April, 1980: Where the Buffalo Roam

For a movie that follows the zany antics of the drug-crazed, gonzo-journalism-godfather Hunter S. Thompson, Where the Buffalo Roam is surprisingly boring and dry. Unlike its counterpart that was released nearly twenty years later (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas), this film incorporates the high jinks of the late, great journalist in a clunky and boring fashion.

Where the Buffalo roams centers largely around Thompson’s interactions with his boisterous attorney and large_k8exrtguruplrwpuz0olht4rhuoconfidant, Lazlo. The two travel throughout southern-California all the while breaking out of rehab centers, defending young hippies from drug offenses, joining Latin militia groups, and trashing national press planes. This is all good and well, but Lazlo repeatedly pulls Thompson away from his duties as a writer and that happens over and over for nearly two hours.

Ultimately, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas succeeded where this film failed because it allowed us to peer inside Thompson’s mind through many clever drug sequences; it also incorporated much of the writer’s actual work through voice-over narration. Where the Buffalo Roam does neither and instead follows a linear storyline that never really lets its audience connect with either character– or anyone for that matter.

Stellar performances by both Bill Murray (Thompson) and Peter Boyle (Lazlo) go mostly wasted in this poorly-constructed hodgepodge of vignettes, and some copies of this film don’t even have the great score from legendary musician Neil Young due to copywright issues. Thompson claimed that the events in the film were based in reality, but this seems hardly believable and it suffers from over-whimsy in the worst way.

Matt's rating: 1/5
Gabe's rating: 2/5
Rewind Cinema composite: 3/10

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