Tuesday, November 1, 2011


I said it before we saw it and I'll say it again now: I'm always weary of a movie that's been trying to get made for the better part of a decade, because there's a reason it never got off the ground.

THE RUM DIARY is no exception to that thought. I really wanted to like it, but just wasn't able to get excited about it at all. Hunter S. Thompson is one of my favorite writers and Johnny Depp is a fine actor, but too many PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN movies and one shitty Tim Burton movie after another have ruined him for me.

This movie just felt like it was never sure what it wanted to be. Should it be a romance? A slapstick comedy? A weird, drug induced adventure? A love story? A political thriller?

Then someone said, "Well, let's put it all in there but not really understand how to balance them all."

And having Johnny Depp reprise the role he played so well in FEAR AND LOATHING seemed like a no-brainer, but no one wanted RUM DIARY to feel like a shitty rehash of FEAR, so they tried everything to make it different, but it just didn't work. It just didn't work for me and I was bored for the better part of two hours.

Probably the best part of THE RUM DIARY is the part that very few people know exist. Back in 2001, a small movie studio called The Shooting Gallery bought the rights to Thompson's book, but never really did anything with it. It seemed like it was one of those things where a studio would buy an option with no intention of actually making the movie just so no one else could. The Shooting Gallery was run by a woman named Holly Sorenson, who before becoming the president of production, had worked notable jobs like bartender at Wrigley Field, personal shopper at Saks Fifth Avenue and personal assistant to Gloria Steinem. All of which reinforce Kevin Smith's claim that in Hollywood you simply fail upwards.

Since nothing was happening with THE RUM DIARY, an enraged Hunter S. Thompson fired off one of his fantastic trademark rants, directed solely at her. And you know it's going to be good when the first line is "Okay, you lazy bitch, I'm getting tired of this waterhead fuckaround."

Read the letter below. Then read the book. Probably skip the movie.

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