Will 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas' be a rental hit?

By Liane Bonin
November 18, 1998 at 05:00 AM EST
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Will Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas meet a better fate on video than the one it suffered at the box office this summer? It’s hard to imagine it can do any worse: The $18.5 million movie opened on the same day last May as the $120 million “Godzilla.” Worse, EW movie critic Owen Gleiberman gave “Fear and Loathing” a D+ and called it “witless, hysterical, monotonous, inexplicable, and excruciating.” But even if you don’t believe that Terry Gilliam’s movie about a hallucinogenic trip to Las Vegas by a sportswriter (Johnny Depp) and a Samoan attorney (Benicio Del Toro) will look better on the small screen (EW did, giving the video a B+), it wouldn’t be the first time a bomb sees prosperity on the video-rental charts. Just take a look at this week’s rental chart: “Mercury Rising,” “Black Dog,” and “Species II” all tanked at the box office yet are among the current top 10 rentals. Here are some other videos available this week:

  • Can?t Hardly Wait Jennifer Love Hewitt, Ethan Embry, and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”‘s Seth Green star in this ’90s version of “Sixteen Candles” about a shy student (Embry) who reveals his love for the girl of his dreams (Hewitt, natch) at a frenzied high school graduation party. (EW Grade: B+)
  • Operation Condor 2: The Armour of the Gods With English-dubbed, imported Jackie Chan films — basically all of ’em, considering “Rush Hour” was his first American made, American-directed film — what sounds new probably isn’t. “Condor 2” is no exception: The film is a 1986 Hong Kong release called “Armour of God” that originally preceded the 1997 U.S. movie known as “Operation Condor.” In any case, Chan’s usual martial-arts antics get diluted in this film by silly mystical themes. (EW Grade: B-)
  • Dirty Work Former “Saturday Night Live” smart aleck Norm Macdonald plays a desperate, job-hungry lout who decides to start up his own revenge-for-hire business. Also starring Chevy Chase and Don Rickles. (EW Grade: D-)
  • A Bright Shining Lie Bill Paxton plays John Paul Vann, a military adviser who wages war against communism, in this HBO adaptation of Neil Sheehan’s nonfiction book. (EW Grade: C+)

  • Can?t Hardly Wait Jennifer Love Hewitt, Ethan Embry, and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”‘s Seth Green star in this ’90s version of “Sixteen Candles” about a shy student (Embry) who reveals his love for the girl of his dreams (Hewitt, natch) at a frenzied high school graduation party. (EW Grade: B+)
  • Operation Condor 2: The Armour of the Gods With English-dubbed, imported Jackie Chan films — basically all of ’em, considering “Rush Hour” was his first American made, American-directed film — what sounds new probably isn’t. “Condor 2” is no exception: The film is a 1986 Hong Kong release called “Armour of God” that originally preceded the 1997 U.S. movie known as “Operation Condor.” In any case, Chan’s usual martial-arts antics get diluted in this film by silly mystical themes. (EW Grade: B-)
  • Dirty Work Former “Saturday Night Live” smart aleck Norm Macdonald plays a desperate, job-hungry lout who decides to start up his own revenge-for-hire business. Also starring Chevy Chase and Don Rickles. (EW Grade: D-)
  • A Bright Shining Lie Bill Paxton plays John Paul Vann, a military adviser who wages war against communism, in this HBO adaptation of Neil Sheehan’s nonfiction book. (EW Grade: C+)

ON DVD

  • Tomorrow Never Dies Special Edition More gimmicky than Bond’s BMW, this deluxe version of the most recent 007 adventure is loaded with special features, including audio commentaries by director Roger Spottiswoode and producer Michael Wilson, a behind-the-scenes documentary on the movie’s special effects, a music video sung by Sheryl Crow, and animated, interactive storyboards that document unfilmed scenes.
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