Flix for Short: Bottle Rocket (1992)

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[At the end of this week Wes Anderson will release Moonrise Kingdom. That means all this week we’ll be celebrating by diving into his past films with a slew of features on the distinctive director and his films. Head here to see all our coverage during this week of Wes Anderson.]

Before it became Wes Anderson’s debut feature film, Bottle Rocket started out as a short. Shot in 1992, it was released in 1994 and played at the Sundance Film Festival. At best, there are just slight indications of what would become the Wes Anderson style (and those are very slight). Note the lack of vintage aesthetic, color play, and meticulously clean diorama-like compositions. Even the font at the end is off (i.e., it’s not Futura).

It’s as if Anderson is feeling his way through the indie filmmaking vibe of the 1990s. The resulting film feels more like an early Richard Linklater movie than a Wes Anderson movie — from the world of Slacker via Reservoir Dogs instead of the world of J.D. Salinger via Jacques Tati. It’s still notable, though, and serves as a major contrast to the filmmaker Anderson would evolve into.

After the cut, the second half of Bottle Rocket ’92.

Hubert Vigilla
Brooklyn-based fiction writer, film critic, and long-time editor and contributor for Flixist. A booster of all things passionate and idiosyncratic.