Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Everything is OK!

The title of this post sounds like it belongs to a self-help book...and it probably does...as in ‘I’m OK, You’re OK’...or ‘OK, I’m Stupid, So What?’, and the one that’s yet to be written, ‘OK, So The World’s Ending’, which someone will publish when we hear of the giant meteor heading unstoppably towards Earth. That or it will be the last best-seller ever before civilisation as we know it comes to an end due to an ecological catastrophe. OK. So what.
   Right now everything is only OK. I’m reading Charles Portis’s ‘True Grit’ as prep for the film (which I suspect will be OK), but it’s only OK, mainly because for some bizarre reason he refuses to condense any word spoken, and so supposedly raw characters like Rooster Cogburn only ever says ‘I will’ and ‘It is’ or ‘That is’. You get the idea. This refusal to create naturalistic speech started to annoy me after a while. A man like that, like most common men or women would be saying ‘I’ll’, ‘It’s’, and ‘That’s’ all the time. Perhaps that is just me being picky but I am not happy and I do not suppose I will finish the book anytime soon, and that is a fact. Huh. That’s OK, I’ve started Neil Coombs’ ‘Dark Windows’ (subtitled ‘or the death of Godard’, and because of that I could not resist it) – and since you hang on my every word regarding literature, I shall be posting a full, detailed, insightful review, or maybe I won’t...and if I don’t, that’ll be OK.

   A still from the ‘On The Road’ film appeared in The Guardian on Saturday. I looked at it in disbelief. Could they have got it so wrong? Look for yourself and tell me you have great hopes for the venture.
   It seems they’ve made it as a teen movie...for American teenagers today. Because it’s impossible to shoot a film about youths of the 40s without thinking it has to really be about kids today, isn’t it? Otherwise, how will they relate? More to the point, why would they bother going to see it? Kerouac’s book still has a large fan base amongst The Kids today, but not enough to justify the budget, I presume.
   The only aspect of this that interests me is how well Viggo Mortensen is going to play ‘Old Bull Lee’. Peter Weller in ‘Naked Lunch’ did a good job, capturing the essence of Burroughs without trying to impersonate him.
   How will they deal with all the drug-taking without appearing to – shock! – promote drugs? And Cassady was a notoriously wild driver. So, potentially, it could have ended up as a film extolling the joys and kicks of driving like a maniac whilst high on Benzedrine. This seems unlikely. The funniest part of what could unintentionally be a hilariously bad film could be when they encounter jazz, which is, as you know, crucial to driving the attitude and process of Kerouac’s spontaneous bop prose. If I could bare to part with the money I’d like to see these two try to be convincing in their adulation for Be-bop. As part of their research, I like to think the director filled them with Benzedrine and locked them in a room with Charlie Parker’s music blasting out for a couple of hours. I doubt that this happened.
   In OK! Magazine (where else?) Garrett Hedlund, who plays Dean Moriarty, says: ‘Improv was highly welcomed, to make scenes flow and have a rhythm. We had the freedom to fly.’ Wow. I bet they had a ball. And I’m sure this free-wheeling improvisational attitude created screen magic that will be the acting equivalent of a Charlie Parker solo. Yes, sir. If not, that’s OK.


  1. Thank you so much for posting this! If you don't mind, which Guardian is this from?

  2. I do understand that you're having concerns about this movie. I'm still having doubts this book is screenable though I'm looking forward to the movie and hope they'll prove me wrong.
    Not exactly sure thoughm what your problem with this still is. Well I think they do look a bit too neat, or at least I pictured them dirtier and kind of less good looking when I was reading the book.
    But...it's just a still and I'm waiting for a trailer to judge about whether I think this will be a proper adaptation or not.
    Okay, I won't lie. I've been a fan of Hedlund for a long time, so I've also got big hopes for him managing this difficult role though I'm still afaid that no one is able to play Dean Moriarty.

    Though I really understand your concerns (and I actually try to keep my own hopes for this adaptations down, because adaptations very, very often disappoint me)I have to add something in defence of Hedlund and maybe it also relieves you a bit:
    With this quote you make Hedlund sound like some highschool musical jerk that wasn't thinking at all about this role and just, like you said, having a ball, but that's not true.

    Did you know that after he was cast (I think almost 3 years ago) he didn't take on another role for 2 years and just practiced for this role because he dreamed about playing Dean Moriarty since highschool?

    So when he talked about "freedom" and "improv" I'm sure this doesn't mean they added "new stuff to their characters".

    I'm still thinking that Dean Moriarty with all his uhm...don't know what the right English word is...spleens?! is an unplayable role, but knowing that he's going to be played by someone who worked for years to talk like Neal Cassady and move like Neal and put a lot of energy in this role makes me somewhat optimistic.

    So, I hope for us both that this movie is gonna be better than you expect and maybe even better than I hope and we'll have a good adaptation of a great book.

    Btw, did you watch "The Motorcycle Diaries" ? I highly doubt that Walter Salles is going to make "On the Road" look like a teenie film.

    Best wishes, Kat

    PS: Sorry for my bad English. It's not my first language.

  3. Celine - it's from Sat Feb 5th.

    Kat, excuse my cynicism...it may well be fantastic...here's hoping...


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