Wes Anderson’s First Short Film: The Black-and-White, Jazz-Scored Bottle Rocket (1992)

“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

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Wes Ander­son from Above. Quentin Taran­ti­no From Below

Bill Mur­ray Intro­duces Wes Anderson’s Moon­rise King­dom (And Plays FDR)

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 Ange­lesA Los Ange­les Primer. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall.

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