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The ON THE ROAD Trailer Rundown

Kit Steinkellner

Staff Writer

Kit Steinkellner is a playwright, screenwriter, and creative writing teacher. She also writes about books and reading  at Books Are My Boyfriends. Follow her onTwitter: @BooksAreMyBFs


:10- We open with Jack Kerouac’s fictional alter ego Sal Paradise. Paradise does a bunch of voice-over talking about his dreams of being a writer. My most favorite literary cliché of all time! And by most, I of course mean LEAST, LEAST, AND MORE LEAST. There’s also a lingering shot of a typewriter, and then a super-lingering shot of Route 66. The only thing I love more than literary clichés is heavy symbolism! And by love, I of course mean I DON’T LOVE HEAVY SYMBOLISM OR CHARACTERS WHO WANT TO BE WRITERS WHEN THEY GROW UP.

:12- This is the part where I have to tell you guys how much I loved On The Road when I was a teenager. I underlined every line that I thought was poetic and profound, which means I underlined the entire book. As much as I liked this book, the only thing I concretely remember about the story is  that they drove back and forth across America, like, twelve times. I don’t remember anything else about the plot. I am told  by reliable sources that there is not that much more to remember.

:15: I really like this song where someone with an old-timey radio voice sings the word “dynamite” over and over again. I have Googled it twenty times and cannot find it ANYWHERE. If someone can find this song I will go on Twitter and tell everyone that you are a gentleman and a scholar. Or a lady and a scholar! Or whatever you want to be and a scholar.

:20- In the first 20 seconds of the trailer we meet, as mentioned, Sal Paradise (played by Sam Riley, whom you might remember from… nothing. No, seriously, IMDb him. You remember him from nothing), his personal idol and road-trip buddy Dean Moriarty (played by Garrett Hedlund, whom you might remember from Tron: Legacy, Eragon, and Troy. I don’t remember him from these movies because I only watch good movies) and Moriarty’s teen dream wife Mary Lou (played by Kristen Stewart, who you might remember from insert-joke-here-about-sucking-people’s-blood-and-never-smiling).

:45- There’s a really fun jazz sax solo and lots of shots of America. This is going to be 90% of the movie just like it was 100% percent of the book

1:00- This is the part where we learn that even though Dean is SO MUCH FUN, like all fun fictional characters, he CAN’T BE TRUSTED OR DEPENDED UPON. This is actually also like all fun people in real life.

1:07- We switch to a modern alt-rock song “Home” by Will Hanson. Because thanks to The Great Gatsby you have to have a contemporary song in the trailer to prove you’re… something stupid no one cares about.

1:18- We get cinema verité hand-cam shots of our three stars. We intercut this with the pavement moving rapidly underneath the camera. Kristen Stewart sits shotgun, her hair blowing in the wind. I’m supposed to feel things, and goddamnit I do, I DO FEEL THINGS. (Hitting my skull with both fists.) So.. easily…manipulated…by well-done editing…and music scoring… and hair-blowing…

1:25- “The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones that never yawn or say a commonplace thing but burn, burn, burn like roman candles across the night.” Now I remember why I underlined EVERY SINGLE LINE in this entire book.

1:35- Shots of a typewriter being typed on, the road rolling by, and Garrett Hedlund wearing a backpacking-across-Europe-backpack and shaking his cute-boys-can-get-away-with-washing-their-hair-only-once-a-week hair and smiling with all his teeth and JUST BEING HANDSOME, OKAY? Damnit, now I have to go see this movie. Also Tron: Legacy.