Tag Archives: Mark Mothersbaugh

Bottle Rocket (1996, Wes Anderson)

Bottle Rocket is such a masterpiece of narrative design, it eschews drawing any attention to that design. Somehow Anderson and Owen Wilson manage to tell a satisfactory long short film and affix an additional thirty minute postscript to the whole thing.

It’s like a movie and a sequel all in ninety minutes. Or maybe they’re just setting up the train set for the first hour and loosing the trains for the last thirty minutes. It’s hard to say–Anderson employs obvious but unspoken connections and complexities. Even though the film is never simple, he refuses to make anything obtuse. The viewer just has to pay attention.

Like a metaphor for protagonist Luke Wilson’s romance with Lumi Cavazos. He’s ostensibly on the run from a book store hold-up and she’s a housekeeper at the motel where he hides out. Cavazos doesn’t speak English, Luke Wilson doesn’t speak Spanish. The script never goes for easy jokes; their romance is the calm. Even though it involves crime and occasional violence, Bottle Rocket isn’t dangerous. But through the performances and script’s delicate, deliberate treatment of the romance, the importance of a calming factor for Luke Wilson’s peculiarly troubled soul becomes clear.

Offsetting that Wilson is Owen Wilson as his frantic best friend. He gets all the fun stuff, only his performance can’t be easy. Bottle Rocket wouldn’t work if it were too fun or too silly. It’s absurd, but every moment’s real.

Great support from Robert Musgrave, awesome editing from David Moritz.

Bottle Rocket’s magnificent.

4/4★★★★

CREDITS

Directed by Wes Anderson; written by Owen Wilson and Anderson; director of photography, Robert D. Yeoman; edited by David Moritz; music by Mark Mothersbaugh; production designer, David Wasco; produced by Polly Platt and Cynthia Hargrave; released by Columbia Pictures.

Starring Luke Wilson (Anthony Adams), Owen Wilson (Dignan), Robert Musgrave (Bob Mapplethorpe), Andrew Wilson (Future Man), Lumi Cavazos (Inez), Shea Fowler (Grace), Donny Caicedo (Rocky), Jim Ponds (Applejack) and James Caan (Abe Henry).


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The Radiator Springs 500½ (2014, Rob Gibbs and Scott Morse)

There's some charm to The Radiator Springs 500½, but nowhere near enough. There are hints of good ideas–like a Western showdown motif at the beginning–and some of the failed gags should have worked–a car who comes along to do the cymbals after a pun. Oh, right, it's a Cars spin-off cartoon short. Forget to mention that part.

Anyway, there's nothing cohesive about it. Half the short is the good car (voiced by Owen Wilson, who must have been busy because he has almost no lines) racing against these bad cars who have no respect for the town. Then the town cars are on this idyllic anniversary drive.

There's an effective junk yard sequence towards the end, but otherwise it's tepid and without any excitement. Springs's greatest stylistic influence appears to be video game cut scenes. Whoop-de-doo.

It might get points for being harmless, but why give points for being harmless?

1/3Not Recommended

CREDITS

Directed by Rob Gibbs and Scott Morse; written by John Lasseter, Jeremy Lasky and Gibbs; edited by Torbin Xan Bullock; music by Mark Mothersbaugh; production designer, Anthony Christov; produced by Mary Alice Drumm; released by Walt Disney Pictures.

Starring Owen Wilson (Lightning McQueen), Larry the Cable Guy (Mater), Steve Purcell (Sandy Dunes), John Cygan (Idle Threat), Jess Harnell (Blue Grit), Bonnie Hunt (Sally Carrera), Cheech Marin (Ramone) and Danny Mann (Shifty Sidewinder).


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Happiness Is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown (2011, Andrew Beall and Frank Molieri)

Happiness Is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown is probably the first Peanuts film I’ve seen in twenty years. In those twenty years, the Complete Peanuts newspaper strips have started coming out (the film has a scene of the first Peanuts strip, which is nice) and the voice cast has changed.

Unfortunately, the new voice cast isn’t very good. Grace Rolek is an awful Lucy and Trenton Rogers is a mostly weak Charlie Brown.

Overall, Warm Blanket suffers from its thin plot (about Linus losing his blanket). Mixed in—making it insufferably long—are various, unrelated single strip adaptations.

Mark Mothersbaugh’s music is lovely though and Austin Lux is fine as Linus.

It’s okay for a bit (it’s nicely retro), but forty-five minutes is way too long. Beall and Molieri seem to acknowledge the franchise is both for kids and long-time fans, but don’t know how to serve both.

1/3Not Recommended

CREDITS

Directed by Andrew Beall and Frank Molieri; screenplay by Stephan Pastis and Craig Schulz, based on the comic strip created by Charles M. Schulz; animated by Darlie Brewster; edited by Mike Mangan; music by Mark Mothersbaugh; produced by Margaret M. Dean; released by Warner Premiere.

Starring Austin Lux (Linus), Amanda Pace (Sally), Trenton Rogers (Charlie Brown), Grace Rolek (Lucy), Shane Baumel (Pig Pen), Blesst Bowden (Violet), Ciara Bravo (Patty), Andy Pessoa (Shermy), Trenton Rogers (Schroeder) and Andrew Beall (Snoopy).


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