Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Documentary Review: One Fast Move or I'm Gone: Kerouac's Big Sur

Kerouac Films has put out a new documentary on Jack Kerouac's novel Big Sur. If you haven't read this one yet then I suggest you go pick either the DVD/CD combo, the book, or both. Big Sur is considered by friend's and contemporaries of Kerouac's- like Ferlinghetti and Ginsberg- to be his last major gem before passing away from liver poisoning just several years after. Big Sur is the first novel post "On the Road," and Kerouac was beyond famous at the time of writing it. In fact, he was burnt out on all of the young thrill seekers who wanted to buy him drinks and belt their own stories of mischief and mayhem into his ears. It was a little ridiculous for the Jack man at this point. Hipsters were stalking his home in New York and the papers were writing about him every day gossip column style and hailing him as "King of the beatniks." So... becoming overwhelmed with depression and not being able to escape it or even pursue his life's passion, Jack decides to come out west and hide out in Ferlinghetti's cabin in Big Sur for some much needed isolation and attempt to get back to writing. Well, it doesn't work out quite the way he planned due mainly to his own lust for alcohol and San Francisco nights and the book turns dark and evil. The prose is untouchable, as usual, flowing and rhythmic with start-stops and rants. Meanwhile, the documentary includes "Kerouac," as narrator of excerpts and interviews with musicians, actors, literary scholars, friends, and contemporaries of Jack's including Tom Waits, Robert Hunter (Musician and Grateful Dead lyricist), Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and many more. The soundtrack is composed and performed by Benjamin Gibbard of Postal Service and Death Cab for Cutie and Jay Farrar of Son Volt and Uncle Tupelo. The songs are folk orchestrations of Kerouac's rhythmic and poetic prose brought to life again in a new light upon the voices of the seemingly odd-couple pairing. The documentary can be purchased at music stores or online and comes as DVD/CD or just soundtrack.

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