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flick pick | Bottle Rocket 1996
Directed by:
Wes Anderson

Luke Wilson, Owen Wilson, Robert Musgrave
Language: English
Look for it at the video store under:

Watch it when you’re in the mood for something:
hip, quintessentially quasi-adult, whimsical

Plot synopsis Dignan’s a twenty-something slacker/former landscaper (read: lawn-mower) who fancies himself a real renegade. His so-called crimes, however, are so pathetically hare-brained that he’s more a criminal in his own mind than in the eyes of the law. When he "breaks" his friend Anthony out of the insane asylum (in actuality, Anthony’s checked himself out – it was, after all, a voluntary commitment, but Dignan got so excited about masterminding the escape that Anthony didn’t have the heart to tell him the truth), his first order of business is to corral his friend into joining his "team" for some mysterious "job", organized by the supposedly infamous Mr. Henry. Anthony doesn’t seem to have a whole heck of a lot going on his life right now anyway, so he humors Dignan by going along with the scheme. The two recruit a third man, Bob – a rich boy slacker whose primary qualification for this crime spree is that he’s the only one of them who has a car. After the trio somewhat successfully test their skills by robbing a local bookstore – yes, you heard right, a bookstore – they head out of town to lie low for a few days, imagining that the cops must surely be hot on their trail now. At their motel hideaway, however, Anthony falls in love with the maid, Bob freaks out when he finds out his brother’s been arrested, and Dignan’s left alone, desperately trying to remind everyone not to lose sight of their criminal aspirations, in hopes of pulling the team together to pull off the big final heist.

Review Wes Anderson is the king of quirky geek hipness, as anyone who’s seen Anderson’s terrifically funny second film, Rushmore, ought to know. Bottle Rocket was Anderson’s first full-length feature, and like Rushmore, it’s a movie about little guys with big dreams, oddballs with delusions of grandeur. At heart, Dignan, Anthony, and Rob are the stereotypical gen-x slacker losers, caught in that twenty-something limbo between childhood and adult life. But what’s wonderful is that Anderson and co-writer Owen Wilson (who also turns in a hilarious performance as the seriously wacked-out Dignan), manage to render these guys loveable without ever making these characters out to be anything but the weirdo dork losers they actually are. The movie gets a little slow in the middle – the romance between Anthony and the hotel maid doesn’t quite work – but it redeems itself with a bizarre and hilarious final heist sequence.


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