Pop & Rock

The Original Bottle Rocket


To celebrate the Criterion Collection Deluxe DVD of quirky director Wes Anderson's first feature Bottle Rocket, Fantasy recently released a digital-only version of the soundtrack to the original short film.

Anderson's films are known for their playful, nonconforming soundtracks. From the punk and alt rock laced songs in The Royal Tenenbaums to Seu Jorge's Portuguese covers of David Bowie hits in The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou, Anderson and music supervisor Randall Poster seem to delight in picking songs that eschew the common, giving a sense of otherworldliness to the films.

The feature-length version of Bottle Rocket prominently features music by Devo co-founder Mark Mothersbaugh, who has composed music for such diverse projects as Nick And Norah's Infinite Playlist and HBO's Big Love. The short, however, uses classic jazz to great effect.

Songs by artists such as Duke Ellington with John Coltrane, the Zoot Sims Quartet and Sonny Rollins give the story of three wannabe criminals pulling their first few heists an air of wistfulness, like a pleasant Sunday drive, highlighting the naïveté of the characters. The funniest such moment comes during a scene in which the trio test handguns for use in a robbery. The blithe melody of the Vince Guaraldi Trio's "Skating," from the famous Peanuts cartoons, plays as they fire at handmade targets.

The grainy black and white short stars Owen and Luke Wilson and caught the attention of James L. Brooks, who executive produced the feature-length version. Anderson said while making the short, he was listening to a lot of jazz and was fascinated by French new wave films that used American jazz.

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