man, in all his connotations (law-abiding, not comically neurotic, heterosexual), on the road; for the road has come to represent, to the culture at large, the space where hegemonic masculinity is undone.
These are the terms used respectively by Frank and Simon. The former suggests the link with Neil Simon's Felix Unger and Oscar Madison. Haskell refers to the protagonists of 1970s buddy movies as odd couples also.
As Stuart Aitken and Chris Lukinbeal note elsewhere in this volume, “with many road movies . . . [there is a sense of] a psychic freedom that offers emancipation but, in actuality, practices emasculation” (353).
“Wild” is the privileged adjective Hollywood employs to describe the liberatory yet dangerous road ethos. Examples range from Wild Boys of the Road (1933) to the many biker movies inspired by The Wild One (1954) and The Wild Angels (1966), to Something Wild (1986) and Wild at Heart (1990).
I am using this term according to the method for genre analysis theorized by Altman.
Tom Snyder, in a study of Route 66, links a disconnection from the authentic nature of the US to the advent of inexpensive air travel: “A lot hasn't changed in the country in the last 30 to 50 years. People who travel the route get a feeling of what this country was - and still is. It's easy to forget that now with our frequent flier programs” (quoted in Schenden: E-8).
Grant (13) cites a 1985 New York magazine article, “Second Thoughts on Having it All, ” as a marker of this concern and notes that it coincides with the first appearance of what he defines as a “yuppie horror cycle.” Significant road movies, whether or not they critique yuppies directly, begin their return during 1984 to 1986, with Paris, Texas, Jim Jarmusch's Stranger than Paradise (1984), Lost in America, The Sure Thing (1985), and Something Wild the most notable titles.
One would think that a road man would love to promote a car company, but the implicit joke here is that the Mercedes-obsessed David is deeply insulted at being asked to hawk a plebeian American automotive product.
This was part of the heavily ironic prologue intoned by the narrator over The Fugitive's credits, one of the dubious opportunities that the train wreck “freed” Richard Kimble to pursue.
The Babbitts, of course, bear the surname of Sinclair Lewis's archetypal business fraud.
Suzanne Moore remarks of the film: “But then I guess that the logical conclusion to the sort of rampant individualism that Charlie displays at the beginning of the film is actually an autistic culture where such pathetic and routine-traits pass for communication and where intimacy means a kind of dying” (38).
Obviously the skittish Raymond has not kept up to date on Amtrak's safety record.
As in Paris, Texas, each film features vintage vehicles, the rented, olive-green sedan in Planes, Trains and Automobiles, the Native Americans' banged-up truck in Midnight Run, and, most prominently, the 1949 Buick Roadmaster convertible so central to Rain Man.
A clear predecessor to the 1980s buddy-road movies also is the escaped-prisoners-on-the-run The Defiant Ones (1958), which combines the plot trajectory and dead-end
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: The Road Movie Book.
Contributors: Steven Cohan - Editor, Ina Rae Hark - Editor.
Place of publication: London.
Publication year: 1997.
Page number: 227.
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