Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Anderson Files - Coda (For Now)

Jamie Rich has put up a well-written analysis of Bottle Rocket, the first feature film by Wes Anderson, over at Criterion Confessions. Funnily enough, I just watched this again a few days ago myself -- it'd been several years since the last time -- and my response was pretty much the same: It's a likable piffle of a debut, with ingratiatingly easygoing banter between the Wilson bro's (Luke and Owen, though not playing siblings in the movie); a brief, iconic supporting turn from James Caan; typically dense depictions of minorities (Luke's love interest, a Hispanic maid played by Lumi Cavazos, is given zero personality but plenty of salsa music to herald her appearances); and a kick-ass soundtrack. Bottle Rocket came out in '96, when Tarantino Fever was reaching its zenith, and so its plot involving wannabe criminals was given idiotically pointless labels like "Reservoir Geeks!" by critics, only to be later overcompensated by Martin Scorsese declaring it one of the best films of the decade. (C'mon, Marty.) The crime elements in Bottle Rocket, while mostly fun, are secondary to its friendly vibe and, at its best, melancholy regard for the end of its characters' youth.

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