On the (Wrong) Road

Some books should never be made into movies and On The Road is sure one of them, I’m watching it right now and it is so bad I am mesmerized, it’s like they’ve changed the whole spirit of the story, stripped it of it’s energy until it’s just some boring, creepy guys wandering around in the dark at night with hunched shoulders, smoking lots of cigarettes, quoting bad poetry to each other, oh, Jesus, here’s the scene in the Mexican whorehouse and they just make sex look ridiculous, jittering around to bongo music and now they are in the market and in the book you felt a bit of the common humanity of all people, here you see racial stereotypes and ugly Americans and this is pretty close to the end I guess because that’s where the book ends, if I recall correctly, when Dean abandons him sick in Mexico and heads home.
What was fast on the page, rolling from paragraph to paragraph like a cascading mountain stream, becomes slow and boring and painful to watch as a film, being badly acted is only part of it, it’s like the director didn’t know which was to go, to make it an ode to the novel, which they do in parts, lots of narrated sections, or to actually turn it into a film, telling a story (there was no story, really, it was a long poem about America in the ’50s, the music, the newfound feeling of boundless mobility, the exuberance) and developing the characters and the question is, as Firesign Theater used to say “How can you be in two places at once when you’re not anywhere at all?”


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