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Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride: Hunter S. Thompson on Film (2006)

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A documentary on the life and death of Hunter S. Thompson.



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Title: Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride: Hunter S. Thompson on Film (2006)

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Credited cast:
Ed Bradley ...
Bob Braudis ...
William F. Buckley ...
F.X. Feeney ...
Laila Nabulsi ...


"Buy The Ticket, Take The Ride: Hunter S. Thompson On Film is a personal, intimate look at Thompson with a special emphasis on his Hollywood relationships. It captures the legacy and "gonzo" spirit of one of this century's most notorious figures - a man whose life and work regularly intersected with some of the biggest names in the world of film, politics, journalism and sports. The documentary features interviews with Hunter's inner circle of family and friends, but the thrust of the film is focused on the manner in which his life often overlapped with numerous Hollywood celebrities who became his close friends, such as Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas); Bill Murray (Where the Buffalo Roam); Sean Penn, John Cusack, Hunter's wife Anita, son Juan, former Senators George McGovern and Gary Hart, Tom Wolfe, William F. Buckley, Gary Busey, Harry Dean Stanton, Ralph Steadman and others. Written by Steve Belgard

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12 December 2006 (USA)  »

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Beware Hunter Fans!
5 September 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Boy, I sure wish I had someone around who had told me not to waste money on this one! Oy!

BUY THE TICKET, TAKE THE RIDE is an almost shameful re-hashing of four or five films already made about the epic bard Hunter S. Thompson.

If you're a true HST fan, you have already seen (and probably own) the main ingredients for this "original" documentary: WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAM (sub-par at best itself, less Bill Murray's fantastic portrayal of our hero), FEAR & LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS, BREAKFAST WITH HUNTER, and--perhaps the greatest film about HST ever made--FEAR & LOATHING IN GONZOVISION, an absolutely spectacular short documentary made by the BBC in the late 1970's (you will find this on your Criterion edition of F&L... seriously worth the purchase for the documentary alone).

Literally half the movie's footage comes from the F&L IN GONZOVISION doc (an episode of OMNIBUS, actually), and about another third or more comes straight from those other three sources. Frankly, if you have all these films, you could probably have made this shoddy doc yourself.

Yes, there are certainly some interesting suppositions made by a lot of BIG TIME (!!!!!!!!) celebrities, but they all say very little that hasn't been said before, and it really begins to get repetitious. This is especially true when they begin to go on and on and on and on (and on) about the terrific performances of Bill Murray and Col. Depp. Yes, they both did a grand job of portraying the Good Doctor, but--goodness!--need we see Ed Bradley, Leonard Maltin, and William F. Buckley go on ad nauseum about it for so long in a documentary about the guy they were trying to emulate on film? The part about Depp in particular goes on far too long; you have about fifteen people talking about how amazing Depp was in FEAR & LOATHING. Yeah, he sure was, but do we need to hear about it for twenty minutes? Depp, Depp, Depp. What about Hunter?

And this is the true fault of the film.

You should really read that strange, almost incongruous subheadline of the the film (buy the ticket, take the ride: HUNTER S. THOMPSON ON FILM) and take it more literally, for that's really what the movie turns into: an analysis of the films in which he's appeared or been portrayed. Heck, the whole film starts out with Gary Busey talking to the director about how to shoot his scene. Once again, a good idea and starts off funny, but then gets old REAL fast, and we start wondering right away: what the hell does this have to do with Hunter S. Thompson. (And sorry, "Gonzo" journalism it ain't.)

I was stunned to also hear and see them laud the terrible, disastrous decision of casting Peter Boyle in the part of Oscar (or "Carl") in BUFFALO. Boyle's a great actor, sure... but we all know he was one of the main downfalls of that film (not to mention the cinematography and "music" that was chosen; Neil Young's score was good, but those music choices: oy! Right out of an 80's after-school-special!).

Overall, BUY THE TICKET, TAKE THE RIDE is more of a paean to all the people who ever made the films about Hunter than it is about Hunter himself. And this wouldn't have been so bad, less the fact that most of the movie comes from stuff we've all already seen.

For craftsmanship, this one also loses out. It looks awful, is edited poorly, and has no real pace or rhythm whatsoever. Although, I do have to admit that THIS time, I liked the music...

No wonder this never came out to the theaters and had to be made as a Starz! Original Picture. (Are you KIDDING?!)

I f you've never seen or read anything about Hunter before, you might dig on this thing. As for the rest of us, we'll be praying that they don't fcuk up RUM DIARY.

13 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Release Date? pdhyman
Stick to the 'Breakfast with Hunter' dop-16
Quote from the movie which i guess inspired this title kdubi
Can't wait nkickflip69
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help with a quote from the movie! twistergizmo

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