On the Road - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

On the Road Reviews

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½ April 15, 2015
Meh, it was alright. Not as interesting as I thought it would be. But neither really was Kerouac's book after a couple chapters. I didn't finish reading it but I'll probably give it another shot someday.
The acting in here is pretty good. Though the standout for me is really Kristen Stewart, who has been noticeably improving in this department since she's been taking more challenging roles.
There is a duality to these guys' life, particularly Dean's. The adventures are wild and crazy, sometimes even enviable. But it is debatable if Dean is ever actually really happy. Sal seems to have more of a balance. He knows how to have fun (if drugs and one-night stands are your thing) but he also knows how to adjust to regular society and be a decent human being. But that is probably why he, and everyone else, is so drawn to a guy like Dean. Dean has no limits and cares for no one really but himself, when it comes down to it. He comes and goes when he wants to. It's a good character study because you just wonder how Dean has made it all this time without contracting something. But I honestly didn't really care for these characters too much.
An okay road trip movie about a bunch of hedonistic 20-somethings.
April 13, 2015
This movie was pretty awful I'm surprised I even got through the whole thing.
½ April 7, 2015
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February 15, 2015
On The Road is an eccentric, offbeat, messy, beautiful, and compelling film all at the same time. For me, it was also an invigorating, engaging, and exciting film bursting at the seams with life as it ponders philosophies and existential thoughts about the times, where things are going, and who we are as people.

There's a lot going on in this film, and I was engaged so thoroughly that I couldn't leave my seat to either go get myself another drink or to use the bathroom because I was too into the film. I adore it and it is one of those rare films that makes me feel alive while watching it. It's not just a generational film of its time, but it still resonates deeply and emotionally.

The story begins in the late 1940's with a young writer named Sal Paradise, who is introduced to a young man named Dean Moriarty, a strange, free-spirited, promiscuous rebel, along with his 16-year-old wife, Marylou. From that first meeting, Sal's young life is turned completely upside down by Dean, even though Sal knows that he's being manipulated by Dean and even calls him a conman.

But, Dean's zest and vigor for life is something that Sal and his friends cannot stay away from, which over the course years takes them on a strange cross country journey meeting strange people, falling in and out of love, sex, drugs, jazz music, philosophical and existential discoveries, a rebellion against the social norms of the time, hopes, dreams, and everything in between.

The storyline is what really had me glued to my seat the whole time. I know that I'm really into a film when I can't even pause it to go take a piss, and this is one of those films that actually pulled off that feat. My description of the plot is far shorter than what the film actually presents, but it's something I feel you should watch and experience to absorb all the details, people, and places it shows the viewer.

It's a story about living life to the fullest and not giving a damn about how society dictates how you should live it, even if it means fiercely rebelling against it. It's also a wild ride that explores the ups, downs, ugly parts, and weird parts of life as young people try to grow up and find their place in the world. In a sense, it's not just about living life, but also about growing up. Hell, there are plenty of other themes to discover as well, if you look hard enough.

The acting is also pretty damn good, including by some performers I wasn't expecting to be any good, like Kristen Stewart, in her performance as Marylou. Hell, there's a whole cast of talented people this film managed to nab, all of whom deliver great performances.

But, the best performances go to Garrett Hedlund as Dean Moriarty and Sam Riley as Sal Paradise. The two actors fully absorbed themselves into their characters, and these are performances that I'm unlikely to forget any time soon because I was so engrossed by their exhilarating performances. They made me believe and I couldn't help but become invested in the lives of their offbeat characters.

As far as entertainment goes, chances are you will hate this film, like most other people who have watched it due to its slow pacing and what some would describe as "too artsy" feel. It seems that everything people hated about this film, I loved about it. I found myself exhilarated by the characters' journey across America (And later on, to Mexico, as well) with all the beautiful sights to see, the people they met, the various cultural differences they encountered, their pondering of life, the sexual escapades, the drugs, the drama - I was absorbed from start to finish and I was also interested and excited to see where the strange characters would take me next. I never got bored and I loved every minute of the journey.

On The Road is a tremendously underrated indie art house flick. It's hard to recommend this to most people, as it is definitely not for everyone and will be too off-putting and slow for most. All I can say is, if you enjoy indie and art house films, at least give it a chance. I can't guarantee you'll derive enjoyment, even if you're into such films, but I think it's something I think should be seen at least once if you like such films. For me, it's an underrated masterpiece of superb storytelling, beautiful imagery, stunning acting, great music, and interesting themes and ideas that made it absolutely engrossing and enamoring to me.
January 15, 2015
America- the 1940's, post World War. The dawn of the age of the Beatnik. "On the Road" is based on the Jack Kerouac novel of the same name, which is still loved by many as one of the great American novels. The film follows a young writer named Sal Paradise as he criss-crosses the country, his life often intersecting with the charismatic Dean Moriarty. They do things. They take copious amounts of drugs. They have a lot of sex. They never stay in one place for too long, because there is always that pull to go back on the road.

I tried reading "On the Road" once. I honest to God tried. I couldn't finish it, because it bored me to tears. There's a lot of rambling musings of strung out poets that sound a lot more profound than they are. These are the kind of guys you meet at parties that are sitting in the corner, surrounded by a small crowd of half-plastered listeners, as they drone on about how "light is darkness man. We're all just on a cosmic loom. You're all zombies, man! Somnambulist droves of ambulatory automatons (etc. etc. etc...)" Stuff that sounds deep and meaningful that will end up on some stoner's dorm room poster one day. I was hoping that the film would perhaps capture my attention in a more meaningful way.

It did not. But at least I was able to finish it this time.

I understand that this story is loved by a great deal of people. Its all about experiencing life, letting go of your inhibitions, finding true freedom, yadda yadda. What bothers me the most is that through the whole meandering 2-hour runtime, our main character never has any real goal, except for a vague search for Dean's father, and from beginning to end, none of the characters really change all that much. Maybe that's all fine and good for a story that is "like real life," and this just captures a few moments in time, but for crying out loud, this is a movie, and we need SOMETHING to hold on to to keep us invested in this plot. We only seem to jump from meet up to meet up between Dean and Sal, where they then proceed to get wasted, talk to each other in ways that no humans actually speak, listen to music, get seriously lit up, then have an orgy.

Maybe its a metaphor for the free-flow of creativity. These little wispy nuggets of inspiration come careening out of the infinite and onto the page, seemingly from nowhere, and we all just need to hear about it in a movie. Ya dig?

It's not all bad, though. The movie is filmed very well, particularly the sequences when they are traveling. These scenes actually do make me want to pack up and hit the road, just for the feeling of an open highway and unknown destination. That IS fun. I get that.

The music was subtle and beautiful, orchestrated by the talented Gustavo Santaolalla (Into the Wild, Brokeback Mountain, The Last of Us) and accompanied the travel sequences well.

Garrett Hedlund as Dean channels an early 90's Brad Pitt (which is interesting, considering that at one time, Brad Pitt was in talks for this very role.) He's very charismatic and charming, but also kind of a sleazy weasel. That's fun to say.

Sleazy weasel.

There is a surprisingly strong performance by Kirsten Dunst, of all people. I've always had a soft spot for her since I saw "Drop Dead Gorgeous" years ago, and Jumanji before that, but I hadn't seen her in anything recently, so that was a welcome surprise.

But then... there was Kristen Stewart. Oh, Kristen. When will you make a good movie? Yes, you were better in this than in Twilight, I'll give you that. But my goodness, you are not great at this acting thing.

There is also a disappointing and inexplicably weird role by Viggo Mortensen. At one point, he strips down and climbs into some kind of cupboard in the woods, claiming it has healing properties. Meanwhile, Amy Adams uses a broom to sweep lizards out of a tree. Wasn't quite sure what to do with that.

This is not a great movie. I insisted on giving it a fair chance, but it's not any better than the book, and it made for a somewhat meandering waste of time. It looks nice, and wasn't terribly acted by about half the cast, but you can find a better way to spend an evening. Check out Game of Thrones or something. Have you watched True Detective yet? You should, it's super great.

Ok.
January 2, 2015
While it's beautifully shot and boasts terrific performances from Garrett Hedlund and Kristen Stewart (Kristen Stewart!), On The Road fails miserably to capture the essence of Kerouc's tremendously immersive novel.
December 30, 2014
Wow. Kristen Stewart just gave 2 handy's in the front seat of a car in this weird movie haha
½ November 23, 2014
On the road to nowhere. I'm about half way there but so far it's just a bit dull. Filming some books is probably pointless without a story that is going to work on screen, and this one doesn't. It's not engaging, and I can't identify with any of the characters, though the performances are fairly good in the circumstances, and it looks good so...I might just watch it through.
If there's a message then maybe it's that the road is escape. Keep moving and you don't have to face your realities, but you can't stay on the road forever. I've not read the book in many years but could imagine doing so again. I don't expect to watch this film again.
½ November 23, 2014
Slow and labouring road trip of the free-thinking, made better with the quirky instances during and in-between excessive indulgence in life.
November 21, 2014
I think the big question here is: Should On the Road (the Jack Kerouac novel of the same name) have been adapted to a movie? Was it even possible to be adapted into a movie? Jose Rivera gave it valiant effort, and his influence is present alongside Kerouac's, but why? Lovers of the book are probably yelling at me through their screens right now, but to me, this was really meandering and scattered. Which. Yes. I know they were beatniks, that was kind of the point, but I don't think it necessarily made for a compelling movie. All that being said, it's really pretty. All of the different places you see them in are gorgeous and really well shot. Also, the cast list alone is insanely impressive, considering most of them pop in for a scene or two and then you never see them again (Specifically Amy Adams. I loved her part. Something completely different from her.) You could tell the whole ensemble was really into it, which made this watchable. I think this is one of Kristen Stewart's better performances, (it's also stated that this is one of her favorite books so that might have something to do with it) and I think Garrett Hedlund is really underrated. So, if you're a big Kerouac fan, you might get more out of this than I did, but other than that, this is just ok.
November 10, 2014
WOW.....WOW....WOW.....JUST SEEN THIS MOVIE 4 THE 1ST TIME N THINK THAT THIS IS SUCH A BAD MOVIE 2 WATCH, IT IS NOTHING SPECIAL 2 WATCH, I THINK THAT SOME OF THE SCENES SHOULD HAVE BEEN CUT FROM THIS MOVIE AS I THINK THAT IT WENT ON TO LONG, ITS GOT A GOOD SOUNDTRACK THROUGHOUT THIS MOVIE......ITS NOT THAT ENJOYABLE MOVIE 2 WATCH, I THINK THAT THIS COULD HAVE BEEN CUT SHORTER AS I THINK THAT THIS MOVIE WENT ON TO LONG, I THINK THAT THE SCRIPT WAS REALLY WEAK THROUGHOUT THIS MOVIE, ITS GOT A GOOD SOUNDTRACK THROUGHOUT THIS MOVIE, BUT THIS IS NOT THAT GOOD OF A MOVIE 2 WATCH, IT IS SUCH A BAD MOVIE 2 WATCH, IT COULD HAVE BEEN A LOT SHORTER AS SOME OF THE SCENES COULD HAVE BEEN CUT DOWN, IT IS NOT THAT GOOD OF A MOVIE 2 WATCH, I THINK THAT THIS IS A BIT OF A DULL MOVIE 2 WATCH,
September 26, 2014
I haven't gotten around to reading the book so I didn't have any expectations when I watched this... that said it seemed fine. I'm assuming the negative reviews are just based off of the fact that the book is superior, because this movie just felt pretty straight forwardly about a bunch of 20 year olds being 'youthful.' Maybe the fact that I left this movie feeling like I watched a Wranglers commercial is why everybody hated it, but that was basically what I expected so I can't say I'm disappointed? That said, it was pretty forgettable.
September 11, 2014
Flat is a good word for this film. No shape to the story, no dramatic highs or lows, entirely fragmented plot without exposition or explanation. And shot too close to appreciate the space and distance of America. If you don't know the book, then you're hopelessly lost. Actings good though...but Stewart does't look like she's from the 1940s. Not entertaining
½ September 1, 2014
A weak adaption of such a classic book
August 24, 2014
Lets begin. This is not the book. There are elements but imo the it is not even that close. The movie is good the book is great. Period. Youth, irresponsibility, exploration, drugs and sex. Period.
August 21, 2014
A good effort, but falls far short of the book. Dean is not nearly as crazy as he was, and Sal looks creepy and his voice over is awful, more Jack Nicholson than Jack Kerouac! Viggo ruled as Old Bull Lee as did Amy Adams as his wife! And the rest of the cast is good too! BeUtifull cinematography too! A good effort, but read the book first, and often!
½ August 17, 2014
I waited literally 41 years for this movie. It is very disappointing. It is one of my favorite books which I have completed 4 times.
July 30, 2014
it was better the second time, after reading the book.
July 24, 2014
I finished reading the book today and then I watched the film. I felt like the pacing reminded me of the book quite a lot. Of course several things were left out. It seemed as if they made things even more outrageous for the movie in some cases. Yet, I found Dean's character to be played down. I was surprised that almost all of the female characters were played by big stars. A decent adaptation, but I'm not sure that this book should ever have been a film.
½ July 16, 2014
Like any road trip; can we just get to our destination, already?!
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