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Review: Howl (2010)

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I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by
              madness, starving hysterical naked,
       dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn
              looking for an angry fix,

I’m not sure if I’m in the majority when I say I have never heard of Allen Ginsberg or if I am alone in the matter. I know the name sounds familiar, but before “Howl” (The movie, not the poem) I would have probably guessed some former United States General, or an actor from the 60’s. So my opinion on “Howl” is very weighed by this fact. Of course after the movie, I not only have an elementary knowledge of the famous beat poet, but also of the time he lived in, and even his most famous work.

To start off, the entire movie has a very documentary feel to it. The film is composed of 4 intertwined sections, the animation of the poem, the decency court decision, an interview with Ginsberg himself, and flashbacks from the interview. Perhaps it is because the took an interview of the real Ginsberg, and the real court documents, that it feels very real, and tells more about Ginsberg than I would ever need to know. James Franco continues to amaze me, and shows just how much he embodies the characters he plays (I am ignoring Spiderman). In my mind, Allen Ginsberg is a bearded James Franco.

The animations are the only debatable thing in the movie. From what I can tell, viewers are kinda in a love/hate thing with the visualizations and the reaction is pretty split.  For me, it kept me watching, which is all that really matters. I wasn’t blown away by it, but I wasn’t repulsed. Yet, I can see why there are such strong opinions on the matter. Just make your own opinion, and stop me from just talking for taking’s sake.

Is “Howl” a good movie? Yes. Is it great for Ginsberg fans? I’m assuming so? Is it for everybody? Most definitely not. My suggestion? If you don’t call yourself a Ginsberg fan, go read “Howl” and see if that piques your interest.

Rating: B-

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One response »

  1. Pingback: Summer Movie 2011 Flop Chances « Weekday Matinee

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