Thursday, February 23, 2012

Johnny Depp's Puerto Rican Rum Diary

Just when the world couldn't tolerate another Pirates of the Caribbean sequel fleecing cash out of the cool original, super-wealthy super-Johnny makes Journalists of the Caribbean: a literary film that restores his reputation as a serious artist who despises the rich. Actually, it's called The Rum Diary. Based on the Hunter S. Thompson novel, this movie is more than good enough to let our beloved Deppster take his wad of money back to France and hold his head up high amongst his Disney-and-new-money-hating neighbors. Good call Johnny.

The setting is 1960 Puerto Rico. Yet, the green plants and brown folks are mostly just props behind a conflict between conservative businessmen who know the price of everything but the value of nothing and liberal journalists who wanna fix the world but can't fix their own laziness and drunkenness. Can you feel the drama? I know I can. Plus, as if that weren't enough, we have streamlined cars and babes from an age when you were allowed to appreciate the beauty of such objects without being a machismo jerk.

(Yes, women are objects: something material that may be perceived by the senses. However, I promise to acknowledge every day of my life that you ladies are soooooooooo much more. May I now have absolution for my sins and my very being? Thank you. I can feel the healing touch of hundreds of women coming across the internet, simultaneously forgiving me for my frighteningly-masculine ways. Oh yeah ... that healing touch ... a little lower please!)

The Rum Diary is a picturesque film with a good sense of time and place but would be a better movie were it not so superficial. Johnny believes it's meaningful, because Hunter S. Thompson is his idol. The journalist lead character claims to understand why kids scavenge for food while banks have shiny brass doors. Yet, he is only gonzo for getting the scoop on "bastards" of the opposing viewpoint. I've also spent years in Latin America. I've discussed the suffering of the poor, the inequality of opportunity and the exploitation of nature in country clubs where that doesn't make you popular. Likewise, I've discussed substance abuse, lack of self discipline and dysfunctional family planning in barrios where that won't get you elected to office.

Until one sees and covers both sides of the story, one isn't such a courageous truth-seeking journalist. Both sides have well-trained pet-writers. For the respect of the informed, Hollywood needs to produce movies which suggest they know more about the world than the view from a hotel balcony and understand the causes of global misery coming from the left as well as the right of the ideological spectrum. Such perceptive films may not garner vast audiences or pirate booty, but wasn't this supposed to be a literary film? I guess highly literate and globally informed are two different things.

1 comment:

  1. I fell about laughing, Lyn! Particularly at that one paragraph about women!

    I haven't seen the movie yet, but I'll check it out.