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`Kerouac' examines The Road Warrior from a beat perspective

By Jill Kerouac

As I was watching The Road Warrior, I had to think of Dean Moriarty. As the machine whirled and clicked like some gone cat on the skins, I licked my lips and rubbed my belly, just like Dean would have. My tired eyes set upon the long highways of New South Wales, reminding me of the purity of the road. Reminding me of my days with Dean, blasting to Denver with the highway unrolling and hugging our tires as if glued to our groove.

Only Max had it worse than me and Dean ever did. World War Three was a memory. The bombs had beat out of time, crashing, falling with a cacophonous clatter leaving the world looking like a stretch of Highway 99 I remember outside of Fresno. There are no rules in Max's world, only gas. Everybody wants a tank of juice, and for the ruthless the highway is one long self-service station with a glorious sign in its window, insisting: Please kill attendant before you pump.

The film opens with Max running flat out, balling that jack away from some crazy cats not digging his thing. Max doesn't give a damn about anything, except gasoline. He crawls like a big spider through the streets. His excitement blows out of his eyes in stabs of fiendish light. He rolls his neck in spastic ecstasy. Attempting to steal some juice, Max meets this crazy, tea smoking, whirlybird pilot who, in order to save his own life, tells Max where he can dig all the juice he wants. The Gyro Captain leads him to a hilltop lookout where they can eyeball the tank. Nothing happens that night; they go to sleep. Everything happens the next day.

The remainder of the movie is spent showing how Max gets his juice and kills all the followers of The Lord Humungous. That hip cat leads a band of rebels that look like they just came from Mission Street in Frisco. All they know is violence; that's their score. And in the end they come up dead even, but none the wiser.

Max digs the streets and gets his kicks. In a time of chaos, where man has chosen to ignore law and order, Max stands for nothing. He's a sonofabitch just like the rest of them. Everything just is, and that's the deal. When Max finds this bleeding cat on the side of the road, he agrees to carry him to safety. Max does not do this out of love for his fellow man; he does this for juice. Sometimes he helps people, and sometimes he hurts people, but he always blows true. Max is BEAT - the root, the soul of beatific.

The Road Warrior, sequel to the 1978 cult classic Mad Max, is frantically directed by Australian George Miller. His fast paced scenes sing skat. Here's a guy and everybody's there. It's up to him to put down what's on everybody's mind. He starts the first scene, then lines up his ideas, people, yeah, yeah, but get it, then he rises to his fate and has to blow equal to it. All of a sudden in the middle of the movie he gets it - I looked up and knew. Time stops. He's filling empty space with the substance of our lives, confessions of his bellybottom strain, remembrance of ideas, rehashes of old visions. He takes us on a journey, across boundaries of morality and mortality and back again so everybody knows it's not the movie that counts but IT.

The movie lasted longer than a bag of good tea, but I grooved the whole time. The final chase scene hit me hard, like a big shot of heroin in the mainline vein; like a gulp of wine late in the afternoon that makes you shudder; my feet tingled. I can go no further; I am sweating telling about it, dig?

Jill Kerouac is a psuedonym for Glen Weinstein '92 and Henry Sawtelle'93. This is the first of a series of articles in the style of a well-known author.