Criterion Year Week 23: Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas

The Criterion Collection, the last vestige of truly collectible DVD and Blu-Ray movies in existence. These are well produced, fancy pants editions of important and interesting films for the discerning film lover.

We continue our journey through Jim's collection of movies with...

Week 23:

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Spine Number: 175

Director: Terry Gilliam

Genre: Terry Gilliam

There are certain pieces of culture, pop or otherwise, that are tied to certain ages. If you read Tolkein for the first time as a 10-13 year old it could open up a world of possibilities in literature for you. If you read it for the first time at 25, you will be annoyed at all the mentions of buttered toast and overlong song lyrics. Did I just read the words "tra la la la la?" Fuck this book. Stephen King normally takes hold when you are in your early to mid teens. Kerouack? Probably best when you are in your early 20's.

Then there is Hunter S. Thompson. Depending on when you discover his writing, he is either a genius or just kind of annoying. Both of us discovered him at the right age, early 20's, right about the time this movie hit.

There was a certain, undeniable appeal to it. An appreciation of the drug fueled, anarchic aesthetic that made the whole thing seem a lot more important than it actually was. Thompson occupies a strange place on the border of the mainstream, too strange to fully ingratiate himself, too gifted to be completely cast aside. He stands as a cultural oddity both beloved and despised. And really, I don't believe he would have it any other way. Well, I actually think he wouldn't give a damn one way or the other.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, which began as an assignment to write photo captions for a motorcycle race and spiraled into a piece of pop culture canon seems, on its surface, unfilmable. Well, unfilmable to anyone but Terry Gilliam.

So, join us and see how this perfect combination of writer and director fare in this undeniable head trip of a film.

Next week:

Spine number 186: Stolen Kisses

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Jim out.

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