Bottle Rocket (1994) Poster

(1994)

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10/10
Charming + wonderful beginning
savage miser16 June 2002
This is the FIRST Bottle Rocket, not the full length. This version begins after the breakout in th '96 version, and ends after the boys RECAP the bookstore robbery to Bob. This is interesting to watch for hardcore Wes fans, and if Criterion loves us, they will release a DVD including this original on it. Especially worth seeing is the "I bought the gun" scene, where Dignan flips out in a vulgar rage which only Owen Wilson could have executed the way he did.

The Bottle Rocket '96 trailer includes a shot of Anthony breaking into a car to steal a wallet, but the scene is cut from the actual movie. That scene is present in the short version.
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an interesting start
belchizadeck8 October 2000
It was rather interesting, as a huge fan of the feature, to finally get a look at the original 13 minute short, which the director himself says he cannot watch without cringing. I didn't cringe at all, in fact I was elated to see the bare bones of a simple plot, simply worded and simply acted. It was great to see what two years, a great production crew, a great cast and 6 million dollars can do to a movie. Unfortunately it's hard for me to separate the original from the feature, but one can definitely see the potentially unique voices in this piece.
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7/10
promising though a bit derivative
themadstork22 December 2004
The owner of our local video store was nice enough to let me borrow his copy of the short when I rented Bottle Rocket. It's very clever but honestly nothing to write home about. Witty dialog with a lot of pop culture references and a certain charm, but it just doesn't have that endearing quality that Anderson and Wilson's longer films have. It actually seems more like something Quentin Tarantino would do than Anderson and Wilson. If you're a fan of Bottle Rocket and you get a chance to see this it's probably worth it. If nothing else it's interesting to see how it started. On the other hand if you never see it you shouldn't feel like you're missing too much.
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7/10
moves like a good little bebop number, but only hints at what would come
MisterWhiplash20 February 2009
At this point, I wager, Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson weren't entirely sure how their Bottle Rocket feature would turn out. As a means of getting support for it they made this short film which won over James L. Brooks at Sundance and got them a movie deal at Columbia pictures. Their plan worked... except that their short film had only the smallest of substance- heavy on style, of course, even in the grittiest possible for anything by Wes Anderson- and they spent more than a year or so writing and rewriting the feature until they got it to where it worked, brilliantly.

So, as someone who loves the 1996 Bottle Rocket, I have to say that this one was just alright. But alright in that sense that does get you excited about a couple of things. For one thing the Wilson brothers, however airy their delivery, already have an interesting rapport going on, and certain scenes are identical to how it came out in the feature such as the robbery of the house, or of the shooting of the cans with the guns (the Charlie Brown music is an especially funny and awesome touch). I also liked how they introduced the book-store into the story, how the bits and pieces of visual information were kind of "stolen" shots probably taken when no one was looking in the aisles and around the corners. It overall is something slight, but it works for a 13 minute short with a sort of abrupt ending.
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6/10
The beginning of Anderson & Wilson
rbverhoef6 March 2007
'Bottle Rocket' is the first project written by Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson, starring Owen and his brother Luke. This short, shown at Sundance, made sure they got to make the feature film 'Bottle Rocket' (1996). Of course they came with 'Rushmore', 'The Royal Tenenbaums' and 'The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou' next.

This short, shot in black and white, is sort of the same as the first fifteen minutes of the feature film version. It shows three friends named Dignan (Owen Wilson), Anthony (Luke) and Bob (Robert Musgrave) preparing for a heist, not much more. Before the real deal they practice once, buy guns, and then it's show time.

The dialogue and natural acting makes this an above average short film. The writing is pretty clever and most moments will make you smile. Most of the time it is quite exciting to see one of those "first films" from established directors; 'Bottle Rocket' is no exception.
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Absolutely mind blowing and truly unique.
BSpears20 February 2000
This is the type of film that should be popular among film goers. Yet, none of my friends have ever seen or heard of Bottle Rocket. The dialogue is very well written and the characters are amazingly funny. I am glad that the commercialization of the film industry and American society as a whole has left room for films like Bottle Rocket. It is not exactly film art; but, damn close.
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7/10
Wilson brothers are great
BlackVelvet8827 July 2006
This short was great. It's actually the first and only Wes Anderson work I'd seen, so I didn't know what to expect. But it was surprisingly well-made. Obviously not the best, but for a low budget screening, the cinematography was good, the dialogue was pretty good, and especially the main actors were good. Sure, they weren't Humphrey Bogart or Robert De Niro, but I thought they did great for first timers. Honestly, I was surprised that it was their first time. Of course, I did have an admiration for Owen Wilson before.

Overall, this short was better that I expected. I know Anderson's work now and I know the writer side of Owen Wilson. I'll see even more when I see the feature length version - this film made me want to see it.
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A well done movie
Robert Turo16 March 2005
A simple movie that went far beyond what could have been expected. I have been fascinated with Wes Anderson ever since. The Wilson brothers shocked me in that they were so easy going through the whole film. Never before have I been so intrigued about a movie that involved so little detail, which in itself proves there was great detail and a great effort in keeping the detail. The laughs are there, but it's no Happy Gilmore. That's a big reason why I like it. I would recommend this film to anyone who is quirky and who likes to see a young, raw Owen Wilson. Wes Anderson has gone on to make other wonderful pieces of filmery, but you gotta love his first effort purely for its simplicity.
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One of the funniest, clever movies I have ever seen...
JBinAz11 January 1999
I happened to see this film on impulse, and now I own it and have seen it many times over. The humor is subtle and intelligent and the performances are very genuine. If you have not seen this film, you are missing out on a great one. Pay attention to the dialogue though, or you might miss some of the laughs.
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8/10
A solid directorial short debut.
Charlie Brownlee29 January 2017
Bottle Rocket is Wes Anderson's first short film and his debut as a director and writer. It was unveiled at the 1994 Sundance Film Festival and was later remade into a motion picture by Wes Anderson.

I take inspiration from this short film because it's good source material. Lots of low-budget short films and movies take themselves too seriously and end up looking terrible, but films like Bottle Rocket (along with Clerks and Napoleon Dynamite on those lines) know their boundaries and limitations, and that's what makes them great.

The acting by Luke and Owen Wilson and Robert Musgrave isn't terrible and is actually pretty good. The cinematography is beautiful, even in B&W. Wes Anderson does one of the best jobs at making any film of his look colorful, even if there is no color.

I suggest this film to anyone interested in filmmaking or the history of movies. After all, one of our greatest movie directors came from this one short film.
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7/10
The short that launched Wes Anderson
runamokprods19 September 2016
This 20 minute short served as the trailer for and basis of "Bottle Rocket" the feature, which in turn launched Wes Anderson's long career as one of our most critically admired directors.

I remember how talked about the short was in film circles, and how it inspired Polly Platt (long time James Brooks partner) to get behind Anderson and champion his getting a shot at doing a feature version. There were many envious young film-makers and film students out there!

While the short is rough, it already has the odd, intelligent wit and strong comic acting along with the surprisingly complex characters that marks all Anderson's work. Visually it's nothing special, lacking the specific and idiosyncratic film language Anderson would make his own in films to come, but it tells it's enjoyable shaggy dog story just fine.

Luke and Owen Wilson are both very good, and amazingly young.

The short is available as an extra on the Criterion release of 'Bottle Rocket' and is well worth seeing - both as a piece of modern film history, and as an entertaining film in it's own right.
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4/10
Only worth a watch for fans
Warning: Spoilers
The Texan trio Wes Anderson, Owen Wilson and Luke Wilson were all in their twenties when they decided to shoot this short film. None of them had credits before in the film industry and here they go. For Anderson it was the first directorial effort and screen writing work. For the older Wilson brother it was the first screenplay and acting performance and Luke Wilson has never acted before either.

Basically it's a 13-minute display of two buddies not too fond of obeying the law on how they spend their days. They go to a café, visit a shooting range and make a living. All while discussing random topics, meeting other people and sharing every day wisdom. I usually like black-and-white films, but this as just a very forgettable experience. I watched it mainly as I quite like some of Anderson's other work including his other short Hotel Chevalier, which is truly a thing of beauty, but I think Bottle Rocket is only worth the watch if you enjoy one of the trio in most of his other films and even then it's not a guarantee, as in my case.

Anyway, Anderson and Luke Wilson continued their fruitful work in the years after this, first by turning it into a full feature, and then by crowning their cooperation when both got nominated for a screenplay Oscar for writing The Royal Tenenbaums five years later.
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Worth seeing if you also see the 1996 version as well.
MartinHafer1 January 2013
Wes Anderson's first film was this short film which he co-wrote with Owen Wilson. It was also Owen's first film as well as his brother, Luke's, first film. Apparently the reaction to this short was positive, as only two years later a full-length version was made and all three have gone on to exceptional careers since.

The short is really not a complete film--more like a snippet to show potential investors the type film it could become. And, you have many of the story elements you'll see in the later film--as well as a meandering style which both films possess. However, due to costs, the short is only about 13 minutes long, is in black & white and uses inappropriate music (such as a cheap sax piece as well as Vince Guaraldi's song from "Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown"!). This isn't really a complaint--just an observation about the cost-cutting done to create this little film.

It's really very hard to rate this, as I mentioned it is quite incomplete. My advice is see it and then see the full-length version--otherwise you might not appreciate the short.
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7/10
Good but not great
mram1626 July 2006
Set to a jazz soundtrack, this short film set the stage for the feature film of the same name. Several scenes look almost identical to scenes from the feature, including the robbery of Anthony's mother's house, the firearm purchase and the planning of the bookstore robbery. There seems to be a bit more cursing present in the short than in the feature, and it makes for a few laughs. The dialogue contains the usual wit expected from Wilson and Anderson, and the black and white photography looks nice. The bookstore robbery isn't shown, but explained after the fact to Bob by Anthony and Dignan; this is a drawback, it isn't as amusing as actually watching it happen. The film ends on a funny note with Anthony and Dignan betting on which one of them would win in a foot race.
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7/10
pulp fictionish
themadstork18 February 2003
I could be wrong but it seems to me that Wilson and Anderson were under the spell of Tarantino when they wrote this one; this is especially true of the dialogue, which is chock full of clever pop culture references and seems just a little too self-satisfied. This isn't at all true of the finished Bottle Rocket; rather than trying to be Pulp Fiction it shows us a bunch of likable ne'er do wells who've watched stuff like Pulp Fiction a few too many times. The short is interesting and it shows off Anderson's talent, but the just how good Anderson and Wilson are is only hinted at here. If you love Bottle Rocket and Rushmore as much as I do and you get a chance to see this you should, but if you can't you're not missing anything too great.
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8/10
Loved the 'short' at the USA Film Festival
Dan-1445 June 2000
I saw this short film at the USA Film Festival in Dallas before it was picked up by the studios and made into a feature. Bottle Rocket was a festival hit and much quirkier than the feature. It was clear than the principal (Wes, Luke and Owen) would go on to fame and fortune.
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Enjoyable, If Flawed, Short
Kelv-129 August 2002
I'm a big fan of the Wes Anderson/Owen Wilson team. I saw

Rushmore only a few months ago for the first time, after hearing

about it for years, and loved it. Only two nights ago, I rented 'The

Royal Tenenbaums' from Blockbuster and thought it was really

good. Yet, I still haven't seen the full length 'Bottle Rocket'. I've only

seen this short that inspired it soon after i first saw 'Rushmore'.

This a very original and enjoyable short, although the pop culture

talk at the start seems somewhat dated since we've now seen it in

everything from Kevin Smith's 'Clerks' (Not to mention all his other

films) to Quentin Tarantino's 'Pulp Fiction'. The short does contain

a nice share of laughs, mostly involving Dignan, although I can

never really figure out why it got picked to be made into a feature.

Don't get me wrong, I love Wes Anderson and I thought this short

was really good but I know if I saw it, the first thought on my mind

wouldn't be to make it into a feature. I still haven't saw the feature,

although I've read a few select parts of the script and it looks funny.

I think the acting in this short was rather bad but I guess it just

adds to the charm of a 13 minute black and white short, doesn't it?

All in all, it's a short that doesn't have a lot of replay value but is

watchable the first time and good none the less.
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Strange, original, brilliant, very very funny.
karnow22 July 1999
This film is strange, original, brilliant and very very funny.

People either get it or they don't. There's no middle ground.

Those who don't are bored and utterly mystified. Those who do

tend to worship the film with evangelical fervor. I'm in the

latter category. It's one of my favorite films. Rich and

textured, Bottle Rocket is literary in it's subtlety and nuance.

Unlike most multiplex fare, it stays with you long after the end

credits and reveals new facets and details with successive

viewings. I recommend seeing it. You may find yourself a

convert.
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Repeal of previous comment
RyeOfTheDead15 November 2004
I wrote a rather nasty review of Bottle Rocket when I first saw the movie, and posted it here accidentally under the listing for the short film. I don't know how to delete comments or if I even can so I am adding this as an appendix to what I wrote before. I regret having made such a nasty judgment on a movie that I just didn't "get" at the time. While it still remains my least favorite Wes Anderson movie, It's not nearly as bad as I made it out to be, and everyone should at least see it.

My apologies especially to Wes and Owen, if you guys find these entry, even though you don't know me, know that I feel ashamed of myself for having made that comment before. You guys made an excellent movie with minimal budget, better than some dumb kid who wasn't even a serious student of film at the time could even understand it to be.

Sorry again.
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7/10
Clever, different, but not a 8.9!
Rumples27 May 1999
This is a witty movie, certainly cute, clever, and appealing, if somewhat slow. The number of votes that it has (or hasn't) attracted has allowed some serious skewing of the rating scores. Maybe it was because the cast are the only ones voting? Nevertheless, a fairly amusing tale and well crafted for the backyard effort that it was. But not for everyone - my wife gave up on it. My vote 7/10
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Worst movie I've ever seen!
RyeOfTheDead21 October 2000
I rented this movie based on comments on this page and thought it was absolutley god-awful and terrible. Yes the dialogue is littered with lots of subtle jokes. I got most of them, but they weren't that funny. The plot is dry and at many times I considered turning it off. The only thing that kept me from doing so was the paralyzing pain that this horrid movie caused me, so I could not lift the remote.

If you desire to see this movie, I recommend laying down in front of a truck as a substitute.
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7/10
Wes Anderson, Quentin Tarantino-style!
Boba_Fett113816 December 2006
Guess I never realized it but Wes Anderson biggest inspiration as a film-maker probably always has been Quentin Tarantino. It shows best in this 13 minutes early short from the director of movies such as "Rushmore", "The Royal Tenenbaums" and "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou".

The movie is really made in Tarantino-style, so with long dialogs about nothing, sympathetic crook-like simple characters and a criminal plot.

The acting and dialog is really what makes this movie, since the plot itself is actually rather thin and almost non-existing. The Wilson brothers were great and to be honest I've never seen them better in anything else.

The movie is rather well made with some simple standard but well thought out camera positions and editing. It makes the directing also one of the highlights of the movie.

But the movie remains just a 13 minutes short which is too short to ever let the movie reach a level of true greatness. It's not long enough to develop the story or any of it characters and therefor the movie mostly remains a flat and distant one, although it definitely is a well made one. It's hard to rate a thing like this, since it obviously shows that the talent is there but it it doesn't fully express in this movie.

7/10

http://bobafett1138.blogspot.com/
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10/10
My favourite Owen movie by far!
DJAkin4 February 2002
When I was going to highschool with Owen, I alwasy knew he'd make a movie. What I didn't know is that it would be SO GOOD! This is the first Owen movie I ever saw. It has all the elements of a well crafted film. Owen knew what he was doing when he wrote this movie. His acting was top notch and the interaction between him and his friends make me think of the way I relate to my friends. Owen takes the viewers in and doesn't let them out until he says so. The scenes were filmed in Texas (Owen's native state) and it is so interesting to see the way he pays homage to Texas in not one, but many scenes. If you liked Owen in his blockbuster movies, you owe it to yourself to see him in bottle rocket. The movie that "launched" his career as our generations James Stewart.
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