April 2011

Another blog. About Portland. And other stuff too.

about | archives | twitter | flickr | potma | iphone snapshots | facebook | yelp
rss feed | youtube | links | the burning log


Questions? Comments? Reservations?
anotherportlandblog[at]gmail[dot]com

Another Portland Blog

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

 

Breakfast With Hunter

My introduction to Hunter S. Thompson came in the form of an out-of-context passage from one of his books. In it, a man was hanging half-way out of red cherry convertible on the Las Vegas strip. Being both extremely drunk and high, and covered in vomit, he suddenly decided to strike up a conversation with the people in the car across from him. "You wanna buy some heroin," he asked. His fellow motorists, off-duty cops attending a nearby convention, didn't think it was too funny.

OK, I'm not doing the thing justice so I'll stop right here. I've read plenty of so-called classics of 20th century literature and, as strange as this might sound, I think Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas deserves a spot alongside the collected works of Hemingway, Faulkner, Joyce and all the rest. In fact, I'd be willing to give it The Great Gatsby's spot. Thompson’s "death of the American dream" metaphor is far more hard-hitting and his novel doesn't consist of a bunch of dull, rich stiffs sitting around drinking gin for 300 pages. Now that I think of it, 95% of the literary cannon consists of books about dull, rich stiffs who sit around drinking gin but I digress.

When I heard that passage, I became a life-long Thompson fan. I've got a copy of Fear signed by Pat Boone (long story) and, unlike so few others, I actually bought a copy of his most recent work. Ok, time for an awkward segue: Breakfast With Hunter, a documentary about the author, is playing at the Clinton Street Theater this week.

One of Thompson's neighbor's apparently filmed the doc over a number of years. It mostly focuses on his efforts to get the ball rolling on a film production of Fear, which was finally released in 1998. The highlight of the Breakfast is a meeting between Alex Cox, his assistant and Thompson at Owl Farm, his Colorado homestead. Cox was initially attached to direct the film but later left due to "creative differences."

First off, to greet them, the author left a blow-up doll in a snow drift by the front gate. They weren't amused. Later, as the three of them sat around a kitchen table, the director started rattling off a series of odd ideas for the film. Among them was a proposal that it begin with the novel's "wave" passage. In it, a cartoon Johnny Depp would have ridden an ocean wave from Las Angeles to Vegas before crash-landing in the Circus Circus Casino. If you read the book or seen the movie, it's obvious that the idea is pretty bad. Cox's version of Fear would have incorporated animated segments like this with live action.

At one point during the discussion, the assistant suggests that Ralph Steadman's drawings were what made the book popular, not his prose. Up to this point, the author listened politely to their ideas. This is what finally sent him into a rage. Probably knowing that the author has chased others off his property with shotguns and cattle prods, the two politely excused themselves. Unsurprisingly, the were later removed from the project.

The rest of the film consists of Hunter following around Depp and Benecio del Toro on the set. Depp seems perpetually in awe of the author whereas del Toro seems genuinely afraid of him. With the exception of the confrontation with Cox, Breakfast feels like a slapped together series of home movies. Is it worth tracking down? No, not really. If it's information on the making of the film that you're looking for, the Criterion DVD release is the way to go.

Comments: Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]



Links to this post:

Create a Link



<< Home


SEARCH THIS BLOG? SURE, NO PROBLEMO, AS BART SIMPSON USED TO SAY....





www.flickr.com




-archives-

  • October 2003
  • November 2003
  • December 2003
  • January 2004
  • February 2004
  • March 2004
  • April 2004
  • May 2004
  • June 2004
  • July 2004
  • August 2004
  • September 2004
  • October 2004
  • November 2004
  • December 2004
  • January 2005
  • February 2005
  • March 2005
  • April 2005
  • May 2005
  • June 2005
  • July 2005
  • August 2005
  • September 2005
  • October 2005
  • November 2005
  • December 2005
  • January 2006
  • February 2006
  • March 2006
  • April 2006
  • May 2006
  • June 2006
  • July 2006
  • August 2006
  • September 2006
  • October 2006
  • November 2006
  • December 2006
  • January 2007
  • February 2007
  • March 2007
  • April 2007
  • May 2007
  • June 2007
  • July 2007
  • August 2007
  • September 2007
  • October 2007
  • November 2007
  • December 2007
  • January 2008
  • February 2008
  • March 2008
  • April 2008
  • May 2008
  • June 2008
  • July 2008
  • August 2008
  • September 2008
  • October 2008
  • November 2008
  • December 2008
  • January 2009
  • February 2009
  • March 2009
  • April 2009
  • May 2009
  • June 2009
  • July 2009
  • August 2009
  • October 2009
  • November 2009
  • December 2009
  • January 2010
  • February 2010
  • March 2010
  • April 2010
  • August 2010
  • September 2010
  • October 2010
  • November 2010
  • January 2011
  • February 2011
  • March 2011
  • April 2011

  • Clicky Web Analytics


    This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?