This week, ASP Films presents two movies about journalist Hunter S. Thompson: “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” on Monday, Feb. 2 at 7 and 9:30 p.m. in VU 552 and “Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson” on Tuesday, Feb. 3 and Wednesday, Feb. 4 at 7 and 9:30 p.m. in VU 552.
Thompson is the creator of “Gonzo journalism,” a style of writing that makes the journalist a subject in the story and often blends fact and fiction. In short, he broke every rule that journalism professors work so hard to teach students like me.
“Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” is based on the novel of the same name by Thompson. The story is about a trip Thompson took to Las Vegas with attorney Oscar Zeta Acosta in 1971. The purpose of the trip was to write an article for a sports magazine about a motorcycle race. Instead, Thompson and Acosta ended up taking copious amounts of drugs and embarking on a bizarre adventure through the city of sin.
“Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” is part autobiographical and part fictional. In the film, Thompson is portrayed by a character named Raoul Duke (Johnny Depp) and Acosta is portrayed by Dr. Gonzo (Benicio Del Toro). Both actors put on great performances that make this larger-than-life novel's transition to film highly entertaining.
“Gonzo” is a biographical documentary on Thompson, featuring home movies and audiotapes by the journalist himself. Such a personal portrait of the life of Thompson is likely to be hilarious and bizarre.
Choose how you want to experience Thompson: Through the hallucinogenic haze of “Fear and Loathing” or the up-close-and-personal lens of “Gonzo” or both. “Fear and Loathing” is free and “Gonzo” is a scant one American dollar for admission.