Film and TV

Just Four More Days Till Criterion Collection Shoots Off That Bottle Rocket

So, yeah, right -- anxiously awaiting Tuesday, when Criterion Collection finally makes available that fully loaded Bottle Rocket two-fer that's long overdue. While we're waiting for the package, let's spend a couple of moments with the man who designed the package: artist Ian Dingman, responsible for the cover you see at right and some 30-40 other pieces of Wes Anderson-approved artwork scattered throughout the accompanying booklet and the disc's menu pages.

Says Dingman, whose work appears in The New York Times and can be purchased here at the nice price, while growing up in northwestern Illinois he actually had a Bottle Rocket poster hanging in his bedroom. "It was almost my introduction to independent film," he tells Unfair Park. "I'm 29, so I was 17 when it came out, and I just liked the quirkiness of it, the subtle humor. And it was so different from the kind of stuff I'd see in theaters, the more mainstream stuff, and I liked the pace and the character development, and I thought it was so well-written."

Dingman, who lives in Chicago, got the gig after Criterion contacted his New York-based agent -- simple as that. He was stunned at the invite, figuring Anderson's brother Eric, who does most of the artwork for Wes's movies, would get the job. After the jump: What Dingman did for Bottle Rocket's DVD ... and what he had to leave out. And: a favorite scene from Bottle Rocket.

Dingman says several of the disc's menu pages feature key sets in the film, all of which he illustrated. Among his favorites: Hinckley Cold Storage on Commerce Street and the long-gone Taylor's book store in the NorthPark Center parking lot.

"The Hinckley Cold Storage was my favorite one," he says. "It turned out nice, and it's very iconic since that's where the end of the movie takes place. But from the beginning of the film, where they rob the old bookstore, we did another menu from that -- and I did the drawing based on an actual layout of the store. To locals, it'll be really interesting."

Alas, there are several pieces he did that Anderson didn't use, among them a portrait of Bob Musgrave and Andrew Wilson posed, of course, as brothers. "They're at the country club," Dingman says. "And I still have it." Alas, don't bother asking if you can buy from him any of the Bottle Rocket artwork: It all belongs to Criterion and Columbia. (And Anderson, no doubt.) Nonetheless, you'll own plenty of Dingman's work come Tuesday -- unless you're waiting for the Blu-ray version, which has been delayed slightly due to technical glitches.

Till then, then, a favorite scene from the movie -- though anything with Musgrave's all right by me. Word is some of Bob's legendary deleted scenes are on the Criterion DVD, though not all -- wonder if the singing bit featured in the original trailer made the cut. Sure as hell hope so. --Robert Wilonsky

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky