By Seth Stevenson
Last week, Hulu posted the final entry in Up to Speed, its six-part travel series. Directed by Richard Linklater and starring Timothy “Speed” Levitch, the show is a mashup of travel, history, and meandering beatnik rants. As with much of Linklater’s output, I found it frustratingly flawed and yet deeply charming all the same.
America first encountered Levitch in The Cruise, a 1998 documentary about his life as a tour guide in Manhattan. (It was directed by Bennett Miller, the man behind Capote and Moneyball.) Levitch’s adenoidal voice, rubbery face, and astonishing facility with historical facts made him an unforgettable figure. It’s easy to see why Linklater would take a shine to him: The director keeps a stable of pet monologists.
Like philosophy professor Louis H. Mackey and filmmaker Caveh Zahidi—both of whom appeared, as did Levitch, in Linklater’s Waking Life—Levitch has an Olympic-level gift of gab. »
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