This is a movie where Ichabod from Sleepy Hollow teams up with a fat Mexican dude named Benicio Del Toro, and these two drive to Las Vegas on 700 different types of drugs to cover a motorcycle race for a magazine. I believe Bill Murray played this same Ichabod character back in the ’80s based on the real guy, Hunter S. Thompson who wrote the book.
Now as you know I’m sober as the Pope during Lent, but I can still appreciate a good drug movie at least as long as it’s this good. The filmatist behind this one, Terry Gilliam, creates a nightmare Las Vegas world where hallucinations of dripping floors and cocktail drinking lizards and nippled buffaloes becomes reality. And the real trip is in the last act of the picture when suddenly Ichabod wakes up in the most trashed hotel room of all time – it looks like a junkyard on top of a lagoon – and tries to remember what happened. All the sudden he has an alligator tail and he’s dictating to a tape recorder duct taped to his mouth. I mean I think we can all relate to that type of morning in my opinion.
The reason this picture works is because of the two actors, Ichabod and Benicio, who are both funny and crazy but likable. Well, at least Ichabod is likable. My favorite scene is when Benicio pulls a knife on some people in an elevator and later declares that the woman fell in love with him, he could tell by the eye contact. “It’s serious, man.” I mean these are two crazy motherfuckers, you can’t believe the shit they are doing, and it seems like they just don’t know how to be any other way. I like the part where Ichabod walks into a police convention and the movie does an x-ray number on his suitcase to remind us that it is filled with every illegal drug ever invented.
But I guess what I really liked about this one is the spirit behind this guy trying to cover a motorcycle race in true Outlaw fashion. I mean this motherfucker is not looking for the same thing the other reporters are. He doesn’t even know shit about the bikes and he doesn’t watch much of the race, all he knows for sure is that it started. He puts himself into the story and tries to learn something about people and American culture and how the times are a changin and what not. In other words if this dude was a film critic he would NOT be allowed in the OFCS.
I admire anyone who wants to approach something from a new angle and comes out with a halfway decent product. And this book the dude wrote is an American classic thank you very much.
This is the end of the review now sorry
VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.