By Darren Franich
June 18, 2010 at 09:03 PM EDT

Over a decade after Terry Gilliam’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas tanked at the box office and became the best movie ever to watch in a college dorm, Johnny Depp is returning to the land of Hunter S. Thompson with The Rum Diary. The first photos from the film have just been released, and looking at them feels, to me, like a hallucinogenic dream come true. Johnny Depp’s role in Fear and Loathing is one of the great over-the-top performances. His bizarro-delivery of the gonzo journalist’s dialogue resulted in one of the most quotable movies ever. I used to spend whole hours just quoting Fear and Loathing back and forth with one of my college buddies. This made us super-popular and got us dozens of girls.

Depp’s role in The Rum Diary is superficially similar to Fear and Loathing. Thompson based the novel’s main character on himself. I haven’t read the novel, but my understanding is that it’s slightly less madcap-zany-incoherent than Fear and Loathing. Although the site of Giovanni Ribisi in a motorcycle sidecar screams “a touch of surrealism.” (“Giovanni Ribisi in a Motorcycle Sidebar” is the name of my jam band, BTW.)

What do you think of this first look of Rum Diary, PopWatchers? Was anyone else as obsessed as I was with Fear and Loathing? (“Tell me about the golf shoes!”) And does this mean that we’re one step closer to Depp starring in a film adaptation of Thompson’s Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72, the best work of political journalism to ever accuse a presidential candidate of an Ibogaine addiction?