He had everything and wanted nothing. He learned that he had nothing and wanted everything. He saved the world and then it shattered. The path to enlightenment is as sharp and narrow as a razor's edge.
Broad satire and buffoonery presented as a series of movie trailers. Among the titles and subjects are: "The Howard Huge Story", "Skate-boarders from Hell", "The Invasion of the Penis ... See full summary »
Royce D. Applegate,
The deranged adventures of Gonzo journalist Hunter Thompson and his attorney Oscar Acosta, referred to in the movie as "Laslow". Thompson attempts to cover the Super Bowl and the 1972 Presidential election in his typical drug-crazed state, but is continually and comically sidetracked by his even more twisted friend Laslow. Allegedly based on actual events. Written by
John Rumpelein <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To get into character, Bill Murray spent time with Hunter S. Thompson by drinking, shooting and generally having a great time at Thompson's Colorado ranch. After filming ended, Murray continued to act "Gonzo" through the beginning of the next season of Saturday Night Live (1975), to the annoyance and consternation of cast and crew members. See more »
The plane of journalists following the 1972 campaign sports an Evergreen International label. Evergreen International Airlines was a cargo airline formed in November 1975. See more »
[Thompson is speaking to a crowd of college students]
I was just wondering if you could tell me, um, if you thought drugs and alcohol would make me a better writer.
Dr. Hunter S. Thompson:
That's a good question. Let me see...
[the audience cheers as Thompson lights a joint. A few people throw joints onto the stage]
Dr. Hunter S. Thompson:
In my case, you know, I hate to advocate drugs or liquor, violence, insanity to anyone. But in my case it's worked.
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Whether you like this film or not will depend heavily on how big of a Hunter S. Thompson fan you are.
On the plus side, this film is wickedly funny. Bill Murray (an actor who has been both great and terrible in his career) does a phenomenal job as the acid-drenched reporter, bringing chaos into the lives of the rigid and pretentious. The plot is peppered with "respectable" places being dragged into mayhem, and "respectable" folks trying (unsuccessfully) to cope behind plastic smiles.
It even ventures into some higher themes, such as innocent kids being jailed by a heartless criminal system, and Thompson's own struggles between being a practical reporter and a fun-loving idealist (notice how Lazlo repeatedly re-surfaces just when Thompson starts to take on "real" jobs).
It's biggest fault, however, was that it failed to achieve any of the higher accomplishments of HST's writings. What makes Thompson such a powerful writer (to me, anyway) is the way he'll often turn on a dime and deliver stunningly sober dialogs on the human animal and where he's gone wrong. Nestled in the midst of the wine, women, and song are soliloquies that drive home a more positive message, and none of those made it into this film (in fact, no significant chunks of actual text from HST's books appeared at all). It's like they shaved off the surface 50% of Thompson's work and discarded the rest.
Compare this to Fear and Loathing, which was darker and more counter-cultural, and contained whole narrations excerpted from the novel. The latter perhaps has less appeal to the average viewer, but I'd think more to a Thompson fan.
All-in-all, this film is a light-hearted romp into anarchy, and worth watching. But if you've never actually READ Thompson, do so, as this movie doesn't accurately represent him.
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