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Lit Flicks

Sure, reading is great and all, but Jesus, does it have to be so much work? If only there was some way to feel literary without actually having to read... hey! There're movies about writers, and that's almost as good as reading a book, right? Right!

- Where the Buffalo Roam (1980)--Bill Murray plays gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson with an off-putting amalgamation of ambivalence and predation, which somehow equates to an accurate enough depiction of Thompson. Thompson "reports" on everything from the Super Bowl to guerilla revolutions, all while ingesting enough pharmaceuticals to give Timothy Leary pause. The film succeeds most during its unexpected tangents: Murray screaming as he shoots firearms at office equipment, midget bellboys merrily dancing, a Doberman attacking the crotch of a Nixon dummy. At times, it's even more heady and insightful than Terry Gilliam's adaptation of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, but Buffalo can't pack Fear and Loathing's punch.

- Barfly (1987)--A mediocre adaptation of hard-drinkin', hard-writin' Charles Bukowski's screenplay about man who... well, drinks and writes. And fights. Casting Mickey Rourke as Bukowski stand-in Henry Chinaski could quite possibly be the worst casting decision of all time; Rourke's Henry is a sniveling, whining dumbshit--not the sublimely volatile writer he should be. On the upside, though, Bukowski's screenplay has plenty of solidly clever moments, and the DVD features Bukowski interviews that make it easy to take regular breaks from Rourke's grating, pseudo-intellectual drawl and get a real Bukowski fix.

- All the President's Men (1976) You want writers, huh? Well, hows abouts those crazy motherfuckers who broke Watergate? Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman play the Washington Post's Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, the two reporters almost single-handedly responsible for bringing down Nixon. Not only is this excellent film more tense and frightening than any thriller out there, but its ramifications are as powerful as ever... nah, never mind. Like that Watergate/conspiracy/deceiving the American public sort of shit could ever happen again. ERIK HENRIKSEN

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