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Sunday, August 31, 2014

'For No Good Reason' BD & DVD: Fascinating in-Depp Doc. of Hunter S. Thompson Collaborator Ralph Steadman

Product Details

The Sony Pictures Classic Blu-ray and DVD releases, which hit real and virtual store shelves on September 2 2014, of the 2012 Johnny Depp hosted and narrated Ralph Steadman documentary "For No Good Reason" provide an excellent primer on one of the most creative artists of the '60s and '70s. The element that bonds Steadman and Depp is their regard and affection for gonzo journalist (and "Doonsebury" inspiration) Hunter S. Thompson.

It is particularly awesome as well that the title of "Reason" is an homage to Thompson. As Steadman explains, the Thompson philosophy includes that things sometimes simply are what they are.

The following clip, courtesy of YouTube, of the trailer for "Reason" further illustrates (of course, pun intended) both the artistic process and style of Steadman and the awesome compatibility between that work and that of Thompson.

Much of the film consists of Steadman reminiscing with Depp regarding the adventures and joint projects involving the former and Thompson. Other scenes, including a highly entertaining early one that shows the unique artistic process of Steadman, focus on the art itself.

The very surreal and figuratively and literally twisted images of the caricatures, animation, and other art of Steadman are both disturbing and brutally honest. These elements are among those behind Thompson recruiting Steadman to draw the illustrations for Thompson's book "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," which provides the basis for a Depp film.

Steadman shares that his bromance with Thompson begins when they are paired to cover the 1970 Kentucky Derby. Finding that they share the same warped outlook and similar counter-culture hobbies leads to a strong friendship and several future collaborations.

The art itself steals the show; watching this truly free-flowing technique create paintings and short films is fascinating, and the animation is extraordinarily stylized. This aspect of "Reason" makes it particularly apt for the Blu-ray format.

Further, Steadman is very nice and seems much more grounded than Thompson. The fact that a man who seems like the nice guy down the street makes such twisted images with exceptional elan will make you wonder what Good Ole Mr. Wilson in the split-level a few doors down gets up to.

All of this adds to a documentary that exceeds the twin goals of this genre of entertaining and informing.

The exceptional bonus features include a must-see animated fable by Steadman and an interview session during the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival at which "Reason" aired.

Anyone with questions and comments regarding "Reason" is strongly encouraged to email me; you can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.

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