What movie was that...?

05 December 2009

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

directed by Terry Gilliam

I vividly remember (when I worked as an usher at a movie theater) throngs of teenage girls shelling out their hard earned babysitting money to feast their eyes on the newest Johnny Depp film. They thought they were coming to see another Benny and Joon or What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, and that, kids, is why it pays to watch the trailer. I also vividly remember nearly all of those girls demanding their money back mere minutes into the movie because the film they came to see was Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Johnny Depp “looks gross and bald and stuff” in Terry Gilliam’s frenzied, acid-coated gem. Depp channels the great gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson in the film adaptation of a book long thought to be impossible to adapt. Well, Gilliam says “boo ya” to the haters, carving up a slice of Americana in all its drug-addled, greed-filled debauchery (and remaining super faithful to Mr. T’s original work). Benicio Del Toro is no slouch himself, playing a crazed Samoan attorney self-advised to escort the journalist out to Las Vegas to cover a desert race. In the midst of a scorched earth, Thompson found the true American dream, and it is as horrifyingly relevant then as it is today. Rocking enough cameos and big name small role actors to fill a SAG banquet hall, Gilliam’s testament to a rogue American hero is as frantic as the iconoclast himself. RIP, Mr T. I hope there’s enough rum in heaven for you.

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