In 1946 Denver, an aspiring writer who enjoys irresponsible adventures with his friend, writes a letter about his life before and after the suicide attempt by his sad girlfriend who wants a commitment.
Neal Cassady is living the beat life during the 1940s, working at The Tire Yard and and philandering around town. However, he has visions of a happy life with kids and a white picket fence. When his girlfriend, Joan, tries to kill herself he gets scared and runs away. But when Joan reappears will he take the chance at that happiness, or will he turn his back on it?Written by
The bar scene towards the end of the film with Neal and Harry goes for nearly 20 minutes. See more »
The epilogue notes that Neal Cassady died in 1968 at the age of 42. In actuality, he died four days before his 42nd birthday. See more »
Jerry, you ever wake up in the middle of the night because the... the things that you see in your dreams are things you know nothing about? When I close my eyes I see fences, I see white picket fences, I see green, green grass and things that I honestly have never touched, have never smelled, except for... when I go to this place in my sleep.
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I Mention Two David Cross Thingies In A Review For A Movie That Has Nothing To Do With David Cross! Mr. Show!
To clear up any misconceptions, it's based on the Cherry Mary letter to Kerouac(not Ginsberg) and the Reeves character isn't supposed to be Kerouac, he's supposed to be one of Cassady's old Denver pool hall buddies. If you recall the beginning of the movie, Cassady is writing this story to Kerouac(it's the letter, get it?) why would he be telling Kerouac a story that Kerouac was such a big part of? Plus, Kerouac, though he liked to drink, wasn't like that at all.
Although I do believe that Benjamin is based on Ginsberg. Even though the nameless guy from the letter that he represents wasn't Ginsberg, I think Kay took the opportunity of a blank-slate character to make a Ginsberg character(I base this on the attitude of the character, the obvious crush he has on Cassady, and the race car story that Cassady tells him which is a story Cassady told Ginsberg orally in reality that Ginsberg jotted down and that you can find in Cassady's book, The First Third), which is a great idea. Except that Adrian Brody stands firmly as my least favorite Allen Ginsberg portrayal of all time. He did not capture Ginsberg's brand of warmth and sweetness even slightly. The writing cannot be blamed for how annoying Brody played him. See the Ginsberg portrayals in Naked Lunch and I'm Not There for very good Ginsbergs by Michael Zelniker and David Cross.
What makes up for Adrian Brody's Ginsberg is Tom Jane's Cassady which is spot on. The way he spoke and moved was perfect. Just short of watching Cassady himself. It was strange to see such good acting and such bad acting right next to each other.
Unlike Naked Lunch(Which I think anybody who likes a good movie can easily enjoy) I understand how anyone who doesn't know and like the Beats wouldn't really dig this movie. However it was a lot of fun for me to watch and it will be the next time I watch it too.
I don't know if anyone noticed, but in addition to all the lines taken from the letter it's based on, there was lines taken from other stuff Cassady wrote too! Like I said, the race car story he tells Benjamin is a story he told Allen and there is the best line from one of my favorite Cassady/Ginsberg letters: "I see no greatness in myself--I even have no conception of what is greatness. I am a simple-minded, child-like, insipid sort of moronic kind of awkward-feeling adolescent." which is not quoted directly in the movie, as it is in this here review, but it's in there! And I believe the Adventures in Auto Eroticism story is in there too? Probably other stuff I'm forgetting. Anyway, Stephen Kay clearly knows his stuff when it comes to these guys and I don't think the script lacked wit at all, I thought it was natural, especially considering how many of the lines were quotes, I think he mixed them pretty well into his own writing(Although I wouldn't say quite as well a Cronenberg did in Naked Lunch). Also check out Tom Jane in Arrested Development!
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