Not only does Gayne not give us a reason to be interested in the poet, but the poetry’s written in such a way that makes him insufferable to listen to, saying things like “I believe in art and expression.” He’s like a college student who took one creative writing class and now believes he has a third eye. By the way, if you have to tell people you’re a poet, you’re not a poet. If you’re a good one, it will precede you; if you’re a bad one, keep it to yourself.
A similar problem arises with the drunk guy who has a habit of waking up in unusual places. Gayne doesn’t give us any reason to follow this man. There’s nothing tonally affecting, the dialogue he has with the people he meets is flat, and it’s visually bland. In short, there’s nothing to grab onto as the story whizzes by. You can make a movie that’s nothing but people in cars having conversations, and it could be the most riveting movie ever made. But if you set out to do that, you’ve saddled yourself with the burden of writing that movie. You might as well point to the cheap seats before a pitch.
“…there’s nothing to grab onto as the story whizzes by.”
The road has been the stage for some of the greatest American stories. It’s the one place where you can always find freedom, in all its messy, chaotic, not to mention, dangerous glory. States is messy and chaotic that much we know. But it’s missing the substance and style that have given the great road stories a reason to be told.
Instead of sitting in a car with Kerouac and Cassady, States is like sitting in a car with a broken radio that abruptly changes channels every three minutes, with no rhyme, reason, or rhythm. That said, I did like the ending. It reminded me of that Sam Jaffe scene in The Asphalt Jungle. You know, the one with the girl and the jukebox.