Bottle Rocket: Dignan's Notebook

Chris Higgins

In Wes Anderson's first movie Bottle Rocket, a young Owen Wilson plays Dignan, a wannabe criminal whose prior work experience includes lawn maintenance -- before he was fired. Early in the film, Dignan shows his 75-year plan for developing a criminal enterprise, written in a spiral-bound notebook using multiple colored pens. Among my friends, Dignan's Notebook has been a long-running gag -- the idea being that just because you make an amazingly complete plan, you're not necessarily going to achieve the goal. Although the notebook scene is very brief, and glimpses of the pages are minimal, a Bottle Rocket fan site has reconstructed as much of Dignan's plan as possible, using screen captures. Check out Dignan's Notebook for a fairly complete rendition of the plan. My favorite part is excerpted below, with Dignan's pen colors and formatting intact.

The Next Fifty G. Keep working     1. Keep developing     2. No more crime * Wives and family *Very crucial     1. Houses         a. Beach house        b. Town house        c. Ranch         d. Lake house

Many viewers aren't aware that Bottle Rocket started as a short film. I'll tell you right now, the short isn't as good as the full film, but it's interesting -- it's clearly a practice run for the real thing. The fan site has posted the short film so you can have a look at this little-seen bit of Wes Anderson history.