by Audrey Henricks
Oct 28, 2011
Every year, I go to Aspen, Colorado with a group of people for some good skiing and a convention. My all-time favorite place is just outside of Aspen in a little town called Woody Creek. In Woody Creek, there’s a little restaurant called Woody Creek Tavern. One of their regulars at that tavern was the late, great Hunter S. Thompson. My parents would tell my sister and I that when we would visit Woody Creek Tavern, back in the early 90’s, we would always see Mr. Thompson at the bar drinking and cutting up with the bartender.
Man, I wish I could remember that.
Paul Kemp (Johnny Depp) is a freelance journalist who decides to travel from New York to Puerto Rico to work for the San Juan Star. The Star is an American-based newspaper promoting the wonders Puerto Rico has to offer for the tourists and the service members stationed in the area. Kemp is quickly introduced to suave “entrepreneur” Mr. Sanderson (Aaron Eckhart) and his beautiful girlfriend, Chenault (Amber Heard) pronounced Chane. Kemp is taken back by her beauty and she is all he thinks about.
His friends and counterparts Sala (Michael Rispoli), the paper’s photographer, and Moburg (Giovanni Ribisi), a rum-fried, Hitler-loving journalist, warn him that Sanderson is no good and he should stay away from him. But he stays around just to see Chenault and live the luxurious lifestyle of Mr. Sanderson. He just writes the boys off thinking they have too much Puerto Rican Rum in their system. As time goes on, he sees what Sanderson is plotting - turning one of the local islands into a tourist destination full of resorts and taking away the beauty of the islands, and tries to stop him by writing an article exposing Sanderson and his partners. Kemp tries and tries to let the truth come out, but Sanderson and his crooners beat him to the punch, shutting down the paper and taking the printers with him.
The Rum Diary is not your typical run-of-the-mill movie, but then again, you need to remember who wrote it. It does have the standard mass amounts of alcohol and drug consumption just like the majority of Hunter’s books, but has a more subtlety than Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas I know it’s hard to make a movie from a book because a book has much more detail and happenings than what Hollywood can cram in a two hour motion picture. They certainly tried in this movie. From time to time, I would get lost in what was going on next, the scenes would jump from one scenario to the next, sometimes I would ask myself, “where did that character come from?” and “how did he know that happened?”
I can never say anything bad about any of Hunter S. Thompson’s works. He always had a very different outlook on life in his writings. I wish more writers would do that. We would stop having so many remakes in the movie theaters.