Sunday, December 7, 2014

Movie Review: "Where the Buffalo Roam" (1980)

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Movie"Where the Buffalo Roam"
Director: Art Linson
Year: 1980
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 38 minutes

Gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson writes a series of stories while in an alcohol and drug induced haze.

Like all movies based on the life and writings of Hunter S. Thompson, "Where the Buffalo Roam" is unbelievably strange, much like the man himself. The film alone has no real plot and is simply a character sketch about Hunter S. Thompson, his off-the-wall lifestyle and the many stories he wrote as a journalist. The guy was bizarre, and because of that, the movie is bizarre; but, unlike more modern films based on Hunter S. Thompson, like Terry Gilliam's "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," where Gilliam really tried to allow the audience to experience Thompson and his drug driven hallucinations, "Where the Buffalo Roam" is content with merely showing you Thompson and his antics. Everything else is shot in a rather conventional manner with no camera tricks and no clear indication of when Thompson is actual using drugs other than Murray's slurred speech and erratic behavior. By doing this, director Art Linson has failed to covey the severity of the effect the drugs had on not only Thompson as a person, but Thompson as a journalist as well. Sure, Bill Murray acts goofy all the time and makes wild, outrageous accusations towards people, but the direction this movie employs makes his actions look more like silly antics rather than a true drug induced paranoia. Plus, it takes a really long time for anything interesting to come to fruition. The movie feels like it drags, and yet it really isn't that long. The best part about this film is Bill Murray's portrayal of Thompson. He's just crazy enough to make the pairing work and seems to have a lot of Thompson's mannerisms down pat, you know, minus actually taking drugs. The only funny parts of the movie come from Murray's portrayal itself, simply because Thompson was weird and pretty out there, and this is much more of a straight biography than a comedic biography. The movie as a whole is only so-so despite Murray's performance.

My Rating: 5.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 5/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.5/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 25%
Do we recommend this movie: Meh.

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