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On the Road (2012) - Cedar Lee / Lemon Grass

On the Road (2012)
Saturday, March 23 at 4-something p.m. (Watch the web site for an update)
Cedar Lee Theatre
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure
Directed By: Walter Salles
Starring: Garrett Hedlund Sam Riley Kristen Stewart Amy Adams Tom Sturridge
Running Time: 137 minutes
Official website:

Cedar Lee Theatre

Based on Jack Kerouac's beloved American novel, On The Road is the story of Sal Paradise, an aspiring New York writer, and Dean Moriarty, a devastatingly charming ex-con, married to the very liberated and seductive Marylou. Sal and Dean bond instantly instantly upon meeting. Determined not to get locked in to a constricted life, the two friends cut their ties and take to the road with Marylou. Thirsting for freedom, the three young people head off in search of the world, of other encounters, and of themselves. -- (C) IFC

Synopsis: The life of young writer Sal Paradise is shaken and ultimately redefined by the arrival of Dean Moriarty, a free-spirited, fearless, fast talking Westerner and his girl, Marylou.Traveling cross-country, Sal and Dean venture out on a personal quest for freedom from the conformity and conservatism engulfing them in search of the unknown, themselves, and the pursuit of "it" the pure essence of experience.Seeking unchartered terrain and the last American frontier, the duo encounter an eclectic mix of men and women - each impacting their journey indelibly.

WHAT: On the Road (2012)
WHERE: Cedar Lee Theater
WHEN: Saturday, March 23 at 4-something p.m. (Watch our web site for updates)
DINNER: Lemon Grass (Thai) at 6:30 p.m. (est.)

After the film we’ll take the one-minute walk south on Lee to the Lemon Grass (2179 Lee Road,[masked]) for dinner and discussion. While the film does have mixed reviews, no doubt it will be fine fodder for thought and discourse.



WHERE TO MEET - Meet at the entrance door 15 minutes ahead of time or look for the group inside the theater. This will be well attended so it is advisable to arrive early or purchase tickets on-line to avoid missing the start. We will sit in the upper level, center. The flick is 137 minutes, so expect to be out around 6:30-something p.m. You may also meet us afterward outside under the marque. If you RSVP, we will wait for you. If you do not have a photo posted, you will have to find us.

PARKING - Metered street parking is free in Sundays and quarter-hungry on Saturdays. The garage is never free so load up with 25-cent pieces. Credit cards work in the garage but at times, the line to pay can delay your arrival at the show. Plan on an early arrival. Many members park at a free city parking lot on Edgewood Road at the corner of Cedar, one block west of Lee Road. Its just a short walk west through the CSV lot. (watch out for the infamous Cleveland Heights POTHOLES!)

Since this is a brand new group, a word from your Organizers:

“We have costs associated with being on that we ask you to assist with. Our nominal $5 annual membership fee goes toward the charges and other related administrative expenses. Organizers are not compensated and contribute their time simply for the love of the art of film and your friendship. Please be current on those fees. You may use a credit card through the PayPal link in the left margin of our home page or pay the organizer in cash at your next event.

“Members of Music Cleveland! who have paid their annual fees will have dues waiver for Ciné Arts Cleveland! What a deal – a twofer!”


On the Road is a 2012 Brazilian-French drama film directed by Walter Salles. It is an adaptation of the 1957 novel of the same name by Jack Kerouac. The film stars an ensemble cast featuring Garrett Hedlund, Sam Riley, Kristen Stewart, Amy Adams, Tom Sturridge, Danny Morgan, Alice Braga, Elisabeth Moss, Kirsten Dunst and Viggo Mortensen. It was executive produced by Francis Ford Coppola. Filming began on August 4, 2010, in Montreal, Quebec, with a $25 million budget.

The story is based on the years Kerouac spent travelling the United States in the late 1940s with his friend Neal Cassady and several other figures who would go on to fame in their own right, including William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg.

On May 23, 2012, the film premiered in competition for the Palme d'Or at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. The film received mixed early reviews after it premiered at the film festival. The movie was also premiered at the 2012 Toronto Film Festival in September.

Previous attempts

A film adaptation of On the Road had been in the works for years. In 1957, Jack Kerouac wrote a one-page letter to actor Marlon Brando, suggesting that he play Dean Moriarty while Kerouac would portray Sal Paradise. In the letter, Kerouac envisioned the film to be shot "with the camera on the front seat of the car showing the road (day and night) unwinding into the windshield, as Sal and Dean yak." Brando never responded to the letter, and later on Warner Bros. offered $110,000 for the rights to Kerouac's book but his agent, Sterling Lord, declined it. Lord hoped for $150,000 from Paramount Pictures, which wanted to cast Brando in the film. The deal did not occur and Kerouac was angered that his agent asked for too much money.

Filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola bought the rights in 1979. Over the years, he hired several screenwriters to adapt the book into a film, including Michael Herr and Barry Gifford, only for Coppola to write his own draft with son Roman. In 1995, the filmmaker planned to shoot on black-and-white 16mm film and held auditions with poet Allen Ginsberg in attendance but the project fell through. Coppola said, "I tried to write a script, but I never knew how to do it. It's hard — it's a period piece. It's very important that it be period. Anything involving period costs a lot of money." Several years later he tried again with Ethan Hawkeand Brad Pitt to play Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty respectively, but this project also failed to work. In 2001, Coppola hired novelist Russell Banks to write the script and planned to make the film with Joel Schumacher directing and starring Billy Crudupas Sal Paradise and Colin Farrell as Dean Moriarty, but this incarnation of the project was shelved as well. Gus Van Sant also expressed interest in making the film.


Coppola saw The Motorcycle Diaries and hired Brazilian director Walter Salles to direct the film. Salles was drawn to the novel because, according to him, it is about people "trying to break into a society that’s impermeable" and that he wants "to deal with a generation that collides with its society." At the end of 2008, he was about to have the film greenlit when the American economy collapsed and French financier Pathe wanted to make significant cuts to the $35 million budget. Producer Rebecca Yeldham realized that they could not make the film Salles had originally envisioned. However, while talking to MK2 Productions in Paris about other potential films, they asked Salles if he had any passion projects. He told them about On the Road and at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival, MK2 greenlit production with a $25 million budget and Coppola's American Zoetropein association with Film4 in the U.K., France 2 Cinéma, Canal+, France Télévisions, Ciné+ and Videofilmes in Brazil.

In preparation for the film, he made the documentary Searching for On the Road, in which he took the same road trip as the lead character in the novel, Sal Paradise, and talked to Beat poets who knew Kerouac.[15] He did this in order to understand "the complexity of the jazz-infused prose and the sociopolitical climate that informed the period."[13] Salles was occasionally joined by the film's screenwriter Jose Rivera in addition to spending six months reading up on Kerouac. Rivera then began writing the screenplay, producing approximately 20 drafts. Later drafts relied less on the published book and more on the original manuscript, which had been typed on a 120-foot roll of paper and kept in all the real names.


In 2010, Salles had to convince the cast he had assembled in 2007 to remain committed to the project. This included Sam Riley as the alter ego of author Jack Kerouac, Sal Paradise, Garrett Hedlund as Dean Moriarty (Neal Cassady), who had been linked to the role since September 2007, and Kristen Stewart as Marylou. Salles had wanted to cast her after seeing the Sean Penn film Into the Wild but had to film her scenes before October 2010 when she started shooting The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn.

Kirsten Dunst was later cast as Camille. By the first week of August 2010, Viggo Mortensen and Amy Adams had joined the cast, Mortensen for the role of Old Bull Lee (William S. Burroughs) and Adams as the character's wife, Jane (Joan Vollmer). English actor Tom Sturridge was cast as Carlo Marx (Allen Ginsberg), poet and friend to both Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty.

Salles reunited with some of the crew members whom he worked with on The Motorcycle Diaries, including producer Rebecca Yeldham, screenwriter José Rivera, director of photography Eric Gautier, production designer Carlos Conti, and composer Gustavo Santaolalla.

Before filming began on August 2, 2010, in Montreal, Canada,[5][22] the entire cast underwent a three-week "beatnik boot camp," according to Stewart, which involved reading literature pertaining to the Beat Generation[23] and was led by Kerouac biographer Gerald Nicosia. He played an audio interview that was recorded in 1978 with Lu Anne Henderson, Neal Cassady's wife, on whom the book’s character Marylou is based.[24] To give the cast an idea of the kind of film he envisioned, Salles screened Jean-Luc Godard's Breathless and John Cassavetes' Shadows.

Principal photography
Filming began on August 4, 2010, in Montreal, Canada. After a month of filming in Montreal, the production shot footage in Gatineau, Quebec, on August 17, which stands in for Denver, Colorado, in 1947. The film shot for five days in the middle of October 2010 in and around Calgary, Alberta. The production also shot in New Orleans for a month and then returning to Montreal to wrap the final scenes. The production shot for a week in early December 2010 in San Francisco. Salles originally wanted to shoot inMexico for several weeks but with the escalating drug wars there, very little was filmed and the production moved to Arizona instead. In addition, the production also shot in Argentina and Chile with actor Garrett Hedlund at one point filming a scene in which he drove a 1949 Hudson Hornet in the Andes during a blizzard, wearing goggles and screaming out his window while director Walter Salles sat in the passenger seat holding a camera, with another camera mounted on the front of the car.

Hedlund described filming as "quite a guerilla shoot. At times, there’s just been two handfuls of crew members around us and it’s a very quiet situation." Cinematographer Eric Gautier shot several scenes with a handheld camera, and Salles encouraged the cast to improvise and "to make scenes flow and have a rhythm," said Hedlund.


Garrett Hedlund's portrayal of Dean Moriarty was singled out for praise.

Early reviews of On the Road were mainly mixed with the performance of Garrett Hedlund singled out for praise. The film has a 45% "rotten" rating on the website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 90 reviews and an average score of 5.5/10.

In his review for The Hollywood Reporter, Todd McCarthy praised the film, writing "While the film’s dramatic impact is variable, visually and aurally it is a constant pleasure. Eric Gautier’s cinematography is endlessly resourceful, making great use of superb and diverse locations". McCarthy also spoke highly of Hedlund's performance saying, "Although the story is Sal/Kerouac’s, the star part is Dean, and Hedlund has the allure for it; among the men here, he’s the one you always watch, and the actor effectively catches the character’s impulsive, thrill-seeking, risk-taking, responsibility-avoiding personality." Entertainment Weekly magazine's Owen Gleiberman wrote, "The best thing in the movie is Garrett Hedlund’s performance as Dean Moriarty, whose hunger for life — avid, erotic, insatiable, destructive — kindles a fire that will light the way to a new era. Hedlund is as hunky as the young Brad Pitt, and like Pitt, he’s a wily, change-up actor".

Kristen Stewart's performance garnered mixed reviews, with some critics writing "Stewart as Marylou completes the awkward threesome for a large part of the film and whilst there is little for her to do here she also makes very little out of what she has to work with," and that she "flatters to deceive, offering some moments of passion...criminally underplaying a character in Marylou who is supposed to burn with energy." However, New York magazine's Kyle Buchanan wrote, "Certainly, there's nothing regrettable about Stewart's performance here: It reestablishes the promising character actress last seen in Into the Wild and held captive as Twilight's leading lady for years," and Todd McCarthy said, Stewart "is perfect in the role." Peter Travers from Rolling Stones gave her a positive notice, calling her "a live wire. In the front seat of a car with Sal and Dean – all naked – she jerks off both boys with a joy that defines free spirit."

In her review for The New York Times, Manohla Dargis criticized the film saying, "Mr. Salles, an intelligent director whose films include The Motorcycle Diaries, doesn’t invest On the Road with the wildness it needs for its visual style, narrative approach and leads. This lack of wildness – the absence of danger, uncertainty or a deep feeling for the mad ones – especially hurts Dean, who despite the appealing Mr. Hedlund, never jumps off the screen to show you how Cassady fired up Kerouac and the rest". Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian felt that the film was a "good-looking but directionless and self-adoring road movie", and that it had "a touching kind of sadness in showing how poor Dean is becoming just raw material for fiction, destined to be left behind as Sal becomes a New York big-shot. But this real sadness can't pierce or dissipate this movie's tiresome glow of self-congratulation".

Finally, Time magazine's Richard Corliss had a problem with Salles' approach to the material: "Though there’s plenty of cool jazz in the background, the movie lacks the novel’s exuberant syncopation — it misses the beat as well as the Beat. Some day someone may make a movie worthy of On the Road, but Salles wasn’t the one to try. This trip goes nowhere".

Eric Ehrmann, writing in the May 31, 2012 Huffington Post, noted that while Walter Salles had the right stuff to make a trendy road movie about Che Guevara a decade ago his methods failed to mirror the actual renegade reality of the quintessentially American subculture San Francisco Chronicle columnist Herb Caen tagged as beatniks. Ehrmann, a pioneering New Journalism writer, covered the funeral of Jack Kerouac for Rolling Stone in 1969 and met Kerouac wife Stella Sampas, John Clellon Holmes, agent Sterling Lord, among others.


On Rotten Tomatoes – only a 44-percent Fresh Rating (click here)

On the Road review: The Beat is muted
Walter Salles’ adaptation of the Kerouac classic may actually be too faithful to the book.

By: Peter Howell Movie Critic, Published on Thu Jan[masked]

On the Road
2Sal and Dean and Marylou are ready to go On the Road and the asphalt beckons, but the screen refuses to ride along.

It’s been ever thus with Jack Kerouac’s epochal tome of restless youth. There’s been talk of a film version of On the Road right from the 1957 debut of this Beat Generation classic, including a movie that Kerouac hoped to make starring himself and Marlon Brando.

Brazil’s Walter Salles (The Motorcycle Diaries) gets closer than anyone ever has — and not just for the simple reason that he actually got a movie made, after decades of failed attempts by otherszoom
With Sam Riley playing wandering writer Sal Paradise (Kerouac’s surrogate), Garrett Hedlund as his wild man accomplice Dean Moriarty and Kristen Stewart as their femme foil Marylou, Salles and screenwriter José Rivera really get all the madness & sadness & angels along the road to enlightenment.

The film is a handsomely photographed and competently cast work that does justice to Kerouac’s concept of “the purity of the road.” Yet there’s still something maddeningly lacking about it.
I admit to personal confusion and gear-shifting. I liked the film when it premiered at Cannes 2012, but a more recent viewing (after Salles trimmed some 15 minutes in running time) left me feeling considerably cooler to it.

It’s one of those regrettable situations, I think, where the movie is too faithful to the book. In seeking to bring the novel’s fragmented narrative and jazz-influenced dialogue to the screen, Salles and Rivera have somehow tamed it. We still recognize what we see, but we don’t feel it.
Initial excitement leads to ennui as a parade of characters dance before our eyes without making much of an impact.

Beginning in 1947, as shy writer Sal first encounters the mercurial Dean — a bisexual and Benzedrined ex-con described as “too busy for scruples” — the film moves from New York to San Francisco over and over, just like the book.

There are stops and digressions along the way as they engage with a conflicted poet named Carlo Marx (Tom Sturridge, actually playing Beat poet Allen Ginsberg), a “teacher” named Old Bull Lee (Viggo Mortensen, actually playing author William S. Burroughs), a sexy siren named Camille (Kirsten Dunst, actually playing Carolyn Cassady, second wife of Neal Cassady, the inspiration for Dean Moriarty).
On it rolls, over and over, with these and other pseudonymous pals doing all the sex & drugs & all that jazz in ways that shocked the squares of the 1950s, but that today seem slightly more reality show than rebellious.

This is not to sell the effort short. Salles and Rivera deserve credit for not trying to make Sal and Dean seem like the saints. The film doesn’t sanitize how Sal and Dean treat the women in their lives, which by today’s standards would be considered flat-out abuse. Dean shares his teen bride Marylou with Sal while also being unfaithful to her and to Camille, who was his mistress before becoming his second wife.

A moving picture of On the Road should theoretically be able to lift the manic energy from the page to the screen, yet it paradoxically fails to do so. We hear some of Kerouac’s famous phrases — such as the invocation that begins, “The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live” — but they only serve to make us want to return to the book, not to see the movie through to its anticlimactic ending.

From Rotten Tomatoes Super Reviewer, Emil Kakko

Fresh, handsome and atmospheric adaptation of Jack Kerouac's novel made with careful compositons by director Walter Salles. Salles captures perfectly the mood of beatnik era and also manages to somehow keep his story together even when the screenplay seems to wander off too much.

Young cast including Sam Riley, Gerret Hedlund, Kirsten Dunst and Kristen Stewart are all effective and believable in their roles. Still this film's biggest single masterstroke is Eric Gautier's fantastic cinematography. His camera is the true star of this film and Gautier manages to capture the atmosphere and beauty of roadside America with poetic's eye. There are images that will stay with you for a long time and moments that look simply amazing. Gustavo Santaolalla's score is also nice addition to films atmosphere with it's jazzy touches.

So basically On the Road sound[s] like a great film but ultimately it is quite not that. Unforunately Jose Rivera's screenplay has too many elements, too many characters and most of all too much lenght. After hour and a half this film begins to repeat itself and becomes even a slighlty boring experience to watch. With much more heavy editing this could have been a near masterpiece it at times resembles. Now, it is just good enough. On the Road is still very watchable and entertaining film that is also best film in it's director's filmography.

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