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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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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