Ten Things I learned On the Road

by Nandia Foteini Vlachou

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About the plot:

1. Neal Cassady was by far the most interesting, the most magnetic personality of the Beat Generation. Scratch that. Apparently, he was the only reason the Beat Generation ever existed.

2. Jack Kerouac had the charisma and personality appeal of wall tapestry. This is the cliché of the writer as passive observer taken to dizzying heights of boredom.

3. Allen Ginsberg was a sensitive, kind of nerdy poet who often complained of unrequited love.

4. All women associated with the Beat Generation were lacking personality and/or were nymphomaniacal and/or regularly used by men as sex toys. Occasionally, they read Proust, chased lizards and scrubbed the kitchen floor.

5. Post-war America was so much fun! Full of drugs, jazz music and vintage cars. What was the Beat Generation supposed to be rebelling against, exactly?

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About the film itself:

6. When, in mainstream cinema, a book consisting of experimental narrative techniques is turned into a movie, said movie is invariably a collection of loosely related episodes, presented in mostly linear fashion.

7. Great cinematography (Eric Gautier) can never salvage languorous direction (Walter Salles).

8. Kristen Stewart cannot act but can mimic a sex kitten fairly well.

9. Garrett Hedlund, on the contrary, can act. Every time he appeared on screen, the film received a jolt of energy. With his deep voice and mood swings, he managed to capture the character’s wild abandon, existential desperation and total disregard for social norm.

10. The casting director had never, ever seen a photograph of Jack Kerouac when he chose Sam Riley for Sal Paradise’s role.

(On the Road, 2012)

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