Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Trailer Park Tuesday: Big Sur

Welcome to Trailer Park Tuesday, a showcase of new book trailers and, in a few cases, previews of book-related movies.  Unless their last name is Grisham or King, authors will probably never see their trailers on the big screen at the local cineplex.  And that's a shame because a lot of hard work goes into producing these short marriages between book and video.  So, if you like what you see, please spread the word and help these videos go viral.

I've mentioned before how I first met Jack Kerouac (in book form) at City Lights bookstore when I was in San Francisco for a publishers' trade show.  The book I plucked off the shelf on the bookstore's second floor--the late autumn light streaming hot and heavy as syrup through the windows--was Big Sur, the Beat writer's 1962 semi-autobiographical novel.  At the time I thought to myself, "This is good stuff, but they'll never make a movie out it--the writing is just too loopy and stream-of-consciousness."  Famous last words.  Now comes news from the Sundance Film Festival that Big Sur the Movie will indeed hit screens later this year, following on the heels of last year's On the Road (which suffered from mediocre box office receipts, despite the tease of a topless Twilight actress).  The trailer for Big Sur predictably features lots of crashing waves, excessive drinking, clouds of bar smoke, and big trees.  It's all very navel-gazey--pretty to look at, but meandering as a serpentine coastal highway.  My suspicions that this might be a difficult movie were confirmed when I learned the director is Michael Polish who, along with his twin brother Mark, has made some ponderous films like Northfork and Twin Falls Idaho.  While intriguing, those movies crawled along at a stubborn snail's pace.  Mefears the same will happen with Big Sur.  The cast includes Jean-Marc Barr as Kerouac, Josh Lucas as Neal Cassady, Kate Bosworth as Willamine “Billie” Dabney, Radha Mitchell as Carolyn Cassady, and an unrecognizable Anthony Edwards as Lawrence Ferlinghetti.  Big Sur fans will recognize one thing right off the bat: while Kerouac thinly disguised his cronies with fictionalized names, the movie tears off that veil and calls a Cassady a Cassady and a Kerouac a Kerouac.  Does this make the movie more honest?  I don't know, maybe the verisimilitude will help, maybe it won't.  I'm reserving judgement until I sit down with my popcorn and watch it.  Make that popcorn and whiskey.  Strictly for verisimilitude's sake, of course.

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