Bottle Rocket

"Movie Magazine International" Review

(Air Date: Week Of 02/07/96)

By Larry Carlin

Since winter is a slow time of year for finding big money movies, now is about the best time to release an independent film. Serious cineasts don t have to wade through the muck and mire of blockbuster action-adventure flicks like they do in summer or over the holidays. And if small independents with a cast of mostly starless no-names is your favorite fare, then you ll love the new film called "Bottle Rocket".

"Bottle Rocket" is the tale of three young dreamers who are all searching for something. Anthony is looking for love, Dignan is aching for adventure, and Bob seeks a sense of belonging. The trio decide to follow a life of crime yet at their best they are inept petty thieves whose every caper becomes a comedic calamity. Dignan decides to seek the wisdom and guidance of a smarmy small-time conman played by James Caan, while Anthony falls in love with a pretty hotel maid, and Bob keeps getting beat up by his goon of a brother called Future Man. In the end all three get what they were yearning for, yet in ways not anticipated.

The making of "Bottle Rocket" was a group effort by a few of the main participants. First-time director Wes Anderson also co-wrote the screenplay with Owen Wilson, who plays the dingbat Dignan, the leader of the wacky pack. His real-life brothers Luke and Andrew Wilson play the roles of Anthony and Future Man, respectively, yet the three are not related in the film. Owen Wilson looks like a young Dennis Hopper, and handsome Luke Wilson is going to give newcomer actor/director Edward Byrnes, of the art house hit The Brothers McMullen, a run for his money and adoring female fans. James Caan, in a small role, is quite funny as Mr. Henry, Lumi Cavazos, who starred in Like Water For Chocolate is Luke s love interest, and the music is by Mark Mothersbaugh, one of the founders of the band Devo.

The title, "Bottle Rocket", comes from a rather harmless firecracker that, when lit, takes off in a flash but burns out quickly without doing any harm. Like fireworks, Bottle Rocket will be taking off fast but will not crash and burn, and with any luck we ll be seeing more of these wild Wilson brothers and less of the banal Baldwin brothers, and for Movie Magazine, I m Larry Carlin.

Copyright 1996 Larry Carlin

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