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Here's James Caan's Insulting (Yet Insightful) Take On Wes Anderson's 'Bottle Rocket'

Director Wes Anderson - who turns 48 today - is famous for creating complex fictional worlds by adding painstaking details to movies like 'The Grand Budapest Hotel' (2014). But he wasn't always so meticulous. In fact, Anderson once needed actor James Caan's help to understand the meaning of his debut movie - Bottle Rocket (1996).

Caan co-starred alongside brothers Owen, Luke and Andrew Wilson as the ruthless crook Mr. Henry. But he had trouble getting into character at first because he wasn't quite sure what the movie meant.

"James Caan was in our movie, and one day he came up to me on the set and he asked me what the title meant," Anderson recalled while accepting the 1996 MTV Movie Award for Best New Filmmaker. "And I told him we didn't really know. We just thought it sounded cool. And he seemed offended by that. He turned and walked off, and I could see him kinda brooding on the other side of the room."

Anderson later apologized to Caan, who surprised the young director by offering an interpretation of the title - and a backhanded compliment. 

"So I went over and said, 'Sorry I let you down on the title thing,' And he said, 'Forget about it. I've figured it out. You wanna know what it means? This movie's about these guys who aim low, but they accomplish their goals. And bottle rockets are these fireworks that only go so high and just make a little pop. But that's all they're supposed to do...It's like you guys," he added, meaning Anderson and Owen Wilson - the movie's co-writers.

"I didn't know if that was supposed to be an insult of a compliment," Anderson added. "But I kinda liked it."

Check out the full speech from the up-and-coming Anderson, who is barely recognizable with short hair. In fact, he looks more like the late Harold Ramis circa 'Ghostbusters' (1984). 

See what we mean?


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