black and white, and also starred Owen and Luke Wilson, and Musgrave. The short had a similar plot to the later feature film.[14] The short film was screened at the 1994 Sundance Film Festival.[15]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Bottle Rocket". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. Retrieved April 10, 2017.
  2. ^ "FILM;Their Feet in Texas, Their Heads in the Clouds". The New York Times. Retrieved September 16, 2018.
  3. ^ "Bottle Rocket". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2007-08-07.
  4. ^ Martin Scorsese (guest host), Roger Ebert (host) (2000-02-26). "Martin Scorsese's Best Films of the '90s". Roger Ebert & the Movies. Season 1. Episode 26.
  5. ^ Seal, Mark. "Celebrated Weekend: Luke Wilson's Austin". American Way. Retrieved 2007-08-08.
  6. ^ Neilson, Charlotte. "Bottle Rocket 1996 - The Gillin Residence". Casting Architecture. Retrieved 2014-07-22.
  7. ^ "Owen Wilson: From movies to the marines". Leatherneck. June 20, 2006. Retrieved February 3, 2016.
  8. ^ Locke, Greg W. (26 August 2011). "The Top 25 Roles Bill Murray Didn't Take". Archived from the original on 2011-11-25. Retrieved 25 May 2015.
  9. ^ Evans, Bradford (17 February 2011). "The Lost Roles of Bill Murray". Archived from the original on 2015-05-20. Retrieved 25 May 2015.
  10. ^ "Bottle Rocket (1996)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 12 March 2014.
  11. ^ "Bottle Rocket". Metacritic. Retrieved 12 March 2014.
  12. ^ a b Khatchatourian, Maane (March 6, 2014). "Wes Anderson: 12 Fun Facts About His Movies". Variety. Retrieved 2017-09-11.
  13. ^ Calvario, Liz; Calvario, Liz (2016-06-25). "Wes Anderson's 'Bottle Rocket' Short Film: Watch the 13 Minute Clip That Launched His Career". IndieWire. Retrieved 2019-04-24.
  14. ^ Dazed (2016-02-24). "What you didn't know about Wes Anderson's first film". Dazed. Retrieved 2019-04-24.
  15. ^ "Wes Anderson's first film, the original B&W 'Bottle Rocket' short from 1992". DangerousMinds. 2013-06-21. Retrieved 2019-04-24.

External linksEdit