It was during a playwriting seminar at the University of Texas at Austin where Wes Anderson first met Owen Wilson. In 1992, Owen brought along his brother Luke and the three created a 16mm short film called Bottle Rocket. The short, which can be viewed online (in very poor quality), caught the attention of one James L. Brooks. The producer loved Bottle Rocket so much he helped bring the project to Columbia Pictures, where it was then expanded into a feature film. Luckily for us, though unknown actors at the time, Owen and Luke Wilson were able to remain in the lead roles.
For those of you who have never seen nor heard of the film, pic tells the story of Dignan (Owen) and Anthony (Luke), two bumbling wannabe thieves determined to take their newfound career to the next level. Anderson has said the original script (which he co-wrote with Owen Wilson) was 275-pages long. Seeing as how Bottle Rocket is all about the dialogue between characters, I can see how that may have happened.
Why is this is a guilty pleasure? Well, it's weird, but most people I come across don't like Bottle Rocket. In fact, they hate it ... and I'm not sure why. Also, being Wes Anderson's first film, Rocket usually falls into the category of annoying younger brother to Anderson's second film, Rushmore. However, I love Bottle Rocket, so much I would place it among my top 15 of all time. Crazy, right? The cocky, moronic Dignan is, by far, Owen Wilson's greatest role. While its dry comedy may not be for everyone, Bottle Rocket is definitely a fun film to watch, if only to see how Anderson and the Wilson boys got their start.
Note: Those of you in and around New York City can check out a free outdoor screening of Bottle Rocket this August 1 at the McCarren Park Pool in Brooklyn.