After years of will-it or won’t-it-get-made speculation, the Johnny Depp-fronted adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson’s The Rum Diary finally hits theater screens nationwide Friday. We here at E3 Spark Plugs have been waiting with bated breath for this one. Not just for the crazed Gonzo brand of entertainment. Not just because Amber Heard is a stone cold hottie. Not just because any movie with a line like “We’ll nail this bastard to his own front door” has to be a good one. But for the parade of sweet (and just plain funny) vintage rides.
The Rum Diary is the story of Paul Kemp (played by Depp in a young Thompson-esque way), a divorced, anti-authoritarian boozehound of a journalist who jettisons the madness of New York and the crushing conventions of late Eisenhower-era America for the beautiful Puerto Rico to write for The San Juan Star, a tiny local newspaper on its last legs. Kemp quickly adapts to the rum-soaked island life and develops an obsession for the beautiful Chenault (Heard). Trouble is, Chenault just happens to be engaged to Sanderson (Aaron Eckhart), who just happens to be a corrupt developer bent on turning the pristine island into a capitalist paradise sucking up to the wealthy. Sanderson recruits Kemp to write some positive fluff about his latest scheme, which sets the film up for its major conflict: Kemp must decide whether to use his words to benefit the sleazy businessmen’s bottom line or to take the bastards down.
Great storyline, no doubt. But what we love are the great vintage vehicles you’ll see all through the film, set in the late 1950s. The trailer opens with Kemp driving a sweet candy apple red ’59 Corvette, which Producer Graham King let Depp take home after filming wrapped. That’s the kind of employment bonus we should all be so lucky to land. Another jaw dropper is Sanderson’s late 1950s Austin Healey. You gotta love the decidedly less glam Fiat 500 minus doors, a roof and a front seat – kinda like that loveable loser friend you’re always bailing out of trouble and but keep around anyway. And who doesn’t dig a vintage motorcycle with Giovanni Ribisi in a sidecar. We’re not sure of the model, but we’re thinking it’s a Harley 45. Incidentally, we hear the film has inspired a jam band named Giovanni Ribisi in a Motorcycle Sidecar.
Got a favorite vintage ride featured in a period film? E3 Spark Plugs wants to know. Leave us a comment on our blog or on the E3 Spark Plugs Facebook fan page.