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Posts Tagged with ‘movies’

The BEASTies: Moneyball

February 26th, 2012 by

“We’ll talk later, my agent is on the other line for a role in a movie that hasn’t been made 135,000 times before.”

0-15:00 That guy from that French movie is in charge of a fantasy baseball team and he gets kicked out of the stadium for his “team” because it’s closed. Also, he’s drinking absinthe straight from the bottle and has puked over most of row D-23. After bailing him out, his buddy has an intervention and asks him if he wants to try managing his baseball team or something to help get his mind of drinking in empty stadiums by himself at night all the time. When he gets there he learns The Establishment of Baseball doesn’t care about whether or not the players can actually play baseball. They decide who gets on their team based solely on their blood types and astrological signs. (more…)

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The BEASTies: The Tree of Life

February 22nd, 2012 by

Brad Pitt shows his son how many prostitutes he murdered that night.

0-15:00 So there’s this conservative Christian family in the 50s or 60s and they ¬†found out their son just went and got a sex change operation. They have a neighborhood prayer meeting ¬†in the hopes she would go to Marcus Bachmann’s recovery center. Half a century later the other brother is all grown up and starts thinking about growing up with his brother / now sister. He gets all creeped out by it because he’s still a trans-phobic Christian asshole. So he drunk dials his dad and makes fun of his¬†toupee. (more…)


The BEASTies: War Horse

February 15th, 2012 by

¬†”That one alone will get us a couple crates of glue!”¬†

0-15:00 The movie opens with John Williams piloting a plane with his orchestra who he has kidnapped. The deal is that they have to keep playing that sappy music he likes so much or else he will crash the plane. You ever wondered how he managed to get so much soundtrack work? Now you know. So Williams is spying on this town which seems to exist only for the sake of a horse-driven economy. Most people’s lives revolve around buying and selling horses. No other commerce is permitted. One of these horses is called War Horse, and a family trains him to assassinate a member of Austrian royalty. War Horse is obviously a code name for Whitney Houston. The horse starts smoking rocks all day. (more…)


The BEASTies: Midnight in Paris

February 10th, 2012 by

0-10:00 Johnny and Jane America have tagged along with Jane’s parents to Paris. They hate each other and are probably only engaged to spite each other. Jane meets up with some of her friends and they all go out of town together so they can throw rocks at Johnny while yelling homophobic slurs at him for being a sissy boy who enjoys France, rain, and other gay stuff like that. (more…)


The BEASTies: The Help

February 7th, 2012 by


0-20:00 This movie is set in a commune of Ron Paul supporters who like to bus in African-American women from the movie Gone With the Wind to show them what it’s like to have liberty and stuff. Aibileen¬†and Minny are two of them. Skeeter is a blogger and has a quota of 15 posts per day, not including LOLcats. This is very difficult to do without any internet, so she gets her white supremacist friends to loan her their slaves to sub-contract out her blogging “work.” We also meet a woman named Celia¬†¬†who is ostracized because she is too naive to be racist, and Hilly the former Nazi prison guard. (more…)


The BEASTies, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

February 5th, 2012 by

Tom Hanks revives his role from Toy Story 3 as an al Qaeda terrorist. This time he’s bombing the World Trade Center on orders from Dick Cheney and Popular Mechanics magazine. On September 11, his son Oskar is let out of his Modrassa early so he can burn American flags and celebrate the beginning of the final battle between the followers of the Prophet Mohammed and the infidels. When he gets home, he listens to the messages on his answering machine from Tom Hanks (Peace and Blessings Be Upon His Name) which inform him that their mission was a success and that Allah is great.



The BEASTies: The Descendants

February 1st, 2012 by

I really mean it this time, I am relieved to have those first two self-indulgent pieces of crap out of the way. Now I can actually enjoy one of these movies since it’s clearly a documentary about an old school West Coast punk band I’ve had the pleasure of seeing live a few times back in the day. (more…)


The BEASTies: The Artist

January 30th, 2012 by

Well it’s definitely refreshing to have gotten Hugo out of the way. I really hate how self-indulgent filmmakers can get when it comes to making movies about movies. It’s as if they’re trying to show us ignorant plebs how special they are in how they perceive their own work and how we’re all doing it wrong.

But that’s all behind us now. Next is a movie called The Artist, and it’s probably about a non-filmmaker artist. I’m sure the Academy is not so far up their own asses to nominate two movies about movies. If they did that, they might as well all just line up in front of a mirror and start fapping to themselves. Right? (more…)


The BEASTies: Hugo

January 26th, 2012 by

So it’s that time of year when, in some kind of weird masochistic fit I’m not ready to explore with a professional psychologist just yet, we look over the movies all the experts agree are the best ones made over the past year. This year’s crop of picks looks especially bad and I’m dreading the decision to revisit this strange and inexplicable compulsion of mine already. So here we go. (more…)


The Rum Diary

October 31st, 2011 by

It seems like we’ve been mourning Hunter Thompson for the past seven years now. We’ve had the obituary, the response to others’ shitty obituaries, the oral history, the documentaries. Some people got to see his ashes shot from a custom-made Gonzo cannon. We’ve even had weird conspiracy theories about him being murdered floated out on the internet by people who apparently have trouble understanding why someone like Thompson would blow his brains out when he’s in a wheelchair and just starting George W Bush’s second term as President. And now we’ve got the long-awaited movie adaptation of The Rum Diary.

The Rum Diary is pretty good for a superhero origins movie. The superhero later became known as Raoul Duke and Hunter Thompson, but back then he was Paul Kemp.

Kemp was Thompson before Thompson was Thompson – more of a late ’50s greaser who rode around with the Hell’s Angels than the eccentric character we all came to know and love in later years. But there are several moments in the film where you get the impression that you’re watching the beginning of certain aspects of his persona. His love of driving fast in sports cars with beautiful women, his love of¬†psychedelic¬†drugs, his hatred of Richard Nixon – all these things are inserted into the script in order to foreshadow the future of Thompson’s career. Even some lines are lifted directly from his later works for the more obsessive fans in the audience who might be looking for a little more than a literal translation of the novel itself.

Because – and I say this as one of those obsessive fans in the audience – the plot of The Rum Diary isn’t that great. I don’t even remember how it ended, exactly, though I’m pretty sure it was different from the film. What I do remember are the little anecdotes and the overall¬†ambiance. The look and feel of Puerto Rico just before the Paleface, Inc. came in with their pin-striped suits and took over the place, that was really the strong point of Thompson’s writing at this stage.

And that definitely carried over into the translation to celluloid. Some of the characters are simplified to fit a Hunter Thompson model some of us might be more used to. The newspaper’s staff photographer Bob Sala is made into more of an Oscar Acosta / Dr. Gonzo / Ralph Steadman constant companion character than he was, and Moberg (more on him later) is more of an outcast in the film, while he was more or less part of a trio in the book.

Since this is set back about half a century ago, one of the predominant themes of corruption and crime within journalism seems quaint in the modern world. A PR guy played by the Two-Face / Thank You For Smoking guy asks Kemp to plant what amounts to miniature subliminal ads for his development projects within his stories. And although he agrees to it Kemp seems troubled by how he’s being used in the situation. So back then that would’ve been the standard reaction to an offer to be paid to unethically haul water in what amounts to a tiny newsletter for a guy who wants to build a hotel; today you get hacks like Judith Miller enthusiastically volunteering to make a case for war in Iraq in the pages of the New York Times. It’s sad how things change sometimes.

Anyway, it’s been a while since I’ve read the book, but the parts I remembered and the imagery it conjured in my mind looked pretty much exactly as I imagined. The one exception was how Moberg looked. But going back to the book it dawned on me that they had portrayed him pretty accurately and that I had read it wrong. In the movie Moberg looks like an actual transient bum who sleeps in the streets. Reading the book gave me the impression he was just the scruffiest of a scruffy bunch – the drunk who all the other drunks point to, saying, “At least I’m not like him.”¬†But that was because I assumed Thompson was using ¬†an unreliable narrator device in describing Moberg.

But I think a moderate version of Moberg could even be justified by a literal reading of the text. The newspaper’s editor Lotterman yelled at him a lot, but you get the feeling Lotterman was a uptight guy from the beginning. Besides, in the book it was Moberg who was originally with Chenault, not Sanderson. They had a small place on the beach way out in the sticks where he would hunt for chicken. All these factors put together led me to believe Moberg was a little more together than he appears in the film. But then you’ve got Thompson’s [Kemp's] original description of him, which pretty much overrides my own nerding out over this:

Moberg had been in San Juan only a few months, but Lotterman seemed to loathe him with a passion that it would take most men years to cultivate. Moberg was a degenerate. He was small, with thin blond hair and a face that was pale and flabby. I have never seen a man so bent on self-destruction — not only self, but destruction of everything he could get his hands on. He was lewd and corrupt in every way. He hated the taste of rum, yet he would finish a bottle in ten minutes, then vomit and fall down. He ate nothing but sweet rolls and spaghetti, which he would heave the moment he got drunk. He spent all his money on whores and when that got dull he would take on an occasional queer, just for the strangeness of it. He would do anything for money, and this was the man we had on the police beat. Often he disappeared for days at a time. Then someone would have to track him down through the dirtiest bars in La Perla, a slum so foul that on maps of San Juan it appears as a blank space. La Perla was Moberg’s headquarters; he felt at home there, he said, and in the rest of the city — except for a few horrible bars — he was a lost soul.

It goes on for a few more paragraphs, but you get the idea.

Anyway, enough about Moberg. He’s a minor character. What you should take away from this is if you’re thinking about seeing The Rum Diary, don’t expect a literal translation. That’s a pretty unreasonable expectation for any movie based on a book and especially so here, where the filmmakers are trying to make this more of a final goodbye to one of the 20th century’s great journalists than a simple story about a crappy newspaper in late ’50s Puerto Rico.

One last thing. As well as they capture the image and tone of Thompson’s book, I didn’t enjoy this nearly as much as the Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas movie. Then again, this one didn’t have an obsessive maniac in the director’s chair, and we all know Johnny Depp’s not nearly as age-appropriate for a 20something Hunter than he was 14 years ago as a 30something one. Still, it’s better than Where The Buffalo Roam, but not quite good enough to not wait for it to come out on DVD.



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