The Road Movie Book

By Steven Cohan; Ina Rae Hark | Go to book overview

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.


Notes
1
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.
2
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).
3
“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).
4
I am using this term according to the method for genre analysis theorized by Altman.
5
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).
6
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.
7
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.
8
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.
9
The Babbitts, of course, bear the surname of Sinclair Lewis's archetypal business fraud.
10
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).
11
Obviously the skittish Raymond has not kept up to date on Amtrak's safety record.
12
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.
13
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

-227-

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The Road Movie Book
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Plates ix
  • Introduction 1
  • Works Cited 14
  • Part I - Mapping Boundaries 15
  • 1 - “hitler Can't Keep 'Em That Long” 17
  • 2 - Western Meets Eastwood 45
  • 3 - Mad Love, Mobile Homes, and Dysfunctional Dicks 70
  • Notes 86
  • Works Cited 89
  • 4 - On the Run and on the Road 90
  • Works Cited 107
  • Part II - American Roads 111
  • 5 - Almost like Being at Home 113
  • 6 - Wanderlust and Wire Wheels 143
  • 7 - Exposing Intimacy in Russ Meyer's Motorpsycho! and Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! 165
  • 8 - The Road to Dystopia 179
  • Works Cited 202
  • 9 - Fear of Flying 204
  • Notes 227
  • Works Cited 228
  • Part III - Alternative Routes 231
  • 10 - The Nation, the Body, and the Autostrada 233
  • 11 - “we Don't Need to Know the Way Home” 249
  • 12 - Hom E and Away 271
  • 13 - Race on the Road 287
  • 14 - Revitalizing the Road Genre 307
  • 15 - My Own Private Idaho and the New Queer Road Movies 330
  • 16 - Disassociated Masculinities and Geographies of the Road 349
  • Index of Films 371
  • General Index 375
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