While speaking briefly with Wayne Ewing before seeing his documentary Breakfast With Hunter at the Arclight in Los Angeles about eight months ago, he alerted me to the fact that, even though the film was just beginning its journey on the festival trail, he was already working on a super special collector’s edition DVD with all sorts of cool bells and whistles to play with. Two hours later, I drunkenly stumbled out of the theater with the thought of this DVD coming down the road in the near future keeping me on my feet. Well, it’s finally here and even though it’s not as tricked out as I thought it was going to be, it’s still a super special collector’s edition for any lover of Hunter Thompson’s work as the film itself provides a look inside the life of the good Doctor that very few would be able to capture. A longtime friend and neighbor of Hunter’s, Ewing was granted access to Owl Farm and allowed to videotape Hunter during a time when he was battling the Aspen City Police and watching his most notorious work, “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” transform into a motion picture.
Special features include bonus footage of Hunter working with various artists including P.J. O’Rourke, Don Johnson and the late Warren Zevon – nothing shockingly special here, but good for the ol’ archives anyway – but the star attraction bonus feature is the running commentary by Ewing and Hunter. Apparently it was a real bear to get Hunter to sit still for a commentary, but Wayne finally pulled it off…even if he only gets Hunter to sit through the first half hour. It’s an interesting listen – if Hunter’s talking it’s always interesting at the very least – but nothing too incredibly insightful. Surprisingly, when Ewing is on his own, that’s when the commentary gets really good as he can just relax and tell his side of the story of how it was like being the invisible man in all of these scenes in the life of Hunter presented us. Once again, the one scene that sticks out is the fight between Alex Cox and Hunter that ended Cox’s relationship with the “Fear and Loathing” film. Without the commentary, this scene is an amazing piece of video, incredibly tense, but with the commentary, it gets even more tense as Wayne describes himself crouched on the sofa with his camera, praying to God that the verbal confrontation didn’t turn to physical violence. Wayne knows Hunter a lot better than any of us ever will, so you believe it when he voices his concern about Cox’s well-being. Ewing continues to provide plenty of insight into the rest of the film, making this commentary something like a sequel – Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner with Hunter. This is definitely one for the fans!