The Rum Diary screens in Orange County

Senior Editor
04.22.10 15 Comments

A few weeks ago, there was some confusion as to the status of the Johnny Depp-starring Rum Diary movie, written and directed by Bruce Robinson, adapted from the Hunter S. Thompson novel.  The story was that it wouldn’t be finished in time for Cannes next month, which was worrisome considering it had been shooting more than a year ago.  Well worry no longer, because it’s at least finished enough to have a test screening in Huntington Beach last night.  FilmDrunkard Rob was there to tell us about it, because it’s not like he had anything better to do:

I was approached by the test screener creepers who hang out after flicks, and when he said Rum Diary, I practically snatched the invitation out of his hand.  I almost f*cked it up for myself though, saying I was in the industry and they weren’t gonna let me in.  But then I told em I’m still but a lowly student in a documentary filmmaking class and busted out my old ID card for good measure, thanking my lucky stars I still hold on to that relic.

The Scoop: It’s not Fear and Loathing, but that’s OK. Depp’s rendition of a younger Hunter has all the familiarity we love, but he’s not familiar with the drugs yet, still just a boozehound, forming his greater ideals.  His sidekick this time around is an alright dude [Aaron Eckhart as Sanderson, I believe. -Ed.], no Benicio that’s for damn sure.  But it’s Giovanni Ribisi who steals the show*. You see in Ribisi’s degenerate, Nazi sympathizing, junkie state, the beginnings of Hunter/Kemp’s drug aspirations. His every line is quotable and his every appearance is like a surprise mugging – but by cuddly unicorns, which turns out alright in the long run.  Lastly, Amber Heard (pictured) is the mermaid of my dreams, but you can tell the upper brass had a field day in the cutting room, leaving all gratuitous nudity on the floor, being one of the only detriments to the film.

I almost forgot what an awesome cast this has.  Besides Depp and Ribisi, it has Aaron Eckhart and the always-great Richard Jenkins playing the old newspaper man, Lotterman.  Needless to say, I want to see this gotdamned movie, and if I don’t get to soon, I may have to round me up some Puerto Ricans and have us a gang rape.  Yes… nothing like a gang rape to change a man’s attitude.  Or perhaps I’ll just write a strongly-worded letter in the style that Hunter signed contracts:

Ha, it’s funny because his name wasn’t really “Richard Q. Cheney.”

*As the character Moberg.  From a book review: “‘Disgusting as he usually was, on rare occasions he showed flashes of a stagnant intelligence. But his brain was so rotted with drink and dissolute living that whenever he put it to work it behaved like an old engine that had gone haywire from being dipped in lard.’  Thompson isn’t writing about himself, but a guy called Moberg whose chief achievement is the ability to find his car after a night’s drinking because it stinks so much. (I can smell it for blocks, he boasts.)”

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