Where the Buffalo Roam (1980)

Where the Buffalo Roam (1980) – Do not go into this movie expecting something along the lines of Terry Gilliam’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. While both films are based on source material by legendary gonzo journalist Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, they have very different approaches. Where the Buffalo Roam features Bill Murray as Thompson. Peter Boyle plays “Carl Lazlo, Esq.,” a very obvious pastiche of Oscar Zeta Acosta (immortalized as Dr. Gonzo in Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas). Some of the scenes involving Thompson on the phone with his editor (Bruno Kirby as a stand-in for Rolling Stone editor Jann Wenner) are good for some laughs. Murray does reasonably well as Thompson and the narration carries the cadence of the good doctors words, but something about this movie feels off. It almost feels like we’re supposed to laugh AT Thompson, as opposed to laughing at his biting insights about the world at large. Where the Buffalo Roam is not a bad film, it just feels somewhat disingenuous. You’d be better off seeing Alex Gibney’s amazing documentary Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson.

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