"On the Road": Kerouac Would Be Meh

Director Walter Salles' adaptation of Jack Kerouac's On the Road has ruffled feathers from the moment it was announced, both for daring to film the venerated novel and for casting Twilight's Kristen Stewart. But this movie version of On the Road does exist, following the adventures of Sal Paradise (Sam Riley) and Dean Moriarty (Garrett Hedlund, last seen being not quite right in Tron: Legacy) as they bounce around North America in the late 1940s. While the movie is largely faithful to the structure of the book, and shows things an earlier adaptation probably couldn't have, it also hedges its bets by cleaning up the dialogue — after all, protagonists can't use words like "colored" or "Negro" or "fag" in a 2013 movie, even if they're in the source material and not using them is anachronistic. The only real pleasure of the meandering On the Road is the bevy of cameos, though Viggo Mortensen's version of William S. Burroughs is far less entertaining than his recent take on Sigmund Freud in David Cronenberg's A Dangerous Method, nor does he touch Peter Weller's portrayal of Burroughs in Cronenberg's Naked Lunch. Now, that's how you adapt a Beat novel.

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