WOODY CREEK, Colorado, USA - The new movie about Hunter S. Thompson is as good - maybe better - than the reviewers have said it is. If you blinked and missed it in the theaters, check it out on DVD in a few months.
A young Hunter S. Thompson
The Admiral and I watched it at the Crest Theatre in Sacramento last night with a crowd of, well, maybe 10 people, all of who seemed to be afficionados of the writer, laughing at all the right spots, crying at others.
For non-HST fans, the movie might not be too charming and it certainly would be somewhat confusing in spots.
But it focuses on Hunter's early career and answers one big question: What the heck happened to him?
It turns out (at least according to the film) that after he totally blew his assignment to write about the fight between George Foreman and Muhammad Ali in Zaire, he lost his ability to write and create for years afterward. It wasn't necessarily that he missed the assignment, the film hints, he might have burned out right about that time.
His ex-wife, who is prominent in the film talking about Hunter, gives a pretty straightforward assessment of what happened then as well as insights into his personality and how he may have ended up trapped in the caricature he created for himself and of himself.
One of the highlights of the film is getting to hear Ralph Steadman, the British artist who accompanied HST on many of his adventures, talking about what it was like to be out on assignment with him.
Total Gonzo, of course.
Ralph Steadman portrait of Hunter S. Thompson