The Rum Diary (2011, Bruce Robinson)

A prequel to Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas that I was very excited for in 1999, less so in 2011 when it finally came out. Depp does a good job dialing back to an earlier, less insane Hunter S. Thompson impersonation, but this origin story for HST’s career, based on his early (but belatedly-published) novel, doesn’t have much to recommend it besides the pleasure of hanging out with Depp’s HST and a new comic sidekick in Michael Rispoli (Summer of Sam) and a decent comeback for Robinson (Withnail & I).

Aaron Eckhart plays a slick wealthy bad guy (and Depp’s part-time employer), gets to make a nice F&L reference, pointing at the ocean saying he needs someone with the right kind of eyes (or maybe HST just wrote that dialogue twice). Amber Heard (star of The Ward) is Eckhart’s hot wife with a thing for Depp. Giovanni Ribisi isn’t entirely successful as a drunk and dangerous crime correspondent on the newspaper (run by Richard Jenkins with a hairpiece), but he isn’t significantly outclassed by the rest of the film so it works out. Someone uses the term “living wage” – did that exist in the late 1950’s?

Drunken Fantasy scene 1: rum bowling alley

Drunken Fantasy scene 2: Rispoli tongue

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