Thursday, July 14, 2011

Okay, so it's not about VWs... The Film "ON THE ROAD"

I suppose by writing a blog about VWs and camping and living in NorCal, I suffer the chance of playing to stereotypes. Yes, I say "dig", and yes, I dig Tom Wolfe's early work but think his later work is NYC editor-driven bullshit. And, stereotypically, come to think of it, I actually think Wolfe's early work can sometimes be bullshit as well. Tucked in my VW camper right now is a copy of The Great Gatsby and, what you might expect, a book about smuggling weed, called Weed: Adventures Of A Dope Smuggler by Jerry Kamstra. Both are classics in my opinion.

So it may seem right out of freshman America Lit 101 to get excited about the movie adaptation of On the Road, the classically over-quoted, overly-influencing Jack Kerouac novel. But it's being made! Long before the internet, a young fellow, who at that time drove a big beastly 1971 Toyota Landcruiser, spent way too much time in the library (take that, Google) reading about how this novel came to be and how it inspired folks to "Vag" it. As in "Vagabond". And that certain dude got caught up in the idea. Sure, it becomes a little too James Dean-ish after awhile. But, c'mon, this has the potential to be amazing.

So yeah, stereotype me. I "dig" On the Road. I go back to it when I've traveled down the wrong literary path. It's my fictional life jacket when I find myself headfirst in some rabbit hole of reading. While I hate the spin offs it inspired, the philosophy of the novel, a descendent of Twain's philosophy in that book about Huck Finn, is rooted in my soul. I can't help it. At this point, I can only hope for 3 things:

1. Coppola does the film justice after waiting for so long
2. That no one talks during the showing. Especially some sort of skinny James Dean wanna-be
3. That that '49 Hudson moves as fast in film as it did across the pages of the book.

That's right, brother. It's time to pull me back up for air once again...


Ludwig's Drivers

The apparent casting of the vampire girl doesn't bode well for the film, by my reckoning.

I've read On the Road twice; once at 18, and again at 30. The first time, I read Dharma Bums immediately afterward and unhesitatingly proclaimed it the better of the two. But I was surprised to find during the later reading that, unlike most books one discovers in adolescence, OtR had greater resonance after the passing of my 20s. I also recant my position: it's better than Dharma Bums.


Big Blue's Driver

whc03grady - I think I followed the same path to DHARMA BUMS, but around about 24 years old I found an old hard cover copy of ON THE ROAD in a bookstore in NYC. Since it now holds a prominent place in my bookshelf, it, along with Tom McGuane's 92 IN THE SHADE, are my go-to books when nothing else seems right. There are sections of ON THE ROAD I have reread probably 30 times...

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