A film about the life of writer Hunter S. Thompson, starring Bill Murray (of all people) as HST. More of a comedy than Gilliam's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and not nearly as memorable. I saw this. Not bad, but when I noticed several scenes (some rather crudely adapted) from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas it occurred to me that this was not any individual story about HST but a sort of medley of his writing, including quite a chunk from Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72. Disappointing, but still should be seen by any fan of HST at least once (and probably not more than that) if nothing more than to see Murray play HST. Interesting to say the least.

1980, Running time 100 minutes.
This node not to be confused with Home on the Range, the song from which the title of this movie was taken.
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 remembering Lazlo 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.

Fun facts:
"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

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