The Rum Diary Review and More

Here is the news.  Quick and to the point.  I don’t waste any time here telling you what’s good or bad for your eyes.  All I can do is write what I think and send it towards your brain.  Let you decide what stays.  Prepare for a fresh blast of new material.  I call this…the Daily Dose of Buffa.
 
The Rum Diary Review
 

Walking into The Rum Diary, I didn’t know what to expect.  Hunter S. Thompson’s short story adaptation about a writer’s mental manifestation in Puerto Rico with the help of corruption, friendship, rum and bad choices.  Sounded like something that came across better on the page.  However, the Rum Diary is a wild untamed comedic adventure with its soul based in hardcore old school journalism.  The Pursuit of truth and all its friends.   Chasing a story and stopping at nothing to wrap your head around it.   In a modern age featuring the death of newspapers, this 1960s chaotic tale rings a few bells.   Thompson’s genius was set in his ability to take a period of his regular life and turn it into an adventure.    Johnny Depp helped Thompson unearth the Rum Diary in 1998 and immediately became his co-pilot in bringing it to life.  The tale centers around Depp’s NY writer Paul Kemp and his arrival in San Juan, Puerto Rico for a job at a newspaper.   The paper is being buried into the ground by EJ Lotterman(the brilliant Richard Jenkins), a burnt out editor looking for a safe inspiring writer and instead gets Kemp, an alcoholic misfit who has no problem finding trouble and aims to write the next true no bullshit cover story.   Kemp befriends newspaper photographer Bob(Michael Rispoli, reliable as usual) and they start to investigate a local businessman Sanderson(Aaron Eckhart) after he confronts Kemp about writing positive stories about his land deal.   All is fine until Kemp grows a conscience and falls for Sanderson’s fiance’, Channel(Amber Heard, old school sexy).   Soon enough, Kemp is way in over his head, playing with fire, chasing a story no one wants to hear and getting himself and anyone in the same zip code into a lot of trouble. This is a perfect foil for Depp’s understated crazy madness.  Here is an actor who can let go of his comfortable reputation with one scene yet never have to overplay a gig for extended laughs.  Depp makes playing a mad writer in a bad spot look easy and thus the movie is easy on the eyes.  At the heart of it all here is the pursuit of renegade journalism.  All Kemp wants to do is right real honest economy biting columns and hits brick walls of safety until he gets his hands on a corruption case he simply let go of.   The Rum Diary isn’t perfect.  It slows way down at the mid point, goes in 6 different directions and the plot is sometimes hairline.   However, the intent is right there to see.   Thompson wrote these stories by inserting himself into an adventure.  Kemp is an alternate personality of Thompson, who wrote for a paper in San Juan in 1960.  He does what every creative writer with intention strives to do.   Create a fantasy to prove a point.  There’s ton’s of great one liners here that sting.  Staying with Kemp and Bob is Moburg, played with a go for broke rage by Giovanni Ribisi.  Moburg is the writer who says all the things many are afraid to.  Moburg on the existence of GOD.  “This entire way of life started with slavery and the depression and then they handed out GOD like soap.  If the bible is God’s good book, why did he hand a copy to everyone?”   Ribisi, Rispoli and Depp make a hell of a dark comedic team and the entire movie is played off as an extended psychedelic acid trip.   Depp is amazing in keeping things loose and low key and the plot moves just enough to bring us to an end of days climax for journalism and the papers that carries a timely hit for the fall of newspapers.  The Rum Diary sweats hardcore method reporting, dirty notepads, broke down cars, alcohol induced adventures, outlandish behavior disguised as a search for the truth.    Outstanding.  See The Rum Diary if you want something original with a message attached to it.   Write until death finds you.
 
Bob Forsch Dies
A week after throwing out the first pitch at Game 7, Cards pitching great Bob Forsch has died of mysterious causes at his home at the age of 61.   A real sudden shock for a franchise in disarray right after winning the World Series.   Reports have Forsch collapsing, which would lead one to believe from an apparent heart attack.    Whether or not the cause sticks, the loss of Forsch is brutal.   Forsch is the only Cardinal in history to pitch 2 no hitters and finished with 163 wins all time, second on the team’s list.   He threw his second no hitter in 1983, a year after I was born and retired in 1989 so I never got to see him pitch live but I have been told stories about his understated brilliance.   Forsch shut teams down with his mix of offspeed pitches and decent fastball.   A true Hall of Famer who circled the wagon when he threw the first pitch out last Friday before the Cards clinched.   A tough break for the Cards and a sad one for Forsch’s family.  RIP #40.
Update-Forsch died of an anneurism in his upper chest.  
 
Floyd Starts His Games
A week before Manny Pacquiao fights Juan Marquez, Floyd Mayweather Jr. is doing his usual publicity stunt aimed right at Pac Man.   When he fought Antonio Margarito, Floyd made a racist video making fun of Manny’s nationality.  Now, he comes out and says his team is locking down the MGM Grand on May 5th, 2012 for the biggest fight in history.   This comes after 2 years of ducking Manny and his pleas to get into the ring.     Floyd is a trash talking troublemaker, but is this the way to do business.   This is unprofessional, something that has marred my respect for Mayweather Jr.’s skill and unbeaten record.   Floyd has fought old men and unworthy opponents lately, including Oscar De La Hoya, Shane Mosley, and Juan Marquez.   The first two guys Manny pounded into submission and ended their careers.   Why is Floyd doing this?  He is masking his fear of fighting Manny straight up.    He must put together this mental game, which won’t have any barring on Pacquiao.   I don’t think Floyd got into Manny’s head before the Margarito fight, when he beat the much bigger Margarito so bad he sent him to the hospital for a broken orbital bone.  Margarito hasn’t fought since.   Manny is destroying his opponents.  You see what I am saying here.   Instead of doing things right, Floyd is going the bully route and pegging Manny as a guy who doesn’t want to fight.  All this time, Manny has wanted to fight Floyd and made it clear.   First, Floyd made this big deal about olympic testing before the fight, to which Manny balked towards at first but eventually agreed to. Floyd walked away and stayed away.   Why?  He is afraid. What other reason is there? Manny is in the best shape of his career and after he pummels Marquez once and for all, Floyd has to be next.   There is too much money on the table for these two to resist each other much longer.  Watching Manny train on HBO’s 24/7, one gets the feeling he is taking this one personally.   Facing the one man who ever gave him a real challenge and finishing him.   I look at this picture and I see a scared man using the media and fans as a shield covering his fear.   When the fight is over on November 12th, Floyd can do the proper thing and have his people at Golden Boy get in touch with Manny’s promoter, Bob Arum.  Will Floyd be willing to put his unbeaten record on the line?  We will see. 
 
Cards Managerial Search Heats up
Names flying across the board all over the past couple of days.   Former Cardinal Joe McEwing, Memphis coach Chris Maloney, and former Cub Ryne Sandberg all got interviews this week.   Today, Terry Francona flies into St. Louis for a meeting with John Mozelaik and Bill DeWitt Jr. to see if he is a fit for this club.   I like the wide range in candidates but I know it will come down to Jose Oquendo and Francona.    Internal or external hopefuls will be cut down.   Sandberg and McEwing are nice thoughts, but hardly real manager material.   What happens?  I still like Francona, and if he expresses real interest today in the job, the Cards need to hire him and keep Theo Epstein from bringing him to Chicago.  You can’t pass up on a veteran winner like Tito unless you are 100 percent sure Oquendo(who I like for it but not my favorite choice after further analysis) is fit for the job.   The Cards don’t need to stretch here.
 
Theo’s Work in Cubs land
The kid is trying to spit shine the misery dwell in Wrigley, but I am still not afraid of this team.   Theo can reformat this team and add players and trade bodies and the Cubs will still continue to lose.   He turned around one curse but turning the Cubs from 71-91 losers into winners is no easy task.    Epstein has been busy lately.  He fired manager Mike Quade, told Sandberg he wasn’t getting the job, flew in Francona,told Aramis Rameriz his services weren’t needed and is looking at Pujols and Prince Fielder as first base candidates.   Good for him.  The Cubs still suck.  The turnaround in Wrigley won’t be as fast as Boston.  Curse me for saying this but I just don’t see it happening.   If he is deeming all these coaches and players unfit for the little bears costume, why is Carlos Zambrano still on the team?
 
The Blues Face a Big Test
Exactly one year after David Perron went down with a concussion that’s kept him from game play since then, the Blues are still a riddle unsolved.   Tons of questions, inconsistent play and trade rumors starting in early November.  The preseason anthem is clear.  Don’t stop believing indeed.   Who knows when this team will be dominant again?   Please don’t cry to me about Andy McDonald being hurt.   The additions of Jason Arnott and Jamie Langenbrunner were supposed to shore up the lack of veteran depth on this team.    The Cards were dealt a stiff blow in spring training when Adam Wainwright went down.   Jaroslav Halak, luck withstanding, hasn’t played good enough.  He is slow and struggles to defend rebounds.   Backup Brian Elliot already has a fan page and better results in nearly the same amount of playing time.   Trouble exists on every corner and while the Blues are 5-6 overall, there seems to be a shadow of doubt around this team.  No one is safe.   Head coach Davis Payne is on the hot seat in his second full season.   T.J. Oshie and Patrik Berglund are having disappointing years after signing new contracts.   Ben Bishop and Ian Cole are expendable.  The next 10 games before the year starts its closing cermonies are huge for the Blues.   If the inconsistent play continues and they only win 4-5 games, change is coming.  Any logical fan can see this.   See something not working and try to fix it.  The same process is happening at the Edward Jones Dome with the Rams.   The Rebuilding phase isn’t pretty, especially when the team struggles past the point where the phase was complete.  The Blues need to win and do it quick.   It’s early in hockey town and the Blues have a pulse, but what else do they have in store before the New Year?  Either they are gelling or look different come 2012.   On January 2nd, 2010, Andy Murray was fired in the middle of a disappointing season.  Does the House Payne await the same fate?
 
Smaller Things-
*The Lokomotiv hockey team crash in Russia comes at the hands of a pilot error.   Moments before takeoff, the pilot accidentally pressed on the brakes, keeping the plane from gaining enough and speed for takeoff.   The plane derailed and crashed.  Horrible news for the hockey world.  It wasn’t a twist of fate yet only a mistake on one man’s part.  He not only put himself in danger but took 41 other souls with him to the ground.   Bad moment or lingering issue?  Answers will come soon.   The Blues honor the fallen former Blues players Pavol Demitra and Igor Koralev on November 8th. 
 
*At this stage in fatherhood, Vinny is basically a little drunk.   He shits in his pants, throws up over his family, pisses at random, always has the munchies and cries a lot afterwards.  Little drunk stage here at 7 weeks.   He is so adorable that you can’t manage to get mad at him.   It’s impossible.  He is throwing up due to reflux and it comes in heavy amounts all over us, the couch, floor and moving objects.  He is a reckless little man and the hardest deal here is trying to keep him calm after an incident.  The kid has stronger lungs than Mariah Carey.   Parenthood works over you one day at a time.
 
*It’s a good sign to let Rafael Furcal wait while the Cards find a manager, deal with Albert and breathe slightly, but GM John Mozelaik needs to wrap the SS spot up.  Find out what he wants and see where his agent stands.   Furcal isn’t a guy we can’t win without, but he brought something to this team(high caliber defense, occasional pop) and if he is in the right price range, you strike.  Shortstop is too important of a position.  At this point, the Cards have to be keeping a portion of the payroll put aside for potential Albert money. 
 
*Chris Carpenter practiced with the Blues yesterday.   Carp was an all state defenseman in high school, stands tall and mean at 6 foot 5 inches, and has to be a mighty presence on the ice.   It’s cool to see the STL teams having some fun together.   We all know Carp got to move around on the ice and at any given moment a Blues player could take him off his feet, but can you imagine the big Ace throwing down in a brawl.   I’d pay to see it.  Can he sign a waiver and play defense for a few games? Come on.
 
*What’s next at the movies?  For now, nothing.   Paranormal Activity 3 and Ides of March have to wait as I don’t like to spend too much time away from the kid.   Picking movies is a cracked apart science I am still working on, but I hit the theaters once every 2 weeks.  That’s where Blockbuster comes into play.  Staying home is the number 1 option when it comes to being in control of a human. 
 
*If the Rams lose on Sunday, they may not be worth watching for a while.   Losing to a 1-6 team without their starting quarterback and a dismal offensive line to begin with paints a sad picture here.   While it won’t mean much in catching San Francisco, this weekend’s game is huge.   If Bradford starts, we HAVE to win.  No excuses now that the schedule has gone soft.
 
*Song of the Day-Bon Iver performing “Blood Bank”.  Copy and paste it into youtube and enjoy. A somber Friday ride home tune that’s just right for a soul in need of rest. 
 
*Last Thought.  Brothers and sisters are important.   Parents are the makers and the keepers until a certain age, but siblings are the connective tissue as we get older and more distant.   I don’t get to see my brother a lot and it hurts more than one can imagine.   No detail needed.   All I am saying is if you have a brother or sister, don’t ever stop trying to keep the bond alive.   They are your blood and the last line of defense.  
 
It’s time to follow my own rules here.  Shut it down.  Get away.   Go outside and do something useful or at least try.   Thanks for reading.  Eyes are always appreciated.
 
Goodnight,
 
D.L.B.
 
 
 
 
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Author: D. Buffa

A regular guy who feels a journalistic hunger to tell the news. I blog because its wired into my brain to write what I think in print. I offer an opinion. A solo tour here. Take regular stories and offer my spin on them. Sports, film, television, music, fatherhood, culture, food, and so on. Commentary on everything. A St. Louis native and Little Rock resident who wants to write just to keep the hands fresh and ready.

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