Category Archives: Road Movies

What’s Been Left Out?! (television version…)

Film viewers beware! I watch movies on television (network and cable) a lot. I also do watch newer films, either on DVD (normally rented either from Redbox or the nearby public library) or via the “On Demand” service that is offered on cable.

Watching a televised version of a movie normally I’m not familiar enough with an older film to know if a scene or segment’s been edited out for TV. Not so with the movie “Thelma and Louise.” Now seeing this for the second time on television (and my third viewing overall since it was released 22 years ago now), I am disappointed that a scene from this movie is missing from the televised version.

Yes, gone, at least from the two televised versions I’ve seen now in the past 6-7 years. It’s the scene where deep into the movie Louise and Thelma are driving through the desert at night and the Marianne Faithful song “The Ballad of Lucy Jordan” is playing in the background. I was so moved by this scene when I first saw this movie in 1991 that within two weeks I went out and bought the Marianne Faithful album “Broken English” where the song “The Ballad of Lucy Jordan” appears. It is a song that made me want to go to Paris before I die (and finally in 2003 I was able to do this).

Ok, I realize this particular scene in “Thelma and Louise” must’ve been edited as it’s not considered pivotal to the plot. That’s a shame really as this song and scene lend poignancy to the movie, reflecting the dark turn (literally) that the lives of these two characters had taken. For anyone who remembers this song and this scene, here is the complete segment provided on YouTube by Bailey Cooper (thank you for Mr. Cooper for for posting).  Disclosure:  This blog was updated on 7/15/2017 with this Bailey Cooper rendition of this song segment:

Another “On the Road” blog post….

      A contemporary French writer/philosopher named Henri-Bernard Levy wrote a piece “Kerouac at the Cinema” that can be found on the Huffington Post.  Here is the link to this:

Monsieur Levy is a learned person and offers some insight in his post about the writer, Jack Kerouac and Kerouac’s novel “On the Road.”  Levy hasn’t seen the Walter Salles film of this novel yet, and his “we shall see” speaks to both apprehension and wonderment concerning the film’s ability to capture the spirit and essence of the book.

P.S.  In the “Comments” section of my recent blog post about “On the Road” being made into a film, I also provided this same information (with the same link to Levy’s piece).

Road Movies and a Book (that is, a beloved road book is now a movie)

I’ve always liked road movies.  Hollywood has created some good ones starting way back with well-worn worn classics such as “It Happened One Night” (for me, a surprisingly very funny film) and “Sullivan’s Travels.”  From the 1950s, “The Long Long Trailer,” starring comedienne Lucille Ball, is another memorably humorous road movie.  Jump to the 1960s and 70s there is “Easy Rider;” “Harry and Tonto;” and “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore,” among others.  In the 1980s and 90s it was “Rain Man,” “Wild at Heart,” “Thelma & Louise,” and “True Romance.”   During the past 10 years we’ve had “Sideways,” “Little Miss Sunshine,” and “Borat.”   Also in the past ten years, for people who like road stories based on a real person’s experiences, there was “The Motorcycle Diaries” adapted from the youthful travel journals of South American doctor and activist, Che Guevara.

If reading is a favorite pastime, there are any number of novels that can fit the criteria of a road book.  One of the most well-known is On the Road written and published in the late 1950s by beloved Beat generation writer, Jack Kerouac.   This book depicts, for the most part, the maniacal travels across the U.S. and into Mexico of Sal Paradise and his friend, Dean Moriarty.  Featured are a contingency of several other friends/cohorts who either accompany them or are visited along the way.   The book is believed to be loosely autobiographical and based on the author, Kerouac, himself and his friends.

Now finally someone has taken on the task of turning On the Road into a movie.  What is interesting is that the director who is tackling this is Walter Salles, the director of the 2004 road film “The Motorcycle Diaries” (based, as I mentioned earlier in this blog, on the journey chronicled by Argentinian activist/doctor Che Guevara when he and his buddy travelled up the continent of South America from Argentina to Venezuela in the late 1950s).  “The Motorcycle Diaries” received some critical acclaim and perhaps gave filmmaker Walter Salles the courage to make a film of the Kerouac classic.  I both admire Salles as well as feeling afraid for him. It is my hope that this film “On the Road” proves to be a worthy depiction of a book that captured the hearts and minds of late 20th century American readers and vagabonds.

Currently this new film “On the Road” is among the movies being shown, I believe,  at the annual Cannes Film Festival in southern France this month (May 16 – May 27).  I haven’t heard anything yet, good or bad, about how the movie has turned out.  I’m going to try and see at a local multiplex as soon as it is released in the U.S.