170. Where the Buffalo Roam (Art Linson, 1980)
This works as a bit of a follow up to the Hunter S. Thompson documentary I watched just recently. This is a sort of semi-fictionalised account of Thompson’s productive period from ’68 to ’72. Bill Murray does a good impression of the man himself and Peter Boyle is Lazlo his ever deranged lawyer accomplice prix du viagra france. There’s no narrative thread to the film as such, it just charts Thompson’s rise to covering politics and his disintegrating friendship with Lazlo.
The whole film seems to have been made by people in awe of Thompson and his writing. I happen to share a love of the works of Thompson but I also think that he was a bit of an arse as a person – Where the Buffalo Roam doesn’t alter anything about that. In fact it doesn’t do much at all.
Note: Where the Buffalo Roam is listed in the Neon book 1000 Essential Movies on Video under Saturday Night Live Movies.
87. Broken Flowers (Jim Jarmusch, 2005)
The recent phase of Bill Murray’s career has been an odd one indeed. He seems to be doing chunks of cameo/voice-over work to pay the bills and devoting his time to smaller, more introspective films. There’s a mixed reaction to this, some people want him to just be funny but it is really just a continuation of some of the strange and melancholy work that he was doing during the early part of his career in things like The Razor’s Edge. In Broken Flowers Murray is Don Johnston, an ageing lothario whose latest squeeze leaves him as he receives an anonymous letter from one of his exes. The letter states the he has a son who is looking for him and sets Don on a journey to find out who sent the letter. I’ve not seen much by Jarmusch but I really admire his style – it’s very noticeable. There is a patience and stillness to his scenes that would seem to prefigure another of Murray’s directors, Wes Anderson. It is a slightly frustrating film as there is no real sense of closure but it instead offers a wry wink in direction of Don, whilst he seems to have gone on a journey little has changed externally. But internally the journey has affected him. A thoughtful and attractive film with excellent performances from Murray and the supporting cast.