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Entries in On the Road (7)

Friday
Mar292013

Contest: "On the Road" Autographed by Walter Salles

Here's another contest for you for reader appreciation month... I have three books to give away.
"Enter to win a copy of Jack Kerouac's ON THE ROAD autographed by the film's director, Walter Salles! IFC Films and Sundance Selects Presents ON THE ROAD A film by Walter Salles Based on Jack Kerouac's classic novel Starring Sam Riley, Garrett Hedlund and Kristen Stewart
Check your local listings!"
It's okay if you're a little (okay, a lot) surprised that the movie has finally been released. In fact, just last night at a screening I was telling a friend it had come out and they were like "nope, it came out in December". But no... t'was a one week Oscar qualifier, that. So it opened Friday and will be expanding to more markets in April. Better late than never I suppose but hiding Kristen Stewart's only performance that can hold a candle to her Joan Jett work and keeping Garrett Hedlund's explosive sexiness from the world is a shame. It'll prove the turning point of his career if the right people (i.e. auteurs and casting directors) see it. Oscar traction was always going to be hard to come by since the Academy doesn't at all value youth and sexuality in men the same way they obsess over those qualities in actresses.
If you haven't read "On the Road" it's worth a read. Good for cultural literacy given it's iconic place in history.
I think of Dean Moriarty..."

To enter the contest - I have three autographed books to give away - shoot me an email with name, addy, and a sentence on the longest road trip you ever took... where'd you go?  

 

Tuesday
Jan152013

Tues Top Ten: The Year in Dance Scenes

Michael C. here. Over at Serious Film I've been handing out awards for 2012, but when I tried to name the dance scene of the year I realized 2012 was too packed with great contenders to choose only a single champion. So here is a more comprehensive list of the best scenes where characters couldn't fight their dancing feet.

Honorable Mentions

I consider Holy Motor's accordion scene more parade than dance otherwise it would surely top this list. Likewise I don't know quite how to classify Philip Seymour Hoffman's disturbing performance during The Master's nude party fantasy although it certainly impossible to forget. As for Magic Mike all the movie's dance scenes blended together in my memory, so maybe some Ladies of Tampa can enlighten me in the comments as to which one was the standout. 

 Top 10 Dance Scenes of 2012 

10. Take This Waltz 
I wasn’t as in love with this infidelity drama as many were, but it had a handful of great scenes where I could see what everybody else was so excited about. The finest was a house party where the secret life of Michelle Williams’ character threatens to spill out into public view on the dance floor to the tune of Feist’s terrific cover of Leonard Cohen’s Closing Time. 


9. Silver Linings Playbook (and 8 more films after the jump)

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jan042013

Mine is the Way of the Link ♫

Buzzfeed Young Christopher Walken looks just like Scarlett Johansson
Where the Day Takes You 140 still-living actresses who were born before 1930! 
Coming Soon the Carrie remake pushed back several months to October release... same weekend as Malavita so I get JMoore and MPfeiffer on the same weekend. ayyiiieeeeee
Backstage a plea to the Academy to dump Nicole Kidman and choose Ann Dowd. Ugh, people... you can have both. Just don't nominate Amy Adamzzz or Maggie Smith (she's better on Downton Abbey anyway!). But FWIW Kidman is genius so this article is suspect ;) 

Pajiba lists 10 FYC Ads least likely to be "considered" by Oscar. Sad really because I guarantee youse that the one for On the Road praises two performances that will inevitably be better than something that will be nominated instead of them. 
MNPP watch JA squirm his way through Les Miz. He just can't deal with the all the singing. The constant singing!!!

Speaking of Lez Misérables, Buzzfeed has a funny character guide that is so so so true. I love the recurring Cosette gag. Here's Javert...


TV
Playbill YAY. Sutton Foster will be back on your TV on Monday with the return of "Bunheads". Watch it with me!
Slate Even bigger YAY. Downton Abbey is back on Sunday. With Shirley Maclaine joining the cast
Gawker shares the best thing on TV this week (apparently)... Jessica Lange doing "the Name Game" for American Horror Story. A twitter follower asked me if I'd watched it but I had to admit I hadn't. I can't deal with Ryan Murphy television: so erratic in plot/characterization/quality... even within single scenes! 

Finally...
Have you seen the Jennifer Lawrence issue of Vanity Fair? I kind of love Jennifer Lawrence as a celebrity even if I don't love her performance in Silver Linings Playbook (though that's almost the definition of "celebrity" in terms of performance, it's so look at me sparkly and charismatic) but I'm starting to remember how very young she is with some of her quotes. Like this one:

 Not to sound rude, but [acting] is stupid,” Lawrence says. “Everybody’s like, ‘How can you remain with a level head?’ And I’m like, ‘Why would I ever get cocky? I’m not saving anybody’s life. There are doctors who save lives and firemen who run into burning buildings. I’m making movies. It’s stupid.’

Ugh, I hate it when actors are "above" acting. Blargh. Acting is an art. And art is important. Be proud of your craft. Actors are magicians of embodiment, sculpters of emotion, and channellers of human truth. Or they can be when they're doing it right.

Saturday
Dec292012

Kristen Stewart is a Rock Star and Other "On The Road" Discoveries

The Scene: September* 2012, NYC. An industry screening and cocktail party for On the Road.

Kristen Stewart stood at the front of the crowded screening room in a white oversized dress shirt and black slacks. Director Walter Salles and co-star Garrett Hedlund stood beside her and she shifted nervously while they all spoke to the assembled Academy and Guild members and small pockets of press types like me. The "stop looking at me" vibe, already familiar from her many public appearances rippled outward. One wants celebrities to enjoy the rarified air they breathe, both because success is a beautiful coveted trophy and because careers in the public eye require being looked at to achieve any degree of it. I've written about my discomfort with her discomfort before in a piece that was provocatively called "Jodie Foster is Wrong: On the Mandatory Price of Fame." Yet, through the course of the evening I found myself reconsidering her particulars.

Kristen Stewart does her randiest (and maybe her best) work ever in "On the Road".

*Yes, this scene I've set took place in September.

I foolishly didn't write about the party immediately thereafter though it happened to be the first awards season get together of 2012 as "the Doyenne of Buzz" Peggy Siegal reminded us in welcome. Even then On the Road (The Movie) seemed to be as lost in time as its protagonists were on the map as they drove and drove, searching for connection, energy, sex, thrills, drugs, music -- anything that felt alive. I knew the film wouldn't open until the tail end of the year in limited release (possibly near you) and I wondered, as I often do, what I'm to do as a film blogger about movies that remain so elusive, movies with strange and distant release dates. Films, like movie stars, are invented to be looked at, but many of them hide despite the best efforts of publicists, filmmakers and journalists who are eager to embrace them and discuss them with moviegoers.

[I worried, even then, that this moody sweaty retro film would be utterly ignored in the crush of Shiny Noisy Awards-Baiting Behemoths. The Adult-Oriented Christmas Multiplex Glut is simply no place for a film that so pointedly craves wide open spaces and young hormonal surges. I'm mystified that the distributor (Sundance Selects) didn't choose to open this one somewhere between July and October, much more comfortable climates for its subject matter and appeal.]

Very briefly at the after-party I spoke with Kristen Stewart about the green splint on her finger which I had mistaken for an oversized piece of costume jewelry. She told me I wasn't the first and held it up, not for my benefit but for her own 'why do people keep mentioning that?' contemplation. I never learned how she'd hurt her finger and that's all we said to each other. But in the little circles that form themselves around The Talent at these industry parties, she seemed perfectly content, if still a bit restless, to be talking to other people in her profession. As I left the party I felt a little bad about my impatience with her celebrity unease because up close and impersonal, I suddenly saw it from a different and I assume clearer perspective. Kristen Stewart isn't, in spirit, a movie star but a rock star. Rock stars are allowed more antagonistic friction between themselves and the world. Sometimes they're even rewarded for it.

...all of those smashed-up guitars.

Hedlund & Stewart. True Lust Forever.

This is, quite obviously, why Stewart's previous best performance to date was as Joan Jett in The Runaways. And it has to be why she's so mesmerizing again as the untamed teenage bride "Marylou".

Stewart's fame far outstrips that of her male leads but for all her screen magnetism in this particular role, the true star of On the Road is Garret Hedlund as "Dean Moriarty" the object of nearly everyone's affection. Hedlund made his way through that same September party with an eager friendliness in amusing unintentional direct contrast to his co-star. It's remarkably easy to fall in deep like with him and in the film it's impossible not to fall in deep love. Were On the Road to be more widely seen, Hedlund's explosive sexuality as Dean coupled with the quality of his acting would make him an instant 'cast him in everything!' sensation. On the Road doesn't always work but Hedlund's star turn definitely does.

I recently screened the film a second time and left with the same impression. The same impression that the film wisely underlines. The classic book and this film version both conclude with a confessional mantra: 

I think of Dean Moriarty. I think of Dean Moriarty. I think of Dean Moriarty."

I dare you to see the film and leave thinking of anything else.

previously
more Kristen Stewart
more Garrett Hedlund 

Thursday
Nov082012

Hedlund Owns The Road

Michael C. here.  Walter Salles’s big-screen adaptation of Kerouac’s On the Road is set for limited release December 21, but I fear that if people aren't buzzing about this one before Christmas then there's a real risk that one of the year’s best performances will be lost amid talk of Hobbits and show tunes sung live on set. So to prevent that happening I’m going to get the ball rolling right now: Garrett Hedlund deserves to be nominated for Best Supporting Actor.

FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION

Sam Riley may be the lead as Kerouac stand-in Sal Paradise, but the character is something of a cipher, passive and observant and taking notes the whole time. As Dean Moriarty, based on beat generation figure Neal Cassady, Hedlund has the star part. He drives the action. He is the guy who everyone talks about when he’s off-screen and is the unquestioned center of attention when on-screen. It's a daunting role. Hedlund needs to make Moriarty a solipsistic, libido-driven egomaniac that makes a wreck of all his relationships while at the same time have him be so irresistibly brilliant and charming that we believe it when all the other characters are attracted to him despite this behavior. It’s not for nothing that Kerouac originally wanted Marlon Brando for the role. 

Hedlund delivers big on all these counts and makes it all seem effortless. In one electric scene he lets fly with an impromptu monologue about a party that evolved into a bizarre orgy, and you can feel the whole story skipping right off the surface of Dean's Benzedrine-addled mind. 

Any film of On the Road is going to rise or fall based on the character of Dean. The character embodies all the novels romantic deals about the excitement of the open highway as well as the story's tragic grace notes when the road trip ends. That this adaptation works as well as it does suggests that voters need to find room among all the beloved veterans for one of 2012's breakout stars. 

The Best Supporting Actor Race

Saturday
Dec312011

Five Linky Pieces

But You're, Like, Really Pretty has fun reimaginings of all those actresses once rumored for the Lisbeth Salandar role like Evan Rachel Wood. Mia Wasikowska is actually the closest to a Rooney Mara look and Anne Hathaway is just so wrong. (My what big eyes she has!)

The Hollywood Reporter looks at the 'Contender Cast-Offs'. Those films we kept wanting to put into Oscar lists but which kept not having release dates like Wettest Country and On the Road

The Atlantic thinks A Better Life made a stunning case for immigration reform. (That movie sure is keeping itself in the spotlight well past its summer run!)

The New York Times has a fun piece on the personal angst of top ten lists by Dan Kois.

Empire grills celebrities on movies they enjoyed this year. Zac Efron likes "freaky" movies like The Skin I Live In and Shame (who knew?) and Emma Stone is a walking FYC for Bridesmaids which she calls a "game-changer". Patton Oswalt, who I can vouch for as a movie maniac since I've heard him gab about movies casually in person with fellow industry types loves The Tree of Life and Bellflower

Monday
Apr182011

Make Way For The Many Angel-Headed Hipsters

JA from MNPP here, with the first couple of pictures from Walter Salles' adaptation of Jack Kerouac's semi-autobiographical classic On the Road. (via) On the right that's Sam Riley as Kerouac stand-in Sal Paradise, with Garrett Hedlund as Neal Cassidy stand-in Dean Moriarty. No look at Kristen Stewart or Kirsten Dunst or Viggo Mortensen, amongst others, yet. Apparently the few people who've seen the film so far are saying the film, and Stewart in particular, as very good. No specific release date's set yet but it should be out before the end of the year.

We just saw Kerouac and Cassidy on-screen last year in Howl, played by Todd Rotundi and Jon Prescott, seen here:

It's a popular time to be a Beat, eh? I wonder why On the Road's finally able to get made after all these years. Does anybody think Mad Men's successful fetishization of the Sixties has anything to do with it?

.