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Breakfast With Hunter - DVD Review

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</script></div>{/googleAds}Even though Breakfast With Hunter is far more linear than its subject, it resonates with the gawky weirdness that so thoroughly infuses Hunter S. Thompson's world. Director Wayne Ewing seems positively in awe of Thompson; his deftless camera work betrays his adoration of everything Gonzo. An unapologetic Thompson panders to Ewing's willing lens and milks the positive exposure, though in the manner one attributes to a master showman. He is, after all, Hunter S. Thompson.

Featuring read-ins by Johnny Depp and John Cusack, as well as appearances by Benicio Del Toro, P.J. O'Rourke, George Plimpton, and Terry Gilliam, Breakfast With Hunter chronicles Thompson's heralded and failed election campaign for sheriff of Aspen, Colorado, various celebratory dinners and get-togethers in his honour, the comical arrest and subsequent trial of Thompson over a trivial offense which he didn't even commit, and the explosive incident between Thompson and cult film director Alex Cox over the making of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Sprinkled throughout the spaces between are simply the windings of a zany, self-absorbed, yet also lovable icon of 1970's hyper-hippiedom--the quintessential spokesman for drug-laced artists and writers, infantile geniuses, and the criminally adventurous.

Clearly, Thompson is as revered by the literary and artistic community as he is reviled by the "squares". Ewing captures admiring writers' sentimental convention readings of Thompson's work, along with fond remembrances of times that Thompson so accurately captured in novels and magazine articles; times he has both perpetrated past their prime and transcended to new significance.

Perhaps Ewing's greatest feat is getting the inside look of Owl Farm, a locale that has taken on the mantle of Thompson's weird amalgam of crusty timelessness and nostalgic irrelevance. Thompson's spirit is perhaps most vivid, most engaging whilst in the comfort of his own home, and he entertains friends like Ralph Steadman, who illustrated Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, with a disdain for formality and structure. Even his tet-a-tet with Alex Cox and Tod Davies, culminating in an argument over why Cox and Davies wanted to take one of Thompson's prized pieces of prose and turn it into an animation cycle seems less like a business meeting than reactionary interlude--one of many such occurrences in Thompson's inverted, extroverted world.

While the look is fascinating and indeed insightful, giving viewers an added dimension to Thompson's unparalleled personality, it may be this very quality that ultimately overwhelms Breakfast With Hunter. Thompson has his way with it, capturing each frame with effortless antagonism addressed to conformists and friends alike; as with seemingly everything, Thompson exudes a kind of kooky power over the film's direction, and Ewing's attempt to paint Thompson in a purely objective light slowly gives way to agreement and enthusiasm for his subject: another documentary made victim to Stockholm's Syndrome. I came away knowing Thompson like one knows a person from a portrait painted by an admiring fan. This cultural spectacle of paradox and audacity seems no more real than his exploits or his literary creations.

As disappointments go, however, perhaps this isn't so bad. After all, he is Hunter S. Thompson.


DVD Details:

DVD First Edition Features
The movie - "Breakfast with Hunter" - (91:06)
Video Supplements: (44:24)
Gonzo journalism, drugs and writing explored with P.J. O'Rourke
"Screwjack" read by P.J. O'Rourke and Don Johnson
Oscar Acosta remembered by Hunter, and what really happened to him
The editing of "Fear and Loathing in America"
Warren Zevon and Hunter write lyrics together
The editing of "The Rum Diary"

First Edition Special Features:
English Subtitles for the Gonzo dialect of Dr. Thompson
Audio commentary by Dr. Thompson and the Director


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