Matt Zoller Seitz, film critic for the NY Press, and a favorite film writer of mine for our shared love of Terrence Malick films, wrote a truly wonderful piece on his blog about this incident, depression, and how he thinks these "Tears of a Clown" articles are b.s. http://mattzollerseitz.blogspot.com/2007/08/sunbeam-in-abyss_28.html
He grew up in the same area as Wes and Owen, is the same age, and has known them professionally since the Bottle Rocket short. He wrote a wonderful, long article for the Dallas Observer in 1995 about them turning it into a movie: http://www.dallasobserver.com/1995-09-07/news/slouching-toward-hollywood/full
I've seen Bottle Rocket over 100 times, I've been a member of this board since it's first few months, and despite everything he's come to be to the world of entertainment consumers, I still just think about Owen as Dignan, someone full of idealism and drive, still childlike. Not naive, but in the words of Anthony, in his letter to Grace, "he's not a cynic, and he's not a quitter." It's that lack of cynicism, the current Hollywood mainstay, that I love about Dignan. At the same time, he is obviously wounded and vulnerable, capable of hurting someone. Anthony supposedly suffered from "exhaustion," but Dignan suffered from loneliness. I think of the scene right before he lashes out at Anthony with the screwdriver, while he's lying on his back in the grass. "What did you think your old pal Dignan was doing, while you were out in the desert, getting a tan with a bunch of beautiful girls? No, in end, I guess it's easier to think about yourself than to think about Dignan."
In watching Bottle Rocket, it's become sadder with each viewing. Dignan needs a team to support him, whether it's the Lawn Wranglers or the inmates at the end of the film. I don't know how similar Dignan was or is to Owen, but I hope Owen has a good team with him now, and I hope he doesn't lose that lack of cynicism. I hope he still wants to know what causes thunder.