Bottle Rocket (1996)

And what if, you may wonder, Wes Anderson directed a heist movie. We were actually discussing this, I believe in the context of the awful looking Ocean’s Eight movie coming out shortly. Wonder no further, as Mr. Anderson’s first film was, in fact, a heist movie. Well, sorta.

Stills. Do you speak it?

I don’t think this is a scene from the film.

And, “well, sorta,” is what you get if WA directs a heist film. Our essentially good-hearted-if-wildly-over-estimating-their-own-competence thieves (Luke and Owen Wilson, again not playing brothers, and Robert Musgrave) prove their bona fides to the local crime boss (James Caan) by knocking over a bookstore. When the movie starts, Anthony (Luke) is being released from a sanitarium (voluntary committal) but to make it more exciting for his pal Dignan (Owen), he ties bedsheets together and climbs out the window.

And we immediately see their relationship. Anthony is just a Good Guy who’s kind of looking for Dignan. Dignan’s not a bad guy, but he’s also not a bright guy, and he has the sort of ideas that will land you in prison. Only, because he’s Owen Wilson, his really dumb ideas stretch out into multiple five year plans. We can see why Anthony likes Dignan, and vice-versa, but we also can see how their life paths—which seem to involve Anthony going along with Dignan’s crazy, elaborate schemes—may not be entirely conducive to healthy, productive lives.

Pinball is the best.

Just wanted to say: Power Play was a good table.

Anthony deviates from the plans for the first time when he meets Inez (Lumi Cavazos, Like Water For Chocolate), and realizes he could have something genuine and good in life, which also might not be complementary to Dignan’s schemes.

The whole story culminates in a Big Heist, at a cold storage facility which, predictably, goes wrong in a number of humorous ways.

The kids liked it. I liked it. We were three for three on Wes Anderson films—but I had doubts about The Darjeeling Limited, next week’s feature.


True love…needs no words.

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