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Overall Rating

Awesome: 11.11%
Worth A Look: 16.67%
Average: 5.56%
Pretty Bad55.56%
Total Crap: 11.11%

1 review, 12 user ratings

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Where the Buffalo Roam
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Rent 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas' instead."
2 stars

'Based on the twisted legend of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson,' claimed the ads, and that's fairly accurate. The film is true to the myth Thompson created around himself, for better or worse.

Trouble is, Where the Buffalo Roam has none of the brute force of HST's great gonzo journalism. It's just a ramshackle package of bizarre anecdotes, some only marginally connected to Thompson's writings, others combining incidents from his stories. Each scene seems to begin with the question 'Wouldn't it be great if Hunter had done this or that?' So Hunter is shown meeting Nixon in a restroom (it was actually George McGovern).

Bill Murray, who was cast as Thompson (and hung around with him as research, bringing some of Hunter's personality back to the set of Saturday Night Live, much to his castmates' annoyance), looks a bit like him and is occasionally funny. Too often, though, he comes off as Carl the crazed groundskeeper from Caddyshack, only with a typewriter. With him in the role, the movie looks like just another Bill Murray slob comedy from the pre-Stripes era, and the scenes taken from Thompson's pieces seem like leftovers from SNL.

Since the movie buys into Thompson's myth, it leaves us with no idea of how this garish wreck of a man could pull it together and file classic articles. Yet for years there were some Thompson fans whose enthusiasm for him extended to this film, because until Terry Gilliam's far superior Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas arrived seventeen years later, Where the Buffalo Roam was the only HST flick in town.

The movie was celebrating Thompson's Dionysian romps at about the same time he was burning out professionally; today it looks no more flattering than Garry Trudeau's 'Uncle Duke.'

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originally posted: 04/06/07 03:31:03
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User Comments

2/04/21 Luca Dell This film is hilarious, but it lacks the emersiveness and punch that Fear and Loathing has. 3 stars
5/14/12 Maggie Love, love, love this hilarious, and for the most part, quite realistic portrayal of HST!! 5 stars
5/22/10 jerttt unfortunely it was made almost at the begginid of bill murray movie career i think if it we 2 stars
2/21/09 Conrad Spoke I suspect that this script was wrecked to give top-billed Peter Boyle more screen time. 2 stars
12/18/08 Paul0 little of the incisive zing of his writing; avoid 2 stars
4/06/07 Ole Man Bourbon Agreed that Murray's character is better. As is Boyle's. 4 stars
11/23/03 TheDude One of the best films ever made. 5 stars
5/12/03 Jack Bourbon Murray and Boyle make great intelligent wackos. 4 stars
3/02/03 Charles Tatum As annoying as Thompson himself 2 stars
12/29/02 Jack Sommersby One of the worst films ever made. 1 stars
9/02/02 y2mckay Biography of Hunter S. Thompson. Bill Murray plays him better than Johnny Depp 4 stars
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  25-Apr-1980 (R)
  DVD: 01-Feb-2005



Directed by
  Art Linson

Written by
  John Kaye

  Bill Murray
  Peter Boyle
  Bud Cort
  Bruno Kirby
  Mark Metcalf

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