Goal: To compare and contrast the movie renditions of two gonzo writers Lester Bangs and Hunter S. Thompson. I will research the background history of the two men, the subjects of their writing and what made them so memorable, their styles, and what set them apart from others that drew producers to their stories. With all of this information, I would like to compare and contrast the movie(s) done about them and whether or not people believe that these movies ‘captured the capture’ of what the authors tried to portray in their writing.
A portion of this will be subjective; not everyone will agree on the film renditions of the authors or how well each was portrayed. In this case, I will try to give a fair selection of reviews so both positive and negative sides are stated.
Carroll, E. Jean. Hunter: The strange and savage life of Hunter S. Thompson. Plume: New York, 1993.
After reading only the first chapter of this book, I see that Carroll has attempted to write a biographical type of book about Thompson in gonzo style; her style is satirical and entertaining, not sparing information but fixating on what some may consider the rude or obscene. Throughout the book, Carroll includes statements from friends and family members, giving the reader a better idea of Thompson, where he came from and how he developed. Also, Carroll’s style will help to reinforce the gonzo tradition.
DeRogatis, Jim. Let it Blurt: The Life and Times of Lester Bangs, America’s Greatest Rock Critic. Broadway Books, New York: 2000.
This book provides background information about Bangs, his childhood, adolescent years and adulthood. DeRogatis includes extensive notes and appendixes that will further aid my research by reassuring the thoroughness of his. The book also includes a section of selected lyrics that will give insight into his writing as well.
Hirst, Dr. Martin. “What is Gonzo? The etymology of an Urban Legend.” School of Journalism and Communication Publications, Queensland, Australia: 2004.
This journal/publication explores the beginning of gonzo journalism and its frontrunners, especially Hunter S. Thompson, but more importantly, it examines the beginning of the new style of writing itself- where it came from, how it originated, even how the name was founded and introduced.
Kramer, Michael J. “Can’t Forget the Motor Ciry”: Creem Magazine, Rock Music, Detroit Identity, Mass Consumerism and Counter Culture.”” Michigan Historical Review. 28.2, 42-77. JSTOR.
Kramer writes about the magazine Creem and how Bangs contributed to its pages and content. Because Creem formed the base from which Bangs jumped to go on to his career and why he was featured in the movie “Almost Famous”, I think this is an important source and viewpoint to include in research.
MacFarlane, Scott. The Hippie Narrative: A Literary Perspective on the Counter Culture. MacFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, North Carolina: 2007.
Thompson has not been selected for this book because of his hippie qualities or tendencies; instead, he is noted for gonzo journalism. The new journalism movement was one of the ways that society was breaking free from prior constraints and hippies see Hunter’s writing as a continuation of that form. Hunter’s writing also jives with some hippie standards because of his drug use; he not only used many drugs but wrote about them as a first person experience.
Thompson, Hunter S. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Other American Stories. Random House, Inc., New York: 1996.
Only by reading Thompson’s writing can one get a true feeling of gonzo writing and the methods used to bring gonzo to life. His original work will serve as a template on which to base my own opinions; I want to be able to critique how well the movie producers matched Thompson’s writing to the work they put on the screen. Also, reading original work gives a better understanding of the man himself.
Thompson, Hunter S. Fear and Loathing in America: The Brutal Odyssey of an Outlaw Journalist (1968-1976). Simon and Schuster: New York, 2000.
This collection of letters will be able to provide more insight into Thompson’s thoughts and feelings, rather than relying on what others believed he thought or felt. This also includes extensive letters to political powers which will provide background information about Thompson’s thoughts and musings about the government.
Torrey, Beef and Kevin Simonson, ed. Conversations with Hunter S. Thompson. University Press of Mississippi, Jackson: 2008.
This source will be useful because it places Thompson in the genre of gonzo; not only does the book include conversations with and about Thompson and others that played a critical role in his development but also gives background and definition to the literary invention of gonzo and how that development fits with the larger creation of new journalism.