FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS sees Terry Gilliam bringing Hunter S. Thompson's Rolling-Stone magazine article-turned book covering the Mint 400 motorcycle race to life. 2 hours of drugs and debauchery, but what about the film?
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Reegs: Darren lethally on Twitter suggested that we watch. Dad's army after the Jersey fishing fiasco war with the French that we had last week.
Dan: I've not seen that. I've seen the old dad's armies
Reegs: I hate
Sidey: it. I went I went back with an emphatic.
I hate that
Dan: I like
Sidey: So it got
On the basis that I would hate it. But thankfully. It was
it was on nominated. And because we didn't know what to talk about, we decided to talk about fear and loathing in Las Vegas,
Dan: We went back to an old classic.
Sidey: I wasn't.
hugely enjoying it.
Reegs: Okay. Well, that's as good a reason as any,
Sidey: know if it was just a late at night thing cause they're quite know, obviously like Vanessa Del Toro's great.
And I usually like Johnny Depp, but not always.
Dan: We'd all seen apart from 50%
Sidey: seen 50 of it.
Howie: Yeah. I think I've seen 35%.
Dan: Well, I've seen a hundred percent, a few times over
Reegs: Yes, me too.
Sidey: Can you convince me
to watch the rest?
Reegs: Well, why did you, why did you bail out halfway through,
Sidey: So had some things going for it. always just seemed a bit too kind of Ooh, drugs to me and
Dan: but it is that kind of film, but did you ever enjoy the Gonzo kind of journalism and writing of Hunter Thompson?
Sidey: It has passed
I only know
And what he's like, not? What is
Dan: I've got his hell's angel. Cause he went off with the hell's angels and did a bit on them. I've got his book down there in fair and loving is. Is a great read as well.
Reegs: It's a fantastic book,
Reegs: it? It is a really fantastic book. It's his story of, and, and the story of how it came to be is interesting as well, because he was supposed to turn in a 500 word story for sports illustrated.
On the mint 400 desert bike rally in Las Vegas. And what you did turn in instead was thousands and thousands of words that had nothing to do with the race at all were about his sort of drug fueled rampage through Las Vegas, with his. A friend Dr. Gonzo. So it's 1971 when the movie opens and we're barreling down a freeway,
Dan: Great start is straight. Great. Start to a movie. So yeah, they're, they're flying down the freeway with every drug known to man and they're on half of them as they're driving. They pick up Toby
Howie: so what's up. Is that a fake head, bald proceeds? This
Dan: Yeah, I hope
Howie: It was, it was horrible.
Dan: hasn't actually done that on purpose. And they've, they've sprayed it on because it was a really
Reegs: it's a terrible hairdo and Dr.
Gonzo Benicio Del Toro. He he's this overweight aggressive attorney and he's, he pretends to be completely confused as to what they're doing in the car. And then he starts scaring him, telling him stories, the hitchhiker about their plans to murder a drug dealer called Savage Henry who ripped them off
Dan: We're straight into this. This is there's no preamble. We're going straight into this thing. And quite quickly, I forget the opening words to the film altogether, but yeah.
Reegs: When he talks about it being this is back country
Dan: Yes. Straight, straight away. Yeah. You know, you're into something. Different and a little bit off the, off the wall
Sidey: Well, you're kind of expecting that,
I guess, cause it's Johnny Depp's known for those kinds of off the wall kind of things.
The subject matter is like that. I knew about the subject matter. And also it's Terry Gilliam whose visual and visual style is normally quite. Hmm,
Dan: imagine any other director taking this on and making a success of it because
Reegs: and he does make the drug scenes, which are integral to the movie. He does make them sort of, believeable
Dan: there was as good as hallucinogenic scene, as I think, you know, we, we, we watched the one in that crazy film you made me watch.
What was that? The one that is mid summer. Yeah. So they're all, there was a scene there wasn't
Dan: took acid and things like
Reegs: the trees were
Dan: But this was full on visuals. I mean, they were going through everything and it was just how you would expect that kind of nightmare scenario to, to happen.
Reegs: It's a very sort of wondering. Meandering aimless plot, really that sees them rocking up to this hotel, taking more drugs.
There's a policeman's convention where they find themselves watching a video about marijuana smokers. And you can identify them by the semen stains on their trousers. Constantly jacking off
Dan: there's so many little, one liners. It's a film of, of excess and debauchery, but it also has you know, some fantastic lines in it.
Just. Makes you laugh situations, these characters find themselves in whether it's just in their own mind or whether they're actually in this situation at one point, is it? Yeah. Richie,
Wiki, Christina Richie
she's, but she's sad on the plane next to Dr. Gonzo, the attorney as he's coming back into Vegas and she's.
Got a load of Barbara Streisand pictures with her. He's gonna befriended her then. And seeing that she's just this young vulnerable girl giving her acid found out. She's like really strong. Christian and believer in that took her back into the room and it's, it's basically grooming her. When Johnny Depp's character walked in who's, who's taken an alias himself under Raul.
Reegs: Raul Duke
Reegs: is his character's name in this and in the novel, but it is a Hunter S Thompson proxy. I mean, for me, this is Johnny Depp's best performance in anything ever.
Dan: I loved him in this. Yeah. He's really, really done a fine job in this. I wouldn't say it was the best ever for me, but he's yeah, there's lots to enjoy about this performance and I'm not sure anybody else.
Other than Johnny Depp who knew Hunter S Thompson quite well would be able
Sidey: that, yeah, just in the
sort of making of this
movie that they got to know each other. Did they know each other
I thought he lived with him for a while to get to now the
Reegs: Yeah. He lived with him for like three or four months.
Sidey: That was fun.
Reegs: yeah. I think he was present at his funeral when he had his ashes blasted into space.
Sidey: Did you read about Who else was considered
Dan, was it John?
Sidey: With John Belushi and Dan Akroyd at one point? Yeah.
Reegs: yeah. So there was a few goes at getting this off the
Reegs: because Pachino was linked for a time with it.
Sidey: Jack Nicholson. Marlon Brando.
believe bill Murray did a Hunter S
Thompson version of a film as well where the Buffalo roam believe. So that was his attempt to get in.
Getting Thompson down on, on film.
But I think Johnny Depp is just
Sidey: John Malcovich was was, was going to have a go and he got too old. as very different
that would have been a very different role.
Yeah. And then there was a play version which John Cusack directed and his brother was in the air. So lots And lots of people,
consider for this.
Dan: I think just through the personality of Hunter S Thompson. People are interested and, and he's writing it to play a
Reegs: to me.
His writing is so poetic and it's in the movie it's sprinkled throughout the movie, like lines of his, and it's not afraid because it's not just a. Drug taking movie. I mean, yes. This is a movie where at one point Johnny Depp is in a they're in a suite, in a hotel room and he's wearing waders and a fake crocodile tail and there's water everywhere.
And about 30 or 40 dinner carts of food, absolutely everywhere. And there's,
Dan: what'd he say we've been ordering a room service every hour from the tune of $29 to $35 for 48 consecutive hours.
You know, there's a huge bill. I've got to bust out of this.
Dr. Gonzo's sitting in the bath and he wants to commit suicide at the high point of the Jefferson airplane. So it is a movie where stuff like that is happening, but it's also a movie like you were saying before, where it's actually not afraid to point out the really tacky, horrible Side of all this.
And you know, there is that scene with Chris Christina Richie, which is really dodgy when you start thinking about it. And there's a later scene where Gonzo slides a woman, a note in the diner that obviously says something obscene on it. And she like reacts really badly.
Dan: Backdoor baby or something. He
Reegs: I don't think you see it, you don't see it, but it's obviously something she's read it.
And so there is this like you know, in the movie and the book are both about the sixties counterculture, how it completely failed and just became this drug debauchery, you know? So it is about
Dan: how Timothy Leary had kind of let down all these people because they just became failed seekers. They never found anything.
They, they just became this generation of. Lost hippies really and said, well, that doesn't work. Will you do if you follow what they did, you're just going to end up like this lot. So they were able to use that argument against this kind of revolutionary culture of hippies, which he wants he used to be. So he
Reegs: and, and, and Thompson talks in,
Dan: fake, as sports fucking
talks in the book about being out in the middle of nowhere in the desert and looking out off of one of the. So w what are those rock formations that they're there in the
Dan: I think they're called a walk formations.
Reegs: looking out across the desert and saying, if you look with the right kind of eyes, you can see where the, you know, you can see exactly essentially where the sixties failed and all
Sidey: the generation
And it's just this beautiful, poetic moment. And it's all in there. And also you've got the fucking crazy drug story stuff that will just make you laugh.
Dan: And what did he say about Dr. Gonzo? There's one of God's
Reegs: got one of God's own prototypes. I
Dan: you know, they, they want to go though. He was never intended for mass production.
Reegs: too weird to live in too rare to die.
That's what you said.
Sidey: Is it fair to
say that Johnny I've never recovered
Reegs: Do you think so?
Dan: I reckon it left its Mark to be honest, but I think he, there was lots of. That he genuinely liked and and found interesting in Hunter S Thompson that he also enjoyed and himself forwarding because Hunter S Thompson was always looking for, for answers of, to what life was, why it took so many drugs and things.
You know, he was searching for some kind of, as well as getting high and having a good time, but he always. Made it for an inquiring kind of mind and, and go in. And I think Johnny Depp, as somebody who's got everything and had everything for so long, you're going to start the questioning and be drawn to people that are also searching and asking questions and saying crazy, crazy shit.
Which Hunter S Thompson actually backed up. I mean, he always said he was gonna shoot himself and he did. And then he said, I want my ashes. Blasted into space on a rocket and Johnny Depp made that happen. I think he knew that Johnny Depp had the, the kind of a clout to make that happen as well.
Sidey: How do we feel about Johnny Depp after everything that's happened?
Reegs: Confused. I mean, as an actor, I've always found him like hit and miss.
Exactly, exactly that. And as a person, I don't know him. They both seem like weird people, him and
Sidey: mean, he was found guilty. So I suppose you have to say that's what
Reegs: Okay. Yes. But there is
Sidey: feel slightly uneasy about it all.
Reegs: story there where. Yes, absolutely. What he did was wrong for the lawyers out
Reegs: Also Terry Gilliam. So Ellen Barkin who plays the waitress who gets handed the obscene notes.
she Put out a tweet saying when me too was first sort of becoming a movement, she put out a tweet saying never be alone in a lift with Terry Gilliam which kind of lends it a bit of a and then Terry Gilliam himself said some really unfortunate stuff about women knowing about what they were doing with Harvey Weinstein
Reegs: things work.
So But he is an outright not to excuse him, but he is a really old man. Obviously he's completely wrong. These comments are horrible. He's also like a 78. You know, my dad says some absolutely fucking ridiculous shit, but nobody there aren't millions of people listening to
Howie: is Harvey Weinstein.
Reegs: No, no, it
Howie: just clear this up.
Reegs: There you go.
they just Older people just don't have a film set, but that's not. that's an
Dan: It's so much, you've got to be able to remove, I guess, the art from the artists, we've seen it in music. We've seen it in movies we've seen and people you can either in politics and all walks of life, you know?
Reegs: I know you had paint, Alyssa.
People are listening to this podcast and very few of them know that Peter is a rapist.
Dan: Yeah. But there he is. You know, he turns up every
Reegs: every week, people listening
Sidey: The good thing about doing this ourselves is that I can add out
Sidey: the outrageous stuff that we say that coffee broadcast, gets for. it is all saved
on my hard drive.
Howie: Like the rest of the stuff that will be prosecutable.
Dan: Pete, maybe out in you know, they're like they let him out.
Sidey: he had a very sort of flimsy excuse for not coming
this week. Didn't they, He was just very sort of generic. So who knows what he's up to. You're like this
It wasn't always Terry Gilliam attached to this project.
It, Johnny Depp
asked Bruce Robinson to write it, to write and direct it.
Dan: he and I was reading about them actually, and they just hung out together and got kicked from each other.
Again, another crazy guy, you know, Bruce Robinson with Natalie and I director Who I really love his process. And I think his process of writing is very similar to Hunter S Thompson in the fact that they, you know, a thing they would, you know, type writer have a bottle of wine or
Reegs: You get the sense. A lot of it is stream of consciousness stuff. Almost like they're just going like dinner, right?
Dan: yeah, that's it. And laughing to themselves, then writing it down. And, and that kind of thing is shouting out loud in a, in an empty room. And if you were to come in on it, you would go, what, what the hell is going on here? And it's only afterwards when you realize.
He seen everything. He seen the whole movie it's in all the characters. He's putting it all together in his mind. And he's watching the movie in his mind before it's down there. And then you realize these people are actually like him. Lovan whatever. They've got something that's really special, you know, the way their mind works in, in making movies,
Sidey: It did kind of struggle to
find an audience though. This one, and the metrics are pretty mixed with this,
The the old scores. Money-wise
for This was 18 and a half million And I think That
was over budget.
They, they struggled to keep it down.
Reegs: I think it opened in the same week as Godzilla, as well as something stupid. So I bet it was
Sidey: absolutely very similar movies. So what do
Howie: the hotel scene.
Sidey: did it, did it win or lose
Dan: This must've made money. One, it's got Johnny Depp, he had a whole host of other stars in it.
And it's a cult classic that would have made, got it. Made 18 over
Howie: Well, it's probably made that money now, but at the time I reckon it.
Dan: I mean, when did these come from? Is it from the.
The first year these figures are, is it up until today or? Yeah. You know, you think of the merchandise in the spinoffs as well for
Reegs: Yeah. A little fear in loading Las Vegas, lunchboxes for the kids
Dan: we've all got t-shirts and things, you know, we've got the little vials that they can go and have their, gonna have their drinks out of
Sidey: Dan's got this making
some money. What do you guys reckon
Reegs: maybe just about, it's made a lot of money off of me cause I've bought this movie about three times, including once I got
Dan: this book
Reegs: I've got an, the
Dan: and all the rest
Reegs: I've got the steel Burkey edition. It's got really shitty handheld footage of the actual doctor, Gonzo, Oscar, somebody, or other on it.
And no different guy, Oscar. so yeah, it's made it about 18 million off me.
Howie: Not quite, I don't know if that's based on cinema, then it'll have made a loss, but if it's everything including if it's merchant blockbuster DVD, then Yeah.
Dan you're right. It did
make some money just
sadly, not as much as
it cost is any my 13.7.
mil. So it was a flop.
It didn't find always a tour, but it's got
Dan: I enjoyed it. That's where five minute
Sidey: commercially as a fluff, you can't cash. Those kinds of checks, unfortunately. But I
for me. It's when people talk about a cult classic, that's one of the things that, to me, it's like, It hasn't been seen by that many people, you know, there's a, there's a really passionate,
smaller audience. You'd love it.
No one else
gives a fuck about it.
Reegs: And would you say that what this is? Yeah.
Sidey: Well it well, it seems to
be because there are people who absolutely love the show, but you guys
have seen it multiple times.
Reegs: Watch it. after
Sidey: I'll finish it. Yeah. Yeah. It seems like
Howie: Yeah. Yeah, no, because I had exactly what society thought, which was, Oh, this is a, this is like a caricature of people that take drugs. I've seen the
Dan: poster the best game
Sidey: We should also mention that they take adrenochrome in this,
Reegs: Yeah. Which is not a real thing. The name is
Sidey: is according to the queue and on
Reegs: but they don't know what they're talking about now, because there's a funny story about some kids coming up afterwards and talking to Terry Gilliam and saying, Oh yeah, that adrenochrome stuff, man. Yeah. You got it. Exactly. Right. And he's like, well, we didn't have the heart to tell them that he'd made it up for the movie.
Howie: I enjoyed it though, with what I'd watched.
Reegs: Yeah. It's funny. It is funny.
Dan: Yeah. I mean, I think it's a film that I will continue to watch in the future again, you know, just stick it on. I can jump in at any time. And I really liked the guys. Right. And it makes me laugh. It makes me think. And as you said, it's scarred in this movie, so garner and watch it.