"Gonzo" : New Hunter S. Thompson Movie Opens

Alex Gibney's new documentary about Hunter Thompson , "Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson," opened Friday. Gibney's last film was the Oscar winning documentary about torture techniques, "Taxi to the Dark Side" and before that, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room."

The film focuses on Hunter in the 60's and 70's: [More...]

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

Gibney's "Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson" is a nostalgic tribute to Thompson's subversive, hilarious voice, whose absence is particularly felt in an era when many in the mass media lack the spine to challenge political leaders (Thompson shot himself to death in 2005). But the film also shows how Thompson's voice faded as he lapsed into drugged-out caricature. Or, as his contemporary Tom Wolfe puts it in the film, "He got trapped in gonzo."

Why that period?

[Gibney] chose to focus on an era when a journalist not only challenged the status quo but also redefined what it meant to be a journalist.

"Wouldn't it be interesting to do a film about a journalist who aggressively didn't play by the rules at a time when the people in power are manipulating reporters by forcing them to play by these phony rules?" Gibney said. "It seems that if ever there would be a time for Hunter S. Thompson, now would be it. But he's gone."

What's in it?

Narrated by Johnny Depp, the 118-minute "Gonzo" is illustrated with tons of archival photos and video and is chock-full of interviews - with conservative pundit Pat Buchanan, former President Jimmy Carter, Thompson's artistic co-conspirator Ralph Steadman, the writer's two wives and son, and many others. The movie focuses on Thompson's most creatively fertile period, 1965-75, when he cranked out books on the Hell's Angels and the 1972 presidential campaign, wrote "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" and ingested the contents of several pharmacies.

There was a big party and screening for the film in New York this week, attended by literary and other media luminaries from Tom Wolfe to Jann Wenner, Candice Bergen, Arianna Huffington, Jimmy Buffett, Meg Ryan, Douglas Brinkley, Gay Talese, Dominick Dunne, Brian Williams and more.

Here's more on the film. I have a screener copy of the film at my office which I will pick up and watch this week. The film opens nationally on the 4th of July, a perfect date considering that Hunter really was a true patriot.

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    I sincerely hope... (none / 0) (#1)
    by weltec2 on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 03:29:03 AM EST
    that I can get this on VHS or DVD here in Japan before I am forced to retire because of my age. I would love to inspire... at least one generation.

    Two thumbs up! (none / 0) (#2)
    by Jackson Hunter on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 03:47:17 AM EST
    And I haven't even seen it yet.  :)  Really looking forward to checking it out, it sounds really interesting.


    You know (none / 0) (#3)
    by Edger on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 06:00:19 AM EST
    I haven't been inside a movie theater since about 1995. And the last time I walked out before the film began because I got sick of being blasted with 20 minutes of 120 decibel commercials. I can't even remember now what the film was.

    But this I will go into a theater for.

    Saw the preview tonight (none / 0) (#4)
    by andrys on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 06:53:00 AM EST
    Went to see the marvelous "The Visitor" (don't miss this) and they showed the preview of the Hunter Thompson movie.

    Absolutely Cannot Wait (none / 0) (#5)
    by WakeLtd on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 05:56:46 PM EST
    I don't think I could have gotten through the '70s without HST's Rolling Stone articles. Maybe he helped to warp me for a while - but it was a wonderful warping. I can still remember seeing Hunter being interviewed on Dick Cavett and insisting that Hubert Humphrey should be castrated (or he may have said "sterilzed") to prevent his genes from passing on to future generations. Cavett had no idea where to go with that comment. I'm not saying it was fair - but it was pure Hunter. And I still have burned into my mind an early line from F & L in Las Vegas: "I decided to not tell him about the bats. The poor bastard will see them soon enough."