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On the Road (2012)

by on August 6, 2013
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A quote from Jack Kerouac’s novel “On the Road,” on which this film is based, says:

“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow Roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars, and in the middle, you see the blue center-light pop, and everybody goes ahh…”

I’ve never read Kerouac’s book, and in the case of having to write this review, it may have been to my advantage. I researched the novel’s praise, and it sounds like it is a book that defined a generation (specifically the post-WWII generation). Bold move: Trying to make a movie about a book that defined a generation.

For me, a book that I found to be defining was J.D. Salinger’s “Catcher in the Rye.” If a movie came along and tried to capture all of the things in that book, then I’d probably feel shortchanged if it missed the mark in any way. I think that’s what people’s qualms were with this film. Again, I haven’t read the book, so that wasn’t a problem for me.

There’s something about “On the Road” that I just can’t shake out of my mind. I’ll admit that it probably could have been edited down because 124 minutes of sex, drugs and shallow conversations became a bit exhausting. “On the Road” moves fast, and, at times, it’s hard to keep up. The movie is like trying to follow the thought process of a person with A.D.D. who hasn’t taken their medication. #SensoryOverload

The film attempts to focus on its two main characters: Sal Paradise (the fictional name for Kerouac) and his friend Dean Moriarty (the fictional name for Kerouac’s friend Neal Cassady). Those characters are played by Sal Riley and Garrett Hedlund, respectively.

In the end — and I firmly believe that the ending saves it — the film poetically ties together everything that you’ve seen and makes you think about friendships, specifically what a person’s purpose in your life might be. It’s almost as if all of these characters that come and go throughout the film are supposed to be forgettable. Well, all except the ones that mattered. It’s very poetic and the ending has stuck with me for days. It’s begging for another watch.

Film: 3.5 Yaps

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