Seeing the Story – On the Road (2012)


On the Road | Wikipedia | Purchase DVD from Jorie’s Store @ Amazon by clicking on image

Reasons for Watching: I first listened to the audio version of On the Road in 2008. Hearing actor Matt Dillon read this book gave me high expectations for the movie. While a review of Jack Keroauc’s book on Jorie’s Reads didn’t come until the Revisited Challenge in 2013, I formed high expectations of any would be film adaptation. Jerry Cimino: ‘On the Road’ Movie Trailer Promises an Adaptation Worthy of Kerouac gave me some assurance. Fortunately, I finally posted my review of On the Road just weeks before I viewed acclaimed filmmaker Walter Salles’ telling.

Summary of Movie: Director Salles relates Jack Kerouac’s practically autobiographical story set in the late 1940s and early 1950s.  Sal Paradise/Jack Kerouac (Sam Riley), a young, impressionable writer acquires a friend and hero when he meets Dean Moriarty/ Neal Cassady (Garrett Hedlund). Dean, a wandering, womanizing guy from Denver. When Dean enters into Sal’s life, he’s with first wife, Marylou/ LuAnne Henderson (Kristen Stewart). Dean inspires Sal to travel across the country – hence the name, On the Road. Throughout the film, Sal and Dean attempt to turn conformity on its head. Theirs is a star-studded journey of gifted actors portraying the Beat Generation literati. Kirsten Dunst plays Dean’s long-suffering second wife, Camile/ Carolyn Cassady. Viewers also see Carlo Marx/ Allen Ginsberg (Tom Sturridge),  Old Bull Lee/ William S. Burrough (Viggo Mortensen), and Jane/ Joan Vollmar (Amy Adams).

Book to Movie Adaptation: As always, things happen differently in the movie. Right from the start with this film, though, I noticed changes. Kerouac says in the book that he met Dean not long after Kerouac and his wife ended their marriage. Also, Kerouac’s Sal says that he had been sick. Without spoiling, I won’t delve much further into the differences. If you don’t mind spoilers, please click on ‘On the Road’: Differences Between Jack Kerouac’s Novel and This Year’s Film – OR – On the Road Differences.

Review: I thought Hedlund completely nailed the role of Dean. From there, I must mention that I would’ve cast Dunst or Emilie de Ravin as Marylou instead of usually sullen Stewart. To expand more on moods or tone, I felt Kerouac wrote this while wearing rose-colored glasses. Salles’ film is a work of realism. We see havoc Dean wreaks on those in his life. Riley’s Sal seems a bit less intimate with these tales than he did in the book. Also, the voice wasn’t quite right.


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Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead (Revisited Challenge)


The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand | Jorie’s Store @ Amazon

Title and Author(s):  Ayn Rand and Christopher Hurt’s The Fountainhead 
Release Date:
ISBN: 9781455100019
Hours: 32 hours, 4 minutes
Source: Harris County Public Library eBranch

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Reasons for Reading: My first attempt at reading Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead happened in my teens. However, I hit the wall and threw in the towel. Nine years later, I picked up an unabridged audio version and listened to the entire thing. As one of the winners in the Revisited Challenge, I selected the audio version route yet again.

Summary: Expelled from his architectural school in 1922 for refusing to follow traditions, genius Howard Roark travels to New York and works for disgraced architect Henry Cameron. Roark’s former classmate and antithesis, Peter Keating also moves to New York. However, Keating’s sycophantic ways land him a position with the prestigious architectural firm of Francon & Heyer. Keating succeeds and makes partner after causing Heyer’s fatal stroke. Meanwhile, Cameron retires and Roark opens his own office. When he refuses to give in to the will of others, Roark receives little business. Roark closes up shop and takes up work in Francon’s granite quarry in Connecticut – leading him to his first encounter with Francon’s exquisite but most contrary daughter, Dominique.

One Thing I Learned from this book: Ayn Rand didn’t have much sympathy for people. I’d say she’s a rather black & white sort of person.

What I Liked: I liked that Roark was true to himself. I felt I could see these characters and understand what Rand attempted to express. 

What I Disliked: I couldn’t quite handle Roark’s relationship with Dominique. While the author may have seen it as appropriate, I thought it was violent. Also, I thought this book would’ve been easier to take in serial form.

RR - Orange  Rainbow Rating: Orange – Restricted from those under age 17 

Song: Frank Sinatra – My Way (1969)

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Jack Keroauc’s On the Road (Revisited Challenge)


On the Road by Jack Kerouac | Jorie’s Store @ Amazon

 
Title and Author(s):  Jack Kerouac and Matt Dillon’s On the Road
Release Date: 2000

Publisher: Caedmon

ISBN: 9780060755331
Hours: 11 
Source: Harris County Public Library 

* 1001 Books Book

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Reasons for Reading: I read this book a few years ago since it’s hailed as the book of the Beat Generation. Fortunately, I listened to the the version that actor Matt Dillon read. When On the Road won in the Revisited Challenge, I happily checked out the Matt Dillon version for the second time.

Summary: (This autobiographical narrative uses pseudonyms per publisher’s demands.) Salvatore “Sal” Paradise (Kerouac) tells the narrative of adventures had in the late 1940s and early 1950s “on the road” with his new found, free-spirited friend Dean Moriarty (Neal Cassady). Through these treks, Dean and Sal use many drugs, drink many boos, and “sleep” with numerous partners. Sometimes, they stay with different Beats (Carlo Marx/Allen Ginsburg and Old Bull Lee/William S. Burroughs), and other times Beats join them on their trips. Also at play are the tensions between Dean’s partners Marylou (Luanne Henderson) and Camille (Carolyn Cassaday).

One Thing I Learned from this book: Previously, I’d thought the Beats were just the 1950s predecessors to the Hippies of the 1960s. Now, I see the differences along with the similarities between the two groups.

What I Liked: I really am glad I heard Matt Dillon read this book. Also, Kerouac’s prose clearly expresses the events.

What I Disliked: However, I didn’t care much for the characters. They’re lazy and wasteful; lowlifes. Lastly, I didn’t like the way women were treated in this book.

RR - Orange  Rainbow Rating: Orange – Restricted from those under age 17 


Song: 
Ricky Nelson – Hello Mary Lou (with solo by James Burton)

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John D. Luerssen’s Rivers’ Edge: The Weezer Story


Rivers' Edge: The Weezer Story by John D. Luerssen | LibraryThing

Luerssen, J. D. (2004). Rivers’ edge: The Weezer story. Toronto: ECW Press. 9781550226195

Reasons for Reading: As a child, one of things my family saw to was that I listened to good music. Now, I’m not necessarily talking about classical, opera, or show tunes. No, I mean Oldies – real Rock ‘n’ Roll,  MoTown, Rhythm & Blues (rather than R&B), and Jazz. Country Western wasn’t considered music 🙂 . So, while I owned  Debbie Gibson and MC Hammer tapes, I also heard my dad’s records of Elvis Presley, The Ventures, The Beach Boys, The Animals, etc (not an exhaustive list). On road trips, we listened to one of his favorites – Buddy Holly. Let’s just say the other kids weren’t down with these old guys, especially that nerdy guy on my t-shirt.

Fast forward to 1994, my classmates and I weren’t just listening to Nirvana and Ace of Base, but to Weezer, a new group where frontman Rivers Cuomo crooned “I look just like Buddy Holly.” Like the pioneer rocker, Cuomo also wore horn rimmed glasses. Yeah, life went on but Weezer continued to resonate. Thus, growing up listening to Weezer made me want to read a book about one of my all-time favorite groups. At first, I requested John D. Luerssen’s Rivers’ Edge: The Weezer Story via Inter-Library Loan (ILL). Ultimately, I purchased the book from Amazon.

Summary: Undeterred by the group not endorsing his proposed biography, Luerssen set out to write about Weezer, a music group he enjoyed. He describes Weezer’s ascent to super stardom and chronicles the bands ups (Blue Album, Green Album, and Maladroit)  and downs (Pinkerton – “El Scorcho,” and “The Good Life.”)

At the center of this narrative is founder Rivers Cuomo, a brilliant musician and introvert who dons “Buddy Holly” glasses and other articles of nerdiness. Other founding members are the humorous drummer Patrick Wilson (definitely in “Keep Fishin‘”), “not second string to anyone” bassist Matt Sharp (check him out in this performance on The Late Show), and guitarist Jason Cropper. When Cropper left, he’s replaced by “Sass Master” Brian Bell (see the “The Impossible Bend“). Sharp left and was replaced by Mikey Welsh (Green Album – can be seen in “Hash Pipe” and “Island in the Sun“.) Welsh exited, his void being filled by current member Scott “Shrine Dog” Shriner (look at “Photograph” and “Dope Nose.”) Luerssen offers a “no stone unturned” account of this contemporary group.

What I Liked: It was good finding out what Cuomo’s songs meant to Cuomo and what they all felt about making videos, particularly “Undone – The Sweater Song.”

I admired Bell’s support of Cuomo during their hiatus and the loyalty of unofficial fifth member Karl Koch, fans Mykel, Carli, and the Rebel Weezer Alliance.

Lastly, I loved how I could recall where I was when most of these events took place – definitely when reading about NASA Commander William McCool.  In other words, we’re contemporaries.

What I Disliked: This book was published in 2004. That means the book predates the following:

Also, I didn’t care for the tangents of the band member’s other projects. Sorry, I’m not that crazy about “Friends of P.” Doesn’t the title suggest that it should focus on Rivers Cuomo, anyhow?

Then, there’s the belaboring of Cuomo’s affinity for Asian women. Of course, the book came out before Cuomo married in 2006. Cuomo address this in the general media in 2007 “Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo on Asian Women.” Luerssen paints Cuomo as a fetishist control freak, too.

Oh, and before I forget, I would’ve loved for this book to have an index!

Three Out of Five Pearls

Setting: United States

Song: Weezer – Say It Ain’t So – YouTube

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  • Jack Kerouc’s On the Road

For more on John D. Luerssen’s Rivers’ edge: The Weezer story, please check out the following links :

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