The arrival of Wes Anderson's latest film “Moonrise Kingdom” is a prime opportunity for dinner and a movie.
Anderson is a unique American auteur, deriving films from a universe born in his expansive and well-defined imagination. Where director Tim Burton teased us in the late 1980s with a visual style hinting at something new, he never delivered a fully realized world. Anderson popped on the scene in 1996 with “Bottle Rocket,” adapted from a short film and introducing viewers to a world where truth is replaced by irony, fantasy worlds are the dreams people follow and the American dream as sold on television should've come with a warranty.
Anderson followed this promising picture with “Rushmore” and “The Royal Tenebaums,” which filled in Anderson's mosaic with greater vibrancy. “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou” and “The Darjeeling Express” filled in smaller corners of the world. But the stop-motion masterpiece “The Fantastic Mr. Fox” gave us a whole new view of Anderson's world.
I watch “Bottle Rocket” at least once every year or two. Others in Anderson's arsenal are superior pictures, but “Bottle Rocket” is the first glimpse into this world that's always been compelling whether the narrative entries into it stand up or not.
It stars Owen Wilson, who was Anderson's college roommate and co-writer, plus his brother, Luke Wilson, as Anthony, Robert Musgrave as Bob, James Caan as Mr. Henry — plus an appearance by the oldest Wilson brother, Andrew, as Futureman.
“Bottle Rocket” is the feather-light tale of fractured friends with big dreams for achieving small things.
The film is about those who should've already come of age.
Anthony Dignan and Bob appear to have all grown up in homes of financial means.
They should've been spectacular Roman candles pop-pop-popping in the sky for all to see, but alas they're only loud, snappy bottle rockets that echo for a few blocks and disappear.
Dignan is the ultimate dreamer, creating a 75-year plan in a spiral notebook, which includes such high-minded endeavors as “meet people from foreign country.”
Anthony is the affable tagalong, recently “sprung” from the “nuthouse,” who serves as the moral compass.
The 26-year-old Bob still lives in his parents' Frank Lloyd Wright home in downtown Dallas.
It is a museum dedicated to the decay of his parents' dreams, including Bob's middle-age Mercedes, Futureman's outdated Ford Bronco and brotherly enmity between Bob and Futureman — which is either the cause or result of their parents perpetual vacation.