A look at Neal Cassady, who was an icon of the Beat Generation of the 1950s and the psychedelic movement of the 1960s, perhaps best known as the inspiration for the character of Dean Moriarty in Jack Kerouac's classic On the Road. Written by
The beat generation and the hippies of the sixties were important social movements, but if they are not understood in the context of their times, they appear to be merely the meaningless eruptions of colorful angst-ridden adolescents..This film does not add any social context around the behavior of Cassady, Kerouac, and Kesey. They are prancing, exhibitionistic adolescents with Neal Cassady playing a holy fool, a court jester, to the more articulate and productive Kerouac and Kesey. He is an irresponsible guy driving a bus while stoned and caring about, but abandoning, his family.
So does this merit a biographical film? The fictional Dean Moriarty would be a good film subject. he was the personification of rebellion against the structured family oriented pressures of the 1950s, and he said interesting things. This film makes it clear that the real Neal Cassady was not a Dean Moriarty-it is stated explicitly. Thus, we have a film about a goofy, not very interesting guy. Not a compelling subject.
Sure, Kerouac appears-and his role is well played and makes its points- but his is a small part of this film.. Kesey is portrayed as a bit of a hollow shell. So what? Why were they writing the things they were writing? What were they saying to America and why? All left out of the film. Thus it seems aimless and purposeless.
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