Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Bomb Rating: 

Rarely, if ever, are drug stories interesting to anybody other than the people to whom they happen.

Everyone has had this same experience: You're at a party and someasshole comes over to you and starts up a conversation with the clever introduction: "Dude, let me tell you about the time I took six hits of acid and accidentally got a golf club shaft jammed up my rectum." Unfortunately, this time there's not much of a party, there's an $8 cover, and the asshole is Terry ("12 Monkeys") Gilliam.

Rarely, if ever, are drug stories interesting to anybody other than the people to whom they happen. That's why somebody should have had the common sense to know an adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson's book was never going to work. In this case, they even had some foreshadowing: Alex ("Repo Man") Cox was the original director and part of the original screenwriting team until he was replaced by Gilliam for apparently "alienating everybody associated with the movie."

I'd say it's a lot more likely that everybody saw a movie going down the toilet started pointing fingers. If you're unfamiliar with the book, it consists mainly of Hunter (Johnny Depp) and his lawyer (Benicio Del Toro) running around Vegas on acid, mescaline, ether and a trunkload of other drugs. Hunter is there to cover a motorcycle race and later, a D.A.'s convention, but mostly it's a story about pushing the human body to its psychedelic limits.

Short of running around Aspen in his underwear shooting at things, Depp does everything humanly possible to make you believe he is Hunter S. Thompson. This should have prompted somebody to sit him down and say, "You know, Johnny, you do a great Hunter Thompson, but frankly, I can't understand a God damn word you're saying." This is a movie marked by slurred speech and lots of people in the audience turning to each other and asking, "What did he say?" If Gilliam wanted to emulate Thompson's idiocy, he should have just gone on a 40-year drunk, and not dragged the rest of us into this incomprehensible film.

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