5-Word 365 #365 – Bottle Rocket

Day 365. Holy shit.

Bottle Rocket201212310552.jpg

Lesson learned; no more Anderson.

Three friends rob a bookstore to get the attention of a supposed underworld crime boss, hoping to move up in the world of high stakes burglaries. Unfortunately, they’re idiots.

Well, I tried. I gave him every chance but it seems that Wes Anderson and I were just not meant to be. Bottle Rocket, made before he fully embraced the stylistic quirks he has become best known for, was described to me as his most accessible movie. This was meant to be the Wes Anderson flick for people who don’t like Wes Anderson flicks. But other than another endearingly romantic dumbass performance from Luke Wilson, there was really nothing here to grab my interest. If I hadn’t had this column to write, I would have turned the film off after ten minutes.

These morons wouldn't even make Ocean's Forty Seven.

These morons wouldn’t even make Ocean’s Forty Seven.

I normally quite enjoy caper and con movies, but to be successful in that genre it helps if your lead thieves are either competent or at least likable. This crew are neither. Owen Wilson’s Dignan is both a moron and a prime dickhead. Every time he opened his mouth to start talking I just wanted someone to punch it closed again. The character has no redeeming features whatsoever, but the fact that I couldn’t completely hate him was solely down to Owen’s portrayal. Luke Wilson fares a bit better as Anthony. Nobody can play the lovestruck fool like Luke Wilson, and Anthony is another to add to the list. His burgeoning relationship with Inez the housekeeper was the emotional core of the movie for me. It was quite a sweet courtship although it did send the entire middle section of the film into a tailspin as far as the plot was concerned. As the third leg of this criminal tripod, Robert Musgrave might as well not even be there.

James Caan lends the proceedings a bit of class as the odd Mr Henry, Dignan’s former boss and criminal mentor. In Henry we see some of the idiosyncrasies that would soon become the Anderson trademark, such as the man hosting a party in his home wearing a kimono (complete with a samurai topknot) that goes completely unremarked on.

Owen was surprised when he didn't get a callback for Sons Of Anarchy.

Owen was surprised when he didn’t get a callback for Sons Of Anarchy.

As the debut feature for pretty much everyone involved, Bottle Rocket is a significant piece of work. It’s just a shame it doesn’t work for me as a piece of entertainment. I think I’ll just leave Wes Anderson aside from now on.


  1. Nick Powell · December 31, 2012

    This is on my queue on Netflix as I have been putting off watching it forever, even though I’m a huge Anderson fan.

    And yes, I too am in your boat. I can’t believe tomorrow is the end of the year!

    • Ryan McNeely · December 31, 2012

      Yeah, man. I can’t believe we both made it to the end!

  2. Morgan R. Lewis · December 31, 2012

    Congratulations on making it all the way to 365, Ryan!

    • Ryan McNeely · December 31, 2012

      Thanks dude, but the year ain’t over yet!

  3. Keith & Cindy · December 31, 2012

    Congratulations and bloody well done!

    Keith & Cindy

    • Ryan McNeely · December 31, 2012

      Thank you, thank you very much. Not done yet though. It’s a leap year, remember?!

  4. sanclementejedi · January 8, 2013

    I don’t know if I would say this was his most accessible work. My two cents would be that film would be Rushmore. While I enjoyed some parts of Bottle Rocket it is certainly very rough around the edges. Bill Murray like to claim he has never seen the film when he is interviewed about Wes Anderson.

    • Ryan McNeely · January 9, 2013

      I’ll bow to your experience on that one dude. I haven’t seen Rushmore and, since I’m not a fan of Jason Schwartzman either, I’m in no hurry to fill that hole in my cinematic experience!

      • sanclementejedi · January 9, 2013

        but are you a fan of Bill Freaking Murray is the real question 😉

      • Ryan McNeely · January 9, 2013

        C’mon man, who isn’t?! 😀

      • sanclementejedi · January 9, 2013

        maybe Dan Aykroyd cause of that whole ghostbusters 3 thing lol

  5. Garrett · February 15, 2013

    Just wondering, what Wes Anderson films have you seen? I’m actually making my way through them all right now, but this is one of the last ones I have yet to see. I’ve actually run into the same problem that you mention here of disliking some of his characters.

    • Ryan McNeely · February 16, 2013

      Glad I’m not the only one! This is the only film I’ve seen all the way through. I managed about an hour each of Life Aquatic and Royal Tenenbaums, and I had to turn Rushmore off after about twenty minutes.

      • Garrett · February 16, 2013

        My favorite of Anderson’s films have been his most recent ones: Fantastic Mr. Fox and Moonrise Kingdom. In my opinion, they’re a lot more likable and easier to get into. So if you ever feel like giving him another try, you should check out one of those.

  6. Tom · March 15, 2013

    Moonrise Kingdom is pretty fantastic, but it too may be saturated in Anderson film-o-vision….lol. I personally LOVE his work (though i’ve never seen Bottle Rocket) but I can totally see how people get turned off by his stuff.

    • Ryan McNeely · March 19, 2013

      Yeah, it’s just one of those things. Maybe I’ll give Moonrise and Fantastic Mr Fox a go at some point.

Go ahead, punk. Make my day.

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