VERSUS THE SCARECROW EPISODE 5: DIRECTORIAL DEBUTS: 1ST CLASS. I decided to challenge myself and really open the doors of my film knowledge and take on “The Scarecrow Video Movie Guide”. It’s 808 pages of movies and movie reviews from some of the most knowledgeable movie people you don’t know. It’s a book put together by a staff that praises, and destroys, some of our favorites and not so favorites. You can read the rest of my series here.
Just a quick refresher: each episode, I’m going to tackle three films from three different categories. Two films will be films I’ve never seen before and one will be one I’ve seen before or own. For the new films, well, new to me, I’m going to review them like a typical FTS review using the TOAST Rating system. But, for the films I’ve seen, I’m going give a quick paragraph or two about why I like or don’t like the film. We’ll try to include the poster and trailer for each film. “….and here. We. Go!”
Today I’ll be looking at the debut films of some of my favorite directors. Wes Anderson’s Bottle Rocket, Scorsese’s Who’s That Kicking At My Door, and I reflect back on Jean-Luc Godard’s debut film and the catalyst for the French New Wave in cinema; Breathless.
Bottle Rocket (1996) Directed by Wes Anderson. Starring: Luke Wilson, Owen Wilson and Ned Dowd. IMDB says: ”Focusing on a trio of friends and their elaborate plan to pull off a simple robbery and go on the run.”
As a film blogger we all have dirty little secrets about what movies we have and haven’t seen. Most often, we omit or change the topic when a film comes up that many have seen and assume that you’ve seen. One of these films for me is Bottle Rocket. As massive as a Wes Anderson fan I am, the only film of his I have not seen of his was Bottle Rocket. What better way to resolve that then by delving into it for this episode and I must say I wasn’t disappointed.
The film starts with Dignan (played marvelously by a scene stealing Owen Wilson) breaking Anthony (Luke Wilson) out of a voluntary hospital. It’s that quirk that attaches itself to the movie and never leaves. Whether they’re robbing someones home, stealing a car, falling in love with a housekeeper (she has a name. It’s Inez) or recruiting a new member to their team, its all done with the now signature Wes Anderson style. What is missing, but not necessarily disappointing, is usual visual flare we see from Anderson. As the years have passed Anderson has become a real auteur picking very specific songs and very specific color schemes and patterns when it comes to design. This film doesn’t have that. The scenery is all very flat and sometimes basic that makes the characters stand out when they wear their bright yellow jumpsuits. The music, as sparse as it is, sounds like it was dusted off when they found it in the bottom of a crate at the record store, but is welcome in this misadventure of a caper gone awry. The dialog, as with all Anderson films, is where this excels. Superbly witty and remarkably humorous, the screenplay is fantastic and is give its due and proper with such an outstanding cast that includes Owen Wilson, Luke Wilson, Robert Musgrave, Kumar Pallana, and James Caan. I don’t know what took me so long to sit down and watch this movie but I’m disappointed that I didn’t do it sooner. Find this through whatever outlet you prefer and watch it!!
Check back tomorrow for my review of Who’s That Kicking At My Door and then again on Wednesday for the conclusion of episode five with my review of Jean-Luc Godard’s film Breathless. And if you’re interested in more, you can find the rest of the Versus The Scarecrow series here.