Where the Buffalo Roam (1980)
Tagline: I hate to advocate weird chemicals, alcohol, violence or insanity to anyone... but they've always worked for me.
Directed by Art Linson
Peter Boyle as Carl Lazlo, Esq.
Bill Murray as Dr. Hunter S. Thompson
Written by John Kaye, based on the writings of Hunter S. Thompson
(specifically The Banshee Screams for Buffalo Meat and Strange Rumblings in Aztlan)
Hunter S. Thompson served as Executive Consultant
I was very disappointed in the script. It sucks - a bad, dumb, low-level, low-rent script.
- HST in Rolling Stone College Papers
Where the Buffalo Roam
is split up into three sections, based loosely around what Hunter S. Thompson
is writing about during that portion of the movie. In the first section, he is writing about Lazlo
as a lawyer. The second is writing about the 1972 Super Bowl
. The third is writing about the 1972 presidential campaign
. All three of those sections are presented in the context of Hunter
while working on a eulogy
for him, as is setup during the introduction scene and the last scene.
Where the Buffalo Roam was released in 1980 to box office failure
and poor reviews. And watching it, one can understand why. It's been criticized
as an "Insider movie
." Since I've read a fair share of Hunter S. Thompson's
work, I have a hard time seeing that perspective. I can imagine that not knowing the characters or the setup could make the point of the movie baffling
. My main critical bone to pick
with the film is that the plot is very little but a showcase for the characters. Though, I suppose they optioned the articles for $100,000 for the characters and not to write a coherant and continuous plot
Up to this point, I have refrained from comparing Where the Buffalo Roam
to the other movie adaptation of Hunter's
work, Terry Gilliam's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
. If you look at Art Linson's
filmography, you'll see very clearly that he is primarily a producer
. Terry Gilliam
is a writer
, a director
and an artist
, among others. Where the Buffalo Roam isn't any where nearly as stunning as Fear and Loathing
is. Nor is it as well written. I'll admit it, Where the Buffalo Roam
simply isn't that great of a movie. But like much of Hunter's
work, it offers an interesting historical perspective.
To close, Bill Murray's
performance is suprisingly good and is the primary draw to the movie. HST
fanatics may want to rent it, just to see another actor's take on the Doctor
. But most viewers will either find the plot distractingly scrambled or the movie itself too slap-stick
"Fear + Loathing" can be seen spray painted on a wall where a cop is frisking two people near the beginning of the movie.
HST would occasionally hang out back stage at Saturday Night Live with Bill Murray
Bill Murray got into his HST role to the point that he agrivated most of the people working on SNL until he got rid of the persona after finishing with the movie.
In his role as executive consultant, HST fired machine guns on the movie set.
I bought a copy in a comic book/cd/video shop in Boston without ever having seen the movie. This isn't really relevent.
Sources: http://imdb.com, http://www.gonzo.org