Office Christmas Party
Another reminder that allowing your cast to madly improvise instead of actually providing a coherent script with a scintilla of inherent logic often leads to…
Hunter S. Thompson's "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" is a funny book by a gifted writer, who seems gifted and funny no longer. He coined the term "gonzo journalism" to describe his guerrilla approach to reporting, which consisted of getting stoned out of his mind, hurling himself at a story, and recording it in frenzied hyperbole.
Thompson's early book on the Hells Angels described motorcyclists who liked to ride as close to the line as they could without losing control. At some point after writing that book, and books on Vegas and the 1972 presidential campaign, Thompson apparently crossed his own personal line. His work became increasingly incoherent and meandering, and reports from his refuge in Woody Creek, Colorado depicted a man lost in the gloom of his pleasures.
Ah, but he was funny before he flamed out. "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" is a film based on the book of the same name, a stream-of-altered-consciousness report of his trip to Vegas with his allegedly Samoan attorney. In the trunk of their car they carried an inventory of grass, mescaline, acid, cocaine, uppers, booze, and ether. That ether, it's a wicked high. Hurtling through the desert in a gas-guzzling convertible, they hallucinated attacks by giant bats, and "speaking as your attorney," the lawyer advised him on drug ingestion.
The relationship of Thompson and his attorney was the basis of "Where the Buffalo Roam," an unsuccessful 1980 movie starring Bill Murray as the writer and Peter Boyle as his attorney. Now comes "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," with Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro. The hero here is named Duke, which was his name in the original Thompson book and is also the name of the Thompson clone in the Doonesbury comic strip. The attorney is Dr. Gonzo. Both Duke and the Doctor are one-dimensional walking chemistry sets, lacking the perspective on themselves that they have in both the book and the strip.