Classic Scene: Bottle Rocket

Let’s get lucky!

The 1996 crime-comedy Bottle Rocket is notable for two things: giving the world the symmetry loving, irreverent and aesthetically pleasing directing talents of Wes Anderson, 52 today, and also giving the world the Brothers Wilson (Owen and Luke). Wow. Anderson’s feature debut was based on a short film he made in 1994 (same name, also starring the Wilsons). Owen stars as Dignan, a man with a 75 year plan for success that starts, obviously, with several heists and Luke plays his brother Anthony who is dragged along for the ride. They practice their technique, attain a gun, crew up including a getaway driver who is hired purely on the merit that he is the only person they know who owns a car… typical Anderson fare, and it’s great. Bottle Rocket was not a success on release, but drew considerable acclaim by critics and the attention of industry insiders, including Martin Scorsese who named it as one of his favourite films of the 1990s.

But did you know…

1) When the film failed to perform commercially, and tested poorly in initial screenings, Owen Wilson considered packing in the movie business: “I looked into the marines. Maybe I was influenced by An Officer and a Gentleman or those marine commercials – they were so cool! Like a Led Zeppelin song come to life, full of people pulling swords from rocks and fighting lava monsters.”

2) Being Owen Wilson’s first feature film it is naturally the first time (of many) that he can be heard muttering the now famous “wow”.

3) The 1994 short on which Bottle Rocket was based was a product of the Sundance Shorts and received considerable attention, but when it came time to submit the feature film it was rejected entry by the Sundance Film festival.