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Showing 1-10 of 13 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 26 reviews
on January 28, 2014
I found this online one day browsing and since I was exposed to Jack's literary talents in my teenage years reading great works like On the Road, the Subterraneans and the Dharma Bums as well as owning his spoken word/performance records, since put together as a box set The Jack Kerouac Collection, I thought it would be a good time to grab this visual piece of history. Its a fairly good document about the man and his life with inputs from friends like Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, William Burroughs and Kerouac's daughter Jan as well and makes for an interesting insight into the eyes of what he felt and saw. Although Kerouac demurred at the title of being the leader of the "Beat" generation of the 1950's, it was during this period that his writings of prose began to overflow with 1st person inspiration and he possessed a style that wasn't understood for its time, but acknowledged and recognized as an innovative, creative craft, nonetheless.

There is footage of him a year or so before his death that reveals a jaded, somewhat withdrawn presence on the William F. Buckley tv show wherein a seemingly intoxicated Kerouac is involved in a discussion with the host about the Vietnam war, America and government in relation to the "counter-culture" movement in the late 60's and he seems uneasy and irritable throughout the broadcast. There's also footage of a younger Kerouac on the Steve Allen show 8 years back from the Buckley show and it reveals a more positive side to the writer briefly allowing a glimpse into his persona and psyche. I would say, if you're a fan of Kerouac, despite this being rather old(1981, I believe), its very good to have, if nothing else, for an entertaining hour or so of your own time to spend and reminisce with if you're a devoted follower. 4 stars
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on June 10, 2011
This film is filled with in-depth interviews from all of the Beats and includes footage and readings of Kerouac himself, even some from late in his life. Get it for the commentary and the chance to see the personalities of so many influential writers talking about what they know best: themselves. You will learn a lot, especially if you are a writer. The portrait of Kerouac is authentic. It shows all his sides. The interviews have that same feeling of authenticity. There is a little bit of posing but no agendas. They are just telling it like they saw it, then and now. You get to see where Kerouac came from and who he became. The viewer is given the space to make his/her own sense of it: the tragedy and the brilliance.

You will not get a play-by-play coverage of all his novels and writings. You will not get a simple biography from birth to death. It is not about praise. Instead, the focus is on who Kerouac was and what he was about at pivotal periods in his life, which does a 180. You will get Kerouac's priest talking about his crucifix, verbal sparring with Ed Sanders, Corso waxing poetic about minstrels and poets, Burroughs speaking on fact and fiction, an ex-wife describing his eyes, Ginsberg covering the realities of Kerouac's mother, Neal Cassady smiling, Ferlinghetti being insulted, and the like. This film is filled with humanity and presence. It is a document much like a letter home.
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on March 17, 2016
This documentary has some rare interviews with peer writers, acquaintances and even his daughter. It's put together in such a way as to try and replicate the sights, sounds and feel of Kerouac's time. It generally follows his life and ultimate demise focusing on key highlights include TV interviews and timelines for his books. There's sort of a pathos throughout given his personal demons and ultimate drinking problem. Overall it's a great time capsule capture that does very well seeking out the man, his talents, the times and his circumstances.
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on July 2, 2014
Amazing interviews with Jacks circle of friends, some of which have now passed on.
Have met some of the people at the LOWELL CELEBRATES KEROUAC celebration in the past,
not many of the older friends don't come to it anymore.
But a good celebration it is!!!
Good film to enjoy, and there is more out there!!
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on November 2, 2016
Really interesting, but better for the newly acquainted as the video does an excellent job of consolidating all the factoids!
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on February 4, 2017
Insightful look at one of the men responsible for the largest world-wide cultural revolution in human history.
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on February 26, 2008
Of course there was no generation just a handful of writers and poets who all knew each other. After reading all the books about Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady and reading all the books written by Jack, Jan Kerouac, Carolyn Cassady, and Ann Charters I finally discover this little gem of a documentry. It's the first time that I've ever seen Jan Kerouac, Neal Cassady, Carolyn Cassady or William Burroughs on film. What a treat. If you don't know these people you'll probably be bored to death. But if you're a beat generation nut like myself, this is a real gem. Don't miss it.
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on December 8, 2012
Beat Lit aficionados will not be disappointed. I have the old VHS version which was fine years ago. This new DVD is far superior in quality, and it contains an hour or more of extra material of great value.
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on September 11, 2007
I slipped this 1986 production in my DVD player a couple of nights ago after the wife and kids had fallen asleep, and while the trains to and from Tokyo roared by a hop skip and a jump away, and things were high-rise and pretty much all about the future outside my midnight window, I took a trip back in time to c. 1959 America. The first major point I want to make about this DVD is that it contains a young, electrifyingly handsome Kerouac doing his famous reading from On the Road. If this DVD contained only that clip, it would be worth the price. In fact, as the show proceeded, I found myself wishing that this clip was the only thing on the DVD, with options on speeding it up, slowing it down, listening only to the audio, perhaps having it simultaneously translated into Japanese (for friends who might drop by), French, Italian, and--what the heck--Mandarin too. The rest of the DVD outside of cameo appearances by a well-embalmed Huncke, an articulate Ann Charters, a righteous Diane di Prima, a super sound-byte by Creeley, an impressive Carolyn Cassady, a spookily laconic Burroughs, and a prim discussion by Snyder, was rather depressing. We see Neal Cassady a tick after his prime saying little but saying it quickly, a post-stroke Allen Ginsberg getting sly revenge on Jack's mother, and the trickster antics of Gregory Corso, gumming his words like an old drunk in your home-town bar, holding forth like (see previous), urged on to greater mental triangulations by the off-screen producer, and finally making a weird kind of sense. Joyce Johnson reminisces about Jack on the eve of his On The Road fame. One of Jack's wives tells it like it was (she couldn't deal with dirty bathtubs, so she went home), and the secret star of the show--Jack's wonderfully charismatic daughter Jan--also a writer--and beautiful--but doomed to die young--tells about compairing hand sizes with her pixilated dad while he watched the Beverly Hillbillies on television. Which brings up the painful parts of the video--almost as painful to me as watching a drunk Bukowski trying to kick his girlfriend in another DVD I saw recently--Jack being stupid on the William F. Buckley show, and Buckley egging him on, complete with snaky asides while a young, earnest Ed Sanders sits like an angel two seats down and is never really allowed to say much of anything. Jack comes across as a bully reeking of sweat and urine, hopeless, a soon-to-die wreck of what he was in the other clip. Gregory Corso at last fills the screen like the Fool in King Lear, however--wiser than his masters and mistresses--to really spell it out: success got Kerouac. All those people who wanted to tear off a piece of him for a souvenir, or buy him a gun to shoot himself with so they could say they'd done the deed later in case the camera crews came around, or buy him a drink, which was essentially the same thing as a gun--to kill his already gone beauty even more than it had been done in by much hard-living, drugs and many toasts to the moon. Yes, I was mighty depressed approx. 90 minutes later when the credits started to roll and Thelonious Monk (who also died young) began to play. But this was Japan in the year 2007, and out the window the Future was winking red and yellow lights.
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on August 19, 2015
A necessary film for anyone interested in who Kerouac was. Beautiful montages interspersed with interviews, this does honor to his memory.
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