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Where the Buffalo Roam
Year:
1980
Country:
USA
Genre:
Biography, Comedy
IMDB rating:
6.4
Director:
Art Linson
Bruno Kirby as Marty Lewis
Rafael Campos as Rojas
Otis Day as Man #1 (as De Wayne Jessie)
Lisa Taylor as Ruthie
Jon Matthews as Billy Kramer
Leonard Frey as Desk Clerk
Joe Ragno as Willins
Leonard Gaines as Super Fan
Danny Goldman as Porter
R.G. Armstrong as Judge Simpson
Rene Auberjonois as Harris (as René Auberjonois)
Mark Metcalf as Dooley
Bill Murray as Hunter S. Thompson
Peter Boyle as Lazlo
Storyline: The deranged adventures of Gonzo journalist Hunter Thompson and his attorney Oscar Acosta, referred to in the movie as "Laslow". Thompson attempts to cover the Super Bowl and the 1972 Presidential election in his typical drug-crazed state, but it continually and comically sidetracked by his even more twisted friend Laslow. Allegedly based on actual events.
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Reviews
Bill Murray is The Man.
Bill Murray IS Hunter S. Thompson. I loved the book 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas' and was so disappointed by the ludicrous cartoon-like portrayal realised by Johnny Depp in the film, 'Fear and Loathing'. His Thompson was simply buffoon-like and completely one dimensional, and despite everything else being good, (especially Benicio del Toro), for me, Depp ruined the whole feel.

Bill Murray on the other hand perfectly captures Thompson's eclectic, cynical intelligence and projects him as a whole 3-dimensional person who is believable, even through his substance-addled behaviour, from start to finish. Peter Boyle gives great support as his psychotic lawyer and I just can't recommend this film more highly! Watch it and decide for yourself.
2002-11-08
A great, great film
Most negative reviews seem to come from people who saw Depp before Murray. Pity. For serious HST readers or even those who only know The Great Shark Hunt, WTBR offered a comic relief side so sadly lacking in Depp's one-dimensional, cardboard, just quote your lines performance (and I'm a big Depp fan). As for "Murray being Murray" - such a comment can only come from people who saw this after the rest of Bill's work. It was one of the earliest and best - indeed laid the base for much of his 80s and 90s work. Boyle is frenetic, allowing Murray to play sidekick for a change. A great option. HST's written rants were always harsh but always fair, no doubt composed coming off a bender. Who then is to say WTBR's omission of much of these is wrong, rather than simply a portrayal of the benders. We all know what he wrote and how he wrote - I'm glad WTBR chose to portray who HST was and the chaotic situations he put himself in rather than become some art-house naval-gazing about the tortured creative process of a scathingly intelligent commentator. Mind you - I did see it as the second part of a double header with Eraserhead ! Sadly, no video copies of WTBR exist in Australia. Can anyone help me ?
2005-05-11
Which One?
The comparison of WTBR and F & L is pointless. Each actor brings something different to their version of HST, his "lawyer" etc . . . Gilliam certainly brought his own style to the more text based project, but enough of that. You'll see plenty of conflicting viewpoints in the other comments. Which WTBR you see will determine how much you like or dislike this film will depend on which version you see. I've seen at least three versions of this movie, and possibly a couple more. And although essentially the same movie, they're all totally different. The adding of a simple 30 second scene changed the entire tone of the film in one version. In another it was just the soundtrack that was changed. It was as though they lost the rights to the original soundtrack -- or just couldn't keep up the payments -- and had to replace the tunes with some second-stringers. It's amazing how much something like changing the songs in the soundtrack effects the feel of the thing as much as anything happening on screen. The original release is the only one really worth seeing. And you're not likely to. As far as I know, it doesn't not exist anymore. I caught it on cable when it was fairly new. All of the versions I've seen since on TV or video were the inferior versions that have the added scenes and or the adulterated soundtrack. So even if you've mat have seen this movie, you probably still haven't.
2004-04-14
Take a walk on the wild side
I only recently heard of this movie, and i'm quite surprised that I didn't hear of it earlier. Seeing as I watched and loved Fear and loathing in las vegas with Johnny Depp, I was super stoked to watch this. After seeing the first few scenes, I noticed how well Bill Murray portrays Hunter Thompson. It's completely from the same world as Depp's variation, With more of an 80's feel. This wacky story may not appeal to everyone, people looking for a deep story line or a lot of action won't like this. But if you are into Hunter Thompsons work, or Bill Murray, you will definitely enjoy this walk on the wild side

7/10
2007-01-15
True to the spirit of Thompson's work
Bill Murry had Thompson down pat IMHO. Wacky, sacreligious. Zany.....

Kept my interest..a definate must for a Hunter Thompson fan.

2001-09-09
A Great Movie
This was a great movie. Bill Murray did an outstanding job of capturing HST's voice inflection and mannerisms Granted this film appears more low budget than Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (also a great movie), however that does not mean it is any less funny or enjoyable to watch. If you can get a copy with the original soundtrack, it does make a difference. Look on ebay, you can most likely find one for cheap. I got my copy for about ten dollars and was worth every penny. Just wish I could have found it on DVD with the original soundtrack, but that's something I've never seen.

Gonzo Journalism is dead...RIP HST....you will be missed.
2005-02-25
Not perfect, but still great.
HST purists may scoff, but this movie still holds its own. Not as dark as "Fear and Loathing..." but way more fun, this is a great party movie. In a way, its aimlessness reflects the early 70s era and Murray's performance is pretty hilarious. Not sure if there was any of his patented improvising, but he's pretty off the wall (washing his sneakers in a public bathroom and disrobing while talking to Nixon?). There's no real plot, just random adventure of HST with reocurring visits from Peter Boyle as the radically liberal Lazlo. I remember that "Fear and Loathing..." generated a ton of hype, but this film better captures the drunken spirit of HST and his tales.
2007-08-02
Fair weather fans need not apply
Very interesting to see everybody's opinion on this film...from the Murray fan's who know nothing of Thompson to the Thompson fans who think nothing of Murray. To those who have seen both Buffalo and FnL, it should be apparent that either HST really acted like that, or Depp just copied Murray. Either way, this film falls just short of passable only due to Linson's mis-direction...The film seems to serve better as a pastiche of popular Thompson pieces rather than a cohesive succession of events...with no overarching direction, the movie dovetails into preachy idealism and disjointed plot angles that ultimately don't arrive at a narrative conclusion...Still, as has been the common disclaimer, the movie is necessary for anyone who considers themselves to be rabid HST fans...It should be noted, also, that several critics, and even HST himself, have hinted, if not completely insinuated, that his use of drugs in his work, to an extent, was exaggerated for numerous reasons, not the least of which is to expand and authoritative his voice as that of his disgruntled generation...I cringe when I see so many people who seem to be more fascinated by his drug use than his actual body of work...Obviously he used a fair amount of drugs in his life, but it seems to have cast a permanent, impenetrable shadow over his legacy, as if using copious amounts of drugs somehow solidified his credibility...I like drugs, but this misunderstanding of HST and his work is demeaning both to his family and his future...
2006-02-14
Unbelievably NOT Funny
It's hard to believe Hunter S. Thompson's life and writings could be made in to a movie without making it funny. Yet, Where the Buffalo Roam has done it. Even Bill Murray, who should be perfect as Thompson, is unconvincing, self-conscious, and... not funny. Virtually every gag falls flat as the movie bemuses you with badly it can mess up something with so much humour potential.

On the bright side, it's interesting to see how many scenes Terry Gilliam stole directly from this film for Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and how much of Johnny Dep's acting style for that film was taken from Bill Murray.
2003-01-28
Though not without flaws, or missteps, it still is oddly funny
I've read, or at least heard, that Hunter S. Thompson didn't like this film when it came out. I can sense the reasons why after watching it the other night. While it takes some specific events and the times of his career in the later 60's and early 70's, there's nothing really holding it together, and the scenes showcasing his madness (of course not without its truths) are so over the top at times it's questionable what is closer to the facts or closer to a Cheech and Chong comedy. On the other hand, the fact that it is a Cheech and Chong style comedy of sorts, with our two heroes wreaking havoc wherever they go in their perpetual search for the truth or the American dream or good drugs leading to some hilarious results.

We're taken through Thompson's knack for keeping his editor (here played in some good stature and tenseness by Bruno Kirby) on edge by delaying the "best story I've ever written" as Hunter says, his witnessing of terrible outcomes with his attorney Carl Laszlo on trial, his meetings with Laszlo in the 'underground', and his time spent on the campaign trail in 1972. The only problem is producer/director Art Linson (who is indeed more of a producer than a director, see his credits) and screenwriter John Kaye don't have the kind of structure that made Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas such a rush; there isn't much method to the madness (at times), which is true to the Gonzo form, but for the most part it is really just random acts of destruction and chaos from the Doctor and his attorney. This would be all fine if there was more truth to the characters.

I think it's right how other reviewers have said that if you've seen the Terry Gilliam film with Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro before this film you might have similar expectations or want something that wild on the plate here. But if you've also read Dr. Thompson's writings (I haven't read the ones listed as the inspirations in the credits, but I have read Fear & Loathing in America, right from this time period), you'll see a different man than is portrayed here, who is made more of just a simple caricature than as a full being. 'Las Vegas' had him as a caricature too, but at least there the atmosphere was set-up to compliment the characters and 'real life' scenarios. Here, Bill Murray takes the Thompson persona, but his performance really works because he is, well, Bill Murray. And Murray can only take the two-dimensional, Hollywood form of Thompson only so far.

On the end of the performances alone, the film scores some points against the flaws in the script; Murray's turn here is like a 180 from his turns in the recent Lost in Translation or Broken Flowers. Here he has unexplainable bouts of screeches, shoots random shots from his guns at objects, and if he's let out into a hotel room, watch out. The thing that's curious though is how the film isn't quite as funny when Peter Boyle, as the Oscar Acosta inspired Laszlo, comes onto the screen. Boyle's had some great performances (Young Frankenstein, Monster's Ball), but this isn't one of them. He's even more two-dimensional than Thomspon is portrayed; he starts out defending the little guy, but then turns completely to anarchy. One or two scenes are amusing, when he enters unexpectedly in a Nixon mask, but they're few and far between. If for no other reason to see the film, therefore, is for Murray, who brings a random absurdity of his own that somehow helps to bring a little more depth than the script allows.

So, if I were to recommend which Thompson film to see first, I would go to Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas. However, if you're more of a Murray fan than Depp's, and might feel tipsy by Gilliam's style, then you might like the slightly safer insanity of Linson's film. Not a bad film, but it could've been better.
2005-09-20
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