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....
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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 letter, on which this movie is based, was referred to by its author Neal Cassady, and its recipient Jack Kerouac as "the Joan Anderson letter" (even though the only extant fragment more prominently and dramatically dealt with a different girlfriend of Neal's at the time, nicknamed Cherry Mary). This letter, written in December 1950 about events in Cassady's life from the summer thru Christmas of 1945, was "lost" circa 1954 and 1955. But before that happened, a five thousand word fragment (on which this movie is based) had been copied (retyped) likely by Kerouac himself, and was subsequently published in 1964 in a small San Francisco literary magazine called "Notes From Underground", then again later in Cassady's posthumous autobiography "The First Third" (beginning "To have seen a specter isn't everything ..."). The entire sixteen thousand word letter by Cassady - which Kerouac had praised as a turning point in his approach to writing - was never seen again after 1955 - and consequently became something of a Holy Grail in the Beat world. Miraculously, in 2012, the entire letter was found after nearly sixty years in old boxes that had been stored since being rescued from the Sausalito publisher Golden Goose's garbage when it folded in 1955. It's set for auction on December 17, 2014. See more »
Dianne Reeves wasn't born until 1956 but her "Jingle Bells" is used in the soundtrack. See more »
You should have seen all you brought down. Sirens, ambulances, doctors, nurses, butchers, bakers. Some big fear you brought down Miss Joan.
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The best thing about this movie is the opening scene, where Neal Cassady is doing more daydreaming and dancing then he is working on his writing. The beginning of the movie screams to Cassady's life, and shows the audience a Marlon Brando type character that had strong ties with folks like, Allen Ginsberg and Jake Kerouac. Cassady, a forgotten literary figure with more passion for creativity then progress in writing, would later become the character to drive the bus in Ken Kesey's, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. It is important to note, that while Cassady had only one decent literary publication, his zealous outlook on life was borrowed by some of the "great literary beat writers" in America.
The Actor Keanu Reeves, who I have never been a huge fan of, does an excellent job of shedding light on Cassady's constant dissonance about leaving the life of a beat writer, for the life of a 9-5 working man with a stable house, beautiful wife, and loving family.
The movie overall, is about this dissonance, is about the passion that Cassady had for both the creative life and the more stable environment of the family life. Sadly, Cassady was unable to find balance between the two.
Do not expect, watching this movie that it will touch your life with a "wow-effect" forever. It is not some type of magical-beat-generation-movie that you can philosophize about for hours, it is just a pretty good movie.
What you can keep with you forever, however, is the soundtrack to this movie, The Last Time I Committed Suicide. With scores of music from folks like, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Tyler Bates, Ella Fitzgerald and Charles Mingus, this soundtrack is sure visit any jazz lovers CD player often.
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