Ever wonder what Wes Anderson & Owen Wilson were up to prior to Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums? Yeah, me neither. Not for lack of being a fan, it just never crossed my mind. But as I was perusing Netflix’s “watch instantly” catalogue, a preview for their first film Bottle Rocket popped up. And despite my best efforts to watch episodes of Shark Week, I was hooked and had to satiate my curiosity. (And yes, the “watch instantly” feature is genius for those of you whose 9-5 lives heinously resemble those depicted on The Office).
Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson’s first partnering takes us back to 1996. A time of… well, early Romanticism for this duo. Anderson and Wilson were clearly on the brink of what would become The Life Aquatic and The Darjeeling Limited and it is interesting to catch a glimpse of what later evolved into their current, dare i say, “Genius.” But! I’m happy to say the witty lines and cheeky banter is truly second nature to these guys. Personally, I’ve always preferred and admired writers like the Anderson/Wilson team (apologies to the Damon/Affleck obsessed crowd, but I prefer the dry humour).
The film starts off with Dignan (Owen Wilson) picking up his friend Anthony (Luke Wilson) from a nuttery whereby they then begin their illustrious and fully thought-out careers into (would-be) robbery by breaking into Anthony’s parent’s house. The ridiculousness and absurdity just START there. In good Anderson/Wilson fashion, the film continues to captivate and enthrall as the duo hire a getaway man in their very rich friend Bob and strive to reach their ultimate goal in joining up with James Caan’s “big league” theiving team (and yes, you do get to see Mr. Caan in a sarong and ponytail — Amazing!). Now, the film will in fact leave you pondering how the Wilson brothers thought their respective haircuts were good ideas… but hey, it was the nineties–post Nirvana and Eddie Vedder. We were all clearly lost for ourselves and the Wilson brothers were no exception. Although their bright yellow jumpsuits can redeem anything.
All in all this film is totally worth the rental. I had plans to provide a completely different recommendation, then I saw this and couldn’t resist. That must say something. Plus, it’s fun for almost the whole family! Check out the trailer that got me hooked:
**Side Note: Bottle Rocket comes complete with Wes Anderson regulars.