So I watched a movie the other day that wasn’t on VHS. It must have been a solar eclipse or something, because I haven’t owned a TV since early 2007, when I used to watch reruns of MASH and The Golden Girls on an old crank shaft nine inch that I stole from Grandma Huxtable after The Cosby Show got canceled.
If you weren’t tipped off already, I’m talking about The Rum Diary. This most recent Johnny Depp-pays-homage-to-his-friend-Hunter flick (i.e. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas) was, in short, okay. It was not a great movie. I was not brought to tears nor to the edge of my seat, but I was happy with it for what it was. Its essence as an act of love from one close friend to another, now deceased, is beyond me, but I enjoyed it nevertheless for the overall recklessness of the characters, the serenity of the scenery, the beautiful women and the white linen suits.
If you’ve ever talked to me about my career aspirations, you undoubtedly know that one day I plan on landing somewhere near the Equator on a beach with a small bar, a sailboat, a wife with an accent and at least two but no more than five white suits. On this small beach devoid of any mainstream accommodations and blissfully lacking any socks-and-sandal type tourists, I will scribble in a journal, call it a novel and drink away what’s left of my Alzheimer’s-laden mind.
Anyway, on to the review, which (sorry, another side note) I had to look up because I was so transfixed by the film’s damsel that I paid little or no attention to the plot. Amber Heard, who quite easily seduced Johnny Depp and myself, makes Kate Upton look like a pimply faced cheerleader with a bad boob job. (Sorry Ruairi, but it’s true.)
Depp was able to recreate the Thompson style of speaking and acting and living. He ended half of his sentences with the word “man” and infused notions with blunted cerebral ideas that enlarged them beyond their appropriate relevance. But the problem wasn’t the acting, really. I haven’t read the book but I’m afraid the movie just doesn’t do it justice. The story wasn’t completed. It was cut down to make a Hollywood-style beginning, middle and end fit within a Hollywood-style time frame. Kemp and Thompson would have both faulted the filmmaker bastard swine, I’m sure.
Don’t let this dissuade you from seeing the movie, though. If you’re a fan of either Thompson’s lifestyle or Depp’s roguish charm, or of the beautiful Heard, it’s worth a viewing, at least. But know that any mainstream movie about a book about the parasitical tourism and commercialization industries can’t get into the meat of the story at hand because of the very nature of the medium itself. Then Google search Amber Heard when you get home.
Extra: For an interesting piece from Depp himself on his relationship with Thompson, click here.