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Customer Review

146 of 153 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars humanity of jack, July 13, 2000
This review is from: What Happened to Kerouac? [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Nothing happened to Jack Kerouac. He died like the rest of us eventually will. Jack Kerouac was a regular human being. Now you're problably saying "yea I already knew that, so what?". But what you problably didn't know is that Jack used literature to show how beautiful and ugly human beings can be. Kerouac was a man equally feminine as he was masculine (read Charter's biography about his relationships with Ginzy, N.C., as well as the women of his life.) All of this is touched on in the video documentary, which thrives off the somber emotion,and that sort of "grey sky comtemplation" of things, which seems to pervade all of Jack's work. The video moves through Jack's life in a fairly straightforward manner. We see him as a shy french speaking Mass. adolescent, a cleft chinned Columbia undergraduate, a rucksack wanderer,a chanting buddhist,an aloof catholic, who loved his mother and drank much too much Johnnie Walker. In "What happnened to Jack?" we see Jack as who he really was, a confused, tortured, disenfranchised,happy, unhappy writer who was very good at putting words together, which gave an honest glimpse of what was going on in his heart and his mind. There are many great moments in the video. Any beat "junkie" will love the footage of Jack and Allen coolin' it near Columbia, smoking cigarettes and shootin' pool. There's a clip of Bird and Diz blowing hot jazz, the beats in S.F. at the debut of Ginzy's "Howl", Mike McClure, Jack, Snyder and Ferlinghetti at Big Sur recitin' and writin' smooth synapses of the happenings there and around. There are countless anecdotes and picturs of all your "beat heroes", which portray them as strikingly regular and very un-heroic. The video as a complete work is very delicious, but the tastiest bits come when Jack reads "October in the Railroad Earth" to a montage of San Francisco images. When a debonair Jack reads "On the Road" to Steve Allen's bluesy piano in perfect phrasing and time. And last but not least there is the comical and strangely serious Greg Corso explaining genious, fame, and why he thinks the "Beat Generation" was a phenomenon. Kerouac would problably want you to see this video because it shows that he was not a fad, an icon, nor a saviour for a generation. He was simply a regular man trying to find answers to very un-regular questions and he used his writing talent to unravel those mysteries.
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 3, 2007 3:56:06 PM PDT
Bruce Hutton says:

Posted on Aug 23, 2007 10:02:30 PM PDT
Francois says:
Great review. Well thought out. Put it on my Netfix list. Yep, they've got it.

Posted on May 1, 2011 12:58:58 PM PDT
R. Straw says:
Great Review. Its on my wishlist, now.

Posted on Dec 10, 2011 11:18:55 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 10, 2011 11:20:51 AM PST
I hate to disagree and I won't be mean but Kerouac was a tortured man from the git-go. He drank himself into a stupor every day of his life and that's what killed him at such a young age. He lived in Tampa, Florida and I lived in Cocoa Beach, Florida in 1967 when he passed away.

If you read the biography of Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac claimed to be heterosexual, yet, every time he caught up with Allen wherever he was, Jack would get drunk off his butt and beg Allen for sex.

Jack started off his beat life as a person rebelling against the established government, the McCarthyist's and Anti-Communists. By 1964 he drove Allen, Bill Burroughs, Neal Cassady, Gregory Corso and Lawrence Ferlinghetti away from him and flipped into hard-line right wing conservative. He began appearing as a regular panel member on William Buckley's Firing Line. I can remember one show where he was so drunk he fell out of his chair and he was lighting one cigarette off the other. When someone mentioned the Vietnam War he busted into the middle of the conversation and said, "Oh, the god-damned Vietnamese! All they want to do is steal our cameras and jeeps!"

In deference to your "review" I would say that Jack Kerouac would see this documentary, take a huge tug off his Jack Daniels bottle, laugh his butt off, and tell everyone to go to hell.

In his opinion (and mine) not even his wife knew what was going on inside him. That died with him.

Posted on Oct 12, 2013 8:35:13 PM PDT
SkyWriter says:
Thank you. Very melancholy.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 15, 2014 2:25:08 PM PST
THis is Allen Ginsberg the beat poet who wrotwe Howl. although I have never heard of him refered to as "Ginzy" which might be your point.
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