Archive for the Books Category

The Road: Like the book only with Viggo Mortensen

Posted in Books, movies with tags , , , on January 3, 2010 by Parker Connell

So The Road the book is really good. I read it a couple years back when it was getting a lot of critical praise also it was around the time I finished No Country for Old Men and then the movie came out and I was all like “Hey this McCarthy guy is all right, what else he got?”. So I picked it up and started reading, three days later I had no effing clue what I had just read, only that it made me feel depressed and slightly ill, also that I loved it.

Now let it be known that I love film adaptations of books, Kubrick worked pretty much exclusively in that realm and nobody complains about him right, but when I first learned that The Road was getting adapted to the big screen I was worried. Who is going to want to fork over millions of dollars to make a movie about a guy and his kid walking around in abject horror of being eaten or raped. What executive is going to read the conversations between father and son about how to properly kill ones self in the event of imminent rape or cannibals. Apparently somebody did (maybe Oprah I think she liked this book) and they gave it to John Hillcoat, the guy who directed my favorite western (The Proposition). Also the studio saw fit to allow Hillcoat a modicum of freedom because the adaptation is probably the best I have ever seen, the look of the film is great, and the tone is pitch-perfect.

They really did go all out with this movie, you can tell. Mortensen and the kid Kodi Smit-McPhee are really damn good, I mean they kind of have to be because 99% of the movie is them. Sure you have Greg Dillahunt (who probably has a Cormac McCarthy clause in his contract) being really gross, Robert Duvall being goddamn Robert Duvall, but lets come back to him in a minute, and you have Michael K. Williams being crushingly pathetic, as well as a few other cameos, but they last no more than 5 minutes all together the rest of the movie is Man and Boy hiding, eating, fighting, and caring about each other. Also discussing death and suicide in a very serious, very disturbing, very unusual but none the less real, way.

On another note, on the topic of Robert Duvall, this guy is good. Like really good, in every movie he has ever been in. I realize he is an old dude, but why isn’t he in every movie made in America? In The Road he has on short scene as an old man the Boy takes loving pity on. Most of it is just Viggo and Duvall sitting next to a fire talking about the world, nothing else happens, but damn Duvall is still acting his ass off. Seriously, look at every other actor who had a major role in The Godfather Pacino is a borderline joke, he has become a caricature of himself acting in crappy movie after crappy movie, Brando went from being the greatest actor in the world to an overweight lunatic acting in such classics as The Island of Dr. Moreau and The Freshman, James Caan was in some shitty t.v. show right, also Elf which was pretty good but he doesn’t do much anymore, i don’t have a problem with that i guess its better than what Pacino did to his reputation as a respectable thespian. Other than those guys you have John Cazale who died shortly after the movie, leaving behind a really good list of movies, and Robert Duvall. What is my point you ask, my point is that Robert Duvall is the best actor in The Godfather, so he is in the running for best actor ever, for ever.

Back to The Road, or back on The Road depending on how big a Kerouac fan you are, it’s quite good. It left me just as emotionally shaken leaving the theater as the book did after I set it down, and really that’s what I’m looking for in a movie, emotional damage.