Criterion Year Week 45: Bottle Rocket

The Criterion Collection, the last vestige of truly collectible DVD and Blu-Ray movies in existence. These are well produced, fancy pants editions of important and interesting films for the discerning film lover.

We continue our journey through Jim's collection of movies with...

Bottle Rocket

Spine Number: 450

Director: Wes Anderson

Genre: Comedy

During the 90's independent film really exploded. Well, kind of. You see, "independent," although very specific in meaning (we go with the John Cassavetes definition which means made without studio backing) came to mean something very different. "Independent' became more of a buzzword that meant "low budget" and major studios opened "independent brands," which were just arms of the larger group that would produce lower budget films. So, instead of true "independent" movies, we got films that were produced by studios, but that could claim status as independent. The studios also pretty much saw everything as being either Quentin Tarantino (edgy, cool, neo crime dramas with funny dialogue), or Kevin Smith (slacker comedy).

Bottle Rocket was as close to actual independent as you could get, and it had the added bonus of falling between the two accepted genres. It was a slacker crime comedy, so it seemed like a slam dunk.

Oh, also, it was Wes Anderson's first movie and he hatched, pretty much fully formed as a filmmaker.


We both have a somewhat challenging history with this movie. We both have always viewed it as having great characters, fantastic dialogue, and a horrible plot. Part of the reason for that was that it was pretty much advertised as a different movie.

... and the original posters didn't really help much.



It was pushed as more of a "hip comedy heist film" than what it was. So, when both of us originally saw it, what we got was so completely out of step with what we were expecting that we felt profoundly disappointed. It was good, but it was not what was advertised.

So, we were left with some cool lines and great characters, but a movie that didn't really work for either of us.

Now, years later... well, our opinions have changed.

Now that we know what it isn't we are able to enjoy it for what it is. The whole "wanna be criminals" element is there, but it takes a backseat to a much more interesting story, the story of some guys who are trying to find some sort of place in the world. They are not so much slackers as they are young guys trying to find who they are and figure out their place. They want to be criminals, but only because it seems more interesting and exciting than any of their other choices.

If you haven't seen this yet, check it out. If you have, watch it again and join us as we discuss this incredible first feature.


Next Week:

Spine number 475: The Friends of Eddie Coyle

Also, check this out.

The Life Masters is now it's own show with its own site and own dedicated feed. That's right, we have two completely different shows!

Right now check it out at

You can also drink in our brilliance on Youtube for both The Film Thugs and The Life Masters.

Looks like Summer Movie League has officially become Fantasy Movie League.

It looks quite fun. Here's how it works.

You have an 8 screen theater.

Every week you pick movies and have a budget/salary cap you have to stay under.

Then you compete against other theaters in your league.

It's fantasy football for movie people.

Our league is Film Thugs 2015 and the password is Porterhouse.

And remember, you can be a part of the show any time you wild like. How's that? All you have to do is call or e-mail us. If you live in the US, or any place that makes calling the US easy, just dial 512-666-RANT and leave us a voicemail. We will read the Google Voice transcript and play your message. It's both funny AND informative.

If you live outside the US you can call us on Skype at The_Film_Thugs. You can leave a message, or someone might actually answer.

E-mail us at and we will read/play whatever you send us, or you can e-mail to be part of  an upcoming "Ask the Film Thugs" show, where we answer questions on any subject without having heard them first.

Also, we are on twitter @thefilmthugs and on Facebook and Vine.

Also, be sure to check back often for our new endeavor The Life Masters, where we answer questions to other advice columnists.

Thanks for listening, and until next week...

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