Saturday, January 3, 2009

Gonzo: The Film

I recently discovered a documentary made about Dr. Hunter S. Thompson entitled Gonzo, just like most of the other work published about him and his life. Like the other documentaries and books that I have read about him, I found it riveting.

This film is definitely worth watching if you are a Thompson fan. I've watched pretty much all that is out there on the guy, and this one explores some areas that the other ones don't go too much in depth with. For instance, this documantary basically chronicles his life and inserts interviews with his first wife, Jann from Rolling Stone, his son, McGovern, his second wife, and other friends and faculty that he knew as they tell the story of his life chronologically.

Unlike other documentaries on Thompson, this one explores his political coverage more than other documentaries. This one really got into his Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail and his support for McGovern. They really got into his dislike for Nixon and Muckie (and making up that he was on a crazy drug and the world believed him). They explained a lot about what was happening politically when Hunter was covering, how he felt, and what his relationship was like with the candidates and the public. They also went a bit in depth with his interest in Carter, and that as his last run at covering politics.

They also had a lot of very cool footage that I had never seen before, as well as pictures I had never seen of him as well. They had videos of him on talk shows in the 70s, game shows, and him just hanging out at Owl Ranch. It was very intriguing if he interests you.

They showed one clip of Thompson on a talk show right about when Hells Angels came out, and he had to face a biker (who literally rode into the studio on his Harley) and yelled at him saying that 60% of what he wrote was bullshit. Hunter looked pretty upset about it, but he never really cared what anyone thought about him anyway. He just got trapped in his persona.

While other documentaries focus on what was popular with his fanbase, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Hells Angels, this one spent more time on unfamiliar areas and covered every part of his journalism equally, which I really enjoyed. It seemed fair to his work as opposed to just focusing on Johnny Depp and their relationship since he's really hot right now.

Johnny Depp did appear in this documentary, but he only read aloud Thompson's work, which individuals do throughout the documentary which I found pretty cool. No interviews with him. Ralph Steadman did interview and he showed some pretty cool drawings of Thompson that I had never seen before.

They ended off with Hunter going through the monument he wanted made for himself. They had footage of putting it in his will and walking Steadman through designing it. Then they showed its construction and when it actually fired off at the ceremony of his death/funeral. It was very cool and powerful. Fireworks, explosions--everything Thompson would have wanted. Going out with a bang, literally.

Gonzo is a must watch, especially if you really enjoy Thompson and miss his work, especially on the last election. If only he stuck through to one more election... I wonder what his words would have been for this one. He would have been less depressed to see Bush out of office and Obama stepping in... I think anyway...

So what did you think of Gonzo?

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