Young writer Sal Paradise has his life shaken by the arrival of free-spirited Dean Moriarty and his girl, Marylou. As they travel across the country, they encounter a mix of people who each impact their journey indelibly.
After a blurred trauma over the summer, Melinda enters high school a selective mute. Struggling with school, friends, and family, she tells the dark tale of her experiences, and why she has chosen not to speak.
Shaken by the death of his father and discouraged by his stalled career, writer Sal Paradise goes on a road trip hoping for inspiration. While traveling, he is befriended by charismatic and fearless Dean Moriarty and Moriarty's free-spirited and seductive young wife, Marylou. Traveling across the American southwest together, they strive to break from conformity and and search the unknown, and their decisions change the very course of their lives.Written by
Sal Paradise is presented as the typical Hollywood stereotype of a writer: a thin, wan, introverted spectator of life; a wallflower who sits in the corner writing about the adventures of others, and is drawn into them reluctantly himself. But Jack Kerouac was a star athlete with an imposing physical presence who went to Columbia University on a football scholarship (after turning down offers from Boston College and Notre Dame). In the book, Kerouac's avatar Sal Paradise begins as a neophyte to the "beat" lifestyle but embraces it wholeheartedly and jumps in with both feet. In fact, the idea of experiencing life in every way imaginable rather than watching from the sidelines is his intent from the beginning and the whole point of the book. See more »
Among Sal's books is a copy of Saul Bellow's "Seize the Day", which was first published in 1956. See more »
The film was re-edited for North American release following its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival and its French theatrical release because, according to director Walter Salles, that version was "rushed". The new cut is thirteen minutes shorter but contains more scenes and Salles says he has no preference between the two. See more »
Well made and well staged, but also pretty flat...movie almost lacks the wonderful energy of the book!
I loved the book enormously when i read it a couple years back. I shot through it in two days and just thought it was a fantastic read with an incredibly high energy feel to it. (Its almost like the reading equivalent of several cups of coffee) The film by contrast doesn't have any of that specific wired high energy feel to it, in fact i thought the film kind of saps some of the energy from the story by trying to place it all in the context of a story that has to have a beginning, middle, and end. I get that any adaptation of this was going to have to do some reconfiguring just because any movie is going to need to have a story with a clear through line for people who aren't familiar with the book to understand and that's OK, but at the same time it kind of takes away some of the amazing strength of the book. In fact it kind of reminded me of the Robert Redford 70's version of "the Great Gatsby" in that while faithfully recreating the scenes from the book, they kind of forgot to infuse the film with the lively energy that their source material had in spades! Enough about that tho because as a film "On The Road" is solidly enjoyable enough and pretty well made as a film that its hard not to like it in general. I did in fact watch virtually the entire movie with a huge smile on my face because i enjoyed in no small measure the staging of certain scenes from the book, as well as catching certain lines that i remembered vividly from the book but not until hearing them spoken in the film did i think about how great it was that the screenwriter and director thought to include them.
The film itself to me even gets better in retrospect because at first i didn't particularly like either Sam Rielley or Garret Hedlund as Sal or Dean. Thought they were both entirely miscast, but in truth as the film went on it was a lot easier to accept them as the characters if only because i think i had such a specific type in mind for both characters--Sal should have been less grizzled, more naive...and Dean should have been way more manic and charming instead of the fairly low key but very affable man. (i feel like maybe James Franco would've been a good choice for this cause he can definitely do both manic and depressed.) Even that i understand that you can't overdo Dean Moriarty because then you run the risk of going too far and having him not be believable as someone who could easily charm this entire group of people, but again as the film goes on, and the scenes go by--it becomes a lot easier to accept the two actors as Sal and Dean. I feel like that's actually true of the film as a whole too. It kind of starts out with a whole i don't know about this kind of vibe and it quickly wins you over because of the confident way the scenes from the book are put across. I really do feel like Walter Salles properly caught the spirit and underlying sadness of the book but didn't quite capture the mad passionate high energy level that makes the book such an intoxicating read. While that initially came to me as disappointment i got to admit that the film (much like the book its based on) grew on me as i was watching it, and if the film can't be exactly like the book, its at least a fair to solid enough interpretation of the book's characters and events that i can gladly accept and enjoy it on its own merits. (The fact that its also beautifully filmed and has a great accompanying soundtrack help enormously!)
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