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Bottle Rocket (1996) April 3rd, 2020

I don’t know what to say about Bottle Rocket. I want to avoid talking about how it’s Wes Anderson’s 24 year old feature film debut. I’d prefer to dodge discussing Anderson as one of the few auteur writer/directors to emerge from the 1990’s, blossom in the early 00’s and survive the superhero takeover of the ought-tens (Is that what we’re calling that decade? Is it the Oh-Teens? The Ten’s?) to remain one of the most singularly unique voices in modern cinema. If at all possible I won’t address it’s whimsical plot about dreamers doomed to fail. I think all of that is true, I just really don’t want to write about it. Think about it, everything substantial about this film was written at the time of it’s release by the reviewers who hated it, the bloggers who discovered it in the early Oh-Oh’s (definitely not calling it that) and the podcasters whose faithful listeners have long forgotten their analytic witticisms.

All those critics, bloggers and podcasters spent time and energy sharing their perspectives with audiences who’d likely forget them immediately. I remember reading a description of a comic book artist being someone who spends a lifetime perfecting facial expression, shot composition and individual technique for the audience to briefly glance at their art before quickly moving to the next wood balloon.

If anything Bottle Rocket is about the people who aren’t even that lucky. It’s about people like Dignan and Anthony who don’t have the skills, connections or self awareness to make anything more of themselves. That doesn’t stop them from seeking adventure and fortune wherever they can find it. They’re doomed dreamers, just like those critics, bloggers and podcasters. There’s no promise of fortune in robbing a bookstore or writing about movies, but there might be some adventure and maybe some fun.

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