1.18.2007

Road narratives

Well, Biffle's spacebar is sticking on his computer, so he's not interested in writing anything right now, which means I might as well share this random thing that has occurred to me lately: I really love road narratives. Maybe not books so much--none of my favorite books happen on the road, although I did get all kinds of gooey feelings from On the Road when I read it in high school--but movies and songs. Little Miss Sunshine, Thelma and Louise, The Muppet Movie are all road movies that I love--and that I love in part because they take place on the road. And songs--"America" by Simon and Garfunkel, "On the Road" by John Denver.

When you're on the road all your normal life constraints are loosened. You have this free space to try new things, to consider new possibilities. Road narratives are always sort of nostalgic, too, like the characters are grieving the identity they're leaving behind.

Anyway, since I've realized that I like this genre, you all can offer me recommendations of road books/songs/movies that I should check out.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Pee-Wee's Big Adventure

Enjoy :)

femme fortis said...

The Motorcycle Diaries is the best road trip movie ever if you can handle subtitles.

Kenneth said...

Y Tu Mama Tambien is a hot and troubling road movie.

CT said...

This goes back awhile, but a "road" book I remember being captivated by as a young teen was Cynthia Voigt's _Homecoming_. It's also sweet to me since part of the kids' journey is set in the Chesapeake Bay area (ah, Maryland). Your post made me want to go back and read it. I hope you enjoy as well!

Mary said...

ah! I was going to suggest the motorcycle diaries... but I have a backup. we just finished The World's Fastest Indian.

The Dad said...

OK, here is a list of some road movies. These are varied - comedies, dramas...

It Happened One Night - 1934 Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert

O Brother Where Art Thou - (You have probably already seen this one)

Road To Morocco - Bob Hope, Bing Crosby (Any of these "Road To -" pictures are classic stuff)

Stagecoach - 1939 A John Ford western that made John Wayne a star

True Romance - R rated drama with I think Christian Slater...

The Chase - Lighthearted "drama" with Charlie Sheen

The Sure Thing - Comedy with John Cusak (I think)

There are lots more. They may not be as classy as The Motorcycle Diaries but they are fun

The Dad

Alison said...

Whoa, you people are full of wonderful advice! I can't believe I forgot Pee-Wee--that's definitely one of my road movie favorites. And The Sure Thing--good one, Dad--I didn't even know you'd seen that. That was one of Jay's and my favorite movies in college.

And Y Tu Mama Tambien--Biffle and I watched that, but we accidentally rented the less sexy version, which was a shame.

Thanks for all the great suggestions!

Christie said...

Okay, this may sound a little extreme, but I promise you it's not. If you and Walter do nothing else before you die, watch "The Talent Given Us."

Then watch the thing about the making of the movie, where it tells how the filmaker's dad quit every single day in the making of the film.

Alison said...

Alright, on the basis of Christie's emphatic recommendation, I've added "The Talent Given Us" to our Blockbuster queue.

Daniel said...

In movies, Cameron's Crowe's Almost Famous plays at times like a great road flick... but his Elizabethtown tries to hard and the road portions feel contrived. Elizabethtown does carry the distinction of being the only road flick I've ever seen where the second person in the car (and the one doing all the talking) isn't actually there...

A road novel I liked back in the 1980s: The Monkey Wrench Gang by Edward Abbey (and a memorable character, if only for his name: Seldom-Seen Smith). A piece of road non-fiction that I really enjoyed in the 1990s: Tuva or Bust, the tale of physicist Richard Feynman and his buddies trying to get to Tanu Tuva during the Soviet era.

jaz said...

Absolutely yes for the Motorcycle Diaries.

Many of the short stories of Paul Bowles involve travel, being on the road, or arrogant Americans in ending up the wrong place at the wrong time.

As far as songs about being on the road... that's called the blues.

jaz said...

Oh, wait, one more. Did you see Little Miss Sunshine? It is kind of weird but also a little bit cool.