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One Fast Move or I'm Gone: Kerouac's Big Sur (2008)

Jack Kerouac escapes from post "On The Road" fame to his dream of an isolated retreat in a cabin at Big Sur, where he searches for inner peace. His road comes full circle with this ... See full summary »


Curt Worden


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Credited cast:
David Amram David Amram ... Self
Erik Bauersfeld ... Self
Carolyn Cassady Carolyn Cassady ... Self
Jami Cassady Jami Cassady ... Self
John Allen Cassady John Allen Cassady ... Self
Jay Farrar Jay Farrar ... Self
Lawrence Ferlinghetti ... Self
Sage Francis Sage Francis ... Self
Benjamin Gibbard ... Self
Dana Godbe Dana Godbe ... Self
Herbert Gold Herbert Gold ... Self
S.E. Hinton ... Self
Jack Hirschman Jack Hirschman ... Self
Robert Hunter ... Self
Joyce Johnson Joyce Johnson ... Self


Jack Kerouac escapes from post "On The Road" fame to his dream of an isolated retreat in a cabin at Big Sur, where he searches for inner peace. His road comes full circle with this self-exploration, resulting in an alcohol-fueled paranoia and a plunge into madness. Written by Curt Worden

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


An unflinching, cinematic look at the compelling events Kerouac's book is based on.


Documentary | Music

User Reviews

We have come to praise Jack, not to bury him.
24 August 2010 | by bandwSee all my reviews

This documentary consists mainly of interviews with about thirty people. The focus is on Kerouac's book, "Big Sur," which he wrote in 1961, a few years after having spent time in the area. Several people read passages from the book. Not having read the book, I am not sure this movie has encouraged me to do so, since the passages seemed to be a stream-of-consciousness description of an alcoholic hell and nervous breakdown.

The portrait of Kerouac that emerges is that of an anguished, self-centered, confused man and one who would be difficult to be around. You would have to have a large reservoir of tolerance and forgiveness to put up with him I think. And that is what everyone interviewed here seems to have, since there is nothing expressed about Kerouac but warmth, admiration, and sympathy for his suffering. Most people flee an alcoholic spouting stream-of-consciousness thoughts that are hard to decipher, so, Kerouac the man must have had real charisma, an appeal that has persisted all these years within a subculture of followers.

The ideas of the beat generation of writers and poets--drugs, sex, freedom, anti-materialism, eastern religion--laid the groundwork for much of what was to come. No matter what you think of the players, you have to acknowledge their influence, but seeing this movie made me question just how much longer the romantic image of the beat writers can be milked. Only a few of the progenitors are left--Kerouac, Burroughs, Ginsberg, Cassady are gone. The two people in this film who knew Kerouac well, Casssdy's wife and Lawrence Ferlinghetti, provide some interesting observations and it was interesting to hear from a couple of Cassady's kids recalling some of their experiences (I liked Jami Cassady's comment that she did not much care for Ginsberg, and the hyperkinetic ramblings of John Cassady on the DVD extras indicate that he inherited some of his father's frenetic energy). However, overall I came away feeling that the people were talking of a distant time, a distance place. In an age of smart phones, Xboxs, monster TVs, video on demand, Wiis, Facebook, YouTube, air conditioned cars, superhighways, and so forth, I wonder if reading "On the Road" now has any of the staccato punch it did on first publication, inspiring young people in the way it once did.

The movie is nicely filmed with high production values. Interweaving the readings and interviews with images of the beautiful Big Sur area is skillfully done. If I ever do get around to reading "Big Sur," this film will have provided me with ample backstory. And I would probably learn more about Kerouac than I did from this movie.

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Release Date:

April 2008 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Jay Farrar & Benjamin Gibbard: One Fast Move or I'm Gone - Kerouac's Big Sur See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Kerouac Films See more »
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Technical Specs



Sound Mix:

Stereo (Stereo)


Color (HDCAM)| Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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