F&L and the American Dream

by Hunter S. Thompson

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F&L and the American Dream

Unread postby suki » Sun Sep 18, 2005 11:13 am

I'm reading a new edition of Shooting Stars: Drugs, Hollywood and the Movies by Harry Shapiro and due out 29 September. The book discusses two Johnny films - Blow and Fear and Loathing.

There's a chapter devoted to F and L (and Withnail and I) called 'We failed to paint it black', which traces the genesis of the film from Thompson''s original assignment via Alex Cox's script, Johnny's preparation, to Gilliam's final movie. This is from the book, and discusses the American Dream:

"Vegas is a truly depressing place," said Gilliam. "I think I was there for five weeks in all. It just gets to you, it's non-stop. It really is the American Dream and all of America is there. I don't know what Vegas is because it's a total disconnection from any reality that exists on the planet. Nothing really has any meaning, it's all ersatz, everything is pretending to be something, it it has no reality. Even the architecture doesn't have any meaning...It's just bizarre!"

He compared Vegas with Bad Boy's island in Pinocchio. "it's beautiful and it's got everything, yet there's a rot at the centre which is actually destroying something. F and L is about an anarchic quality, a sense of madness, of pushing things, including yourself, to the limit." The destruction of rooms and cars attacks the heart of America - everything that is precious in the American Dream - which is undermined by drugs (unless you are a rich dealer) overindulgence is almost guaranteed to ensure that you won't acquire the material wealth to realise the dream."

I thought this was apt, as that other book about the American Dream, The Great Gatsby, was one of Thompson's favourites.
"Life was Finnegan's Wake, to be sure, except for those times when it was Marvel Comics."

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Unread postby Liz » Sun Sep 18, 2005 11:22 am

Interesting find, Suki.

Keep this all in mind when we discuss Gatsby and that illusive American Dream in a few days.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Unread postby gilly » Mon Sep 19, 2005 1:08 am

Interesting tidbit,Suki..His description of LV as ersatz,sounds pretty accurate :cool:
Life is beautiful.

I have faith in you.

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