“The only Wes Anderson movie I like is Bottle Rocket,” declares the character Beatnik Vampire in Dorothy Gambrell’s comic strip Cat and Girl. He does so in a bid for supremacy during a cultural “slap fight” consisting of a volley of claims like “I saw Modest Mouse in Berlin in 1999” and “Cuban food made by Mexicans is better than Italian food made by Albanians.” Even if we’ve avoided participating in such one-upsmanship sessions disguised as conversations, we’ve all witnessed them. But should you one day need your own trump card, I give you Wes Anderson’s first short film above. Watch it, and you can then credibly insist the following: “The only Wes Anderson movie I like is Bottle Rocket. No, the original.”
In the late nineties, Anderson and his collaborators found themselves in a position to make their beloved breakthrough Rushmore on the strength of its predecessor Bottle Rocket, their 1996 feature debut. But even that film, a now-appreciated but then little-seen story of three deeply amateur criminals on the run through the green open spaces of Texas starring now-famous acting brothers Owen and Luke Wilson, followed another. Four years earlier, Anderson and Owen Wilson, who’d met in a playwriting class at the University of Texas, Austin, put together the thirteen-minute short you see here. It tries out the concept of thieves in training, albeit in a very different style from the one we’ve come to regard, over twenty years later, as Andersonian. Wes, if you read this, know that I’d like to see you do something in black-and-white again. With a jazz score.
via Dangerous Minds
Colin Marshall hosts and produces Notebook on Cities and Culture and writes essays on literature, film, cities, Asia, and aesthetics. He’s at work on a book about Los Angeles, A Los Angeles Primer. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall.