Monday, 24 December 2012

Week 52: The Road

"Although we've come
 To the end of the road,
 Still I can't let go -
 It's unnatural..."
 - 'End of the Road',
 Boyz II Men
So here we are, stranded in Wyoming. Over the last 51 weeks I have watched 153 films, three for each state of America (including the District of Columbia). But I wanted one final week to take me up to magic 52 - and hence the concept of The Road. I suppose I could have tried to find three films set in Puerto Rico considering that they are making a play for statehood, but to me the concept of The Road is tied up with the mystique of America.
It is because the U.S. is so darned big compared to Britain. It takes time to get from one place to another. You could hardly have a revelation on the road to Darlington or get your kicks on the M6. Travelling from place to place gives a man time to think. The sights seen and the people encountered can change a man. The concept of the Road Movie is that the protagonist(s) leave their everyday life and encounter new experiences en route to their destination. By changing their location they transform their outlook.
And we've seen several examples of Road Movies already this year. In Into the Wild Christopher McCandless travels from state to state en route to his destiny in Alaska. In My Own Private Idaho the main characters pinball from Idaho to Washington to Oregon and back again. Just travelling from Los Angeles to Las Vegas exposes Hunter S. Thompson and his attorney to the dangers of "bat country". In Me, Myself and Irene Jim Carrey and Renee Zellweger are pursued from new York down through Vermont and into Rhode Island. Though I have to say that I do not think of the east coast when I think of Road Movies. Everyone there is too close together. For true cinematic splendour you need a lonely road, isolated truck stops and diners, and a limitless horizon. The wide open spaces of what was once the frontier are essential.
So, before I start pondering about what I have learnt on my journeys in 2012 I have three final films to watch. They are:
  • Easy Rider (1969)
  • Vanishing Point (1971)
  • Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
So let's keep the motor running and get out on the highway, looking for adventure and whatever comes our way!

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