Wednesday, February 20
Starting in the Wrong Place
So, we settled in to watch and...I can't say I'm disappointed but I can say that I expected more. Not slap-dash, laugh a minute hysteria. But I love Hunter S Thompson - who wrote the book back in the 50s - and I loved the other movies based on his books...but for me this one was flat.
I liked the characters well enough. It was a fun look at the journalism field, and since I started my grown-up life as a journalist that was fun. And, admit it, who hasn't wanted to walk in to work drunk on rum in a tropical paradise? Still, the movie was flat for me and I think I've figured out why: it started in the wrong place.
In the movie, we see Kemp (Johnny) wake up drunk, go to his interview with a hangover and basically drink his way through the entire movie. He has some fun doing it and falls into lust with another man's girlfriend (don't worry, the other man is the villain; she'll eventually leave him) but nothing happens. In the book, there are characterizations and silly moments that make the characters come alive. In the movie it's just a kind of meandering thing that doesn't go anywhere - until the end.
The last 10 minutes, it goes. Kemp gets his dander up, he's ready to go on the warpath to right the wrongs being done. And then the movie ends with his dander up. No wrongs are righted. No big, confrontational scene. It's just over and we're left to wonder - did he right the wrongs? Or did he just go back to the bottle?
So, for me, the movie started in the wrong place. It should have started at the end and told the story of the righting of wrongs - even if Kemp didn't succeed in the end. That would have been a fun story to watch...