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Last Time I Committed Suicide
     

The Last Time I Committed Suicide

Director: Stephen Kay

Cast: Thomas Jane, Keanu Reeves, Tom Bower

 
While Neal Cassady never gained fame as a writer, he was a pivotal figure among the Beat poets and novelists of the 1950s. A close friend of most of the seminal figures in the Beat movement, Cassady's free-wheeling, larger-than-life personality was a major influence on Jack Kerouac, who used him as the inspiration for the character Dean Moriarity in On the Road

Overview

While Neal Cassady never gained fame as a writer, he was a pivotal figure among the Beat poets and novelists of the 1950s. A close friend of most of the seminal figures in the Beat movement, Cassady's free-wheeling, larger-than-life personality was a major influence on Jack Kerouac, who used him as the inspiration for the character Dean Moriarity in On the Road, and he was a founding member of Ken Kesey's post-Beat, pre-hippie "Merry Pranksters," driving their now-famous psychedelic bus (whose destination, then as now, was "Furthur"). The Last Time I Committed Suicide is loosely based on several incidents from Cassady's life, as well as an eight-page letter that he wrote to Kerouac about some complicated events in his love life. In the late 1940s, 20-year-old Cassady (Thomas Jane) was living in Denver and working the late shift at a tire factory when he became involved with Joan (Claire Forlani), a sad young woman with a suicidal bent, and befriended Harry (Keanu Reeves), a cheerful but past-his-prime alcoholic. Cassady also found himself the target of the affections of Cherry Mary (Gretchen Mol), a sexy 16-year-old whose mother, Mrs. Greenway (Christine Rose), doesn't much care for him; he also encountered Ben (Adrien Brody), a shy young poet whose interest in Cassady seemed to be more than just literary. Footage of the real Neal Cassady can be found in the documentary on the Beat Movement, The Source.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
If you're making a movie about one of the truly charismatic cultural icons of the 20th century, you should be sure to a) cast an actor who is actually charismatic, and b) choose an episode from his life that is actually interesting. Writer-director Stephen Kay strikes out on both accounts with The Last Time I Committed Suicide, a movie based on a letter written by Neal Cassady, who inspired the character of Dean Moriarity in Jack Kerouac's On the Road. Thomas Jane plays Cassady, and though he fights through his own limitations to give the character occasional sparks of life, he's also a completely forgettable presence, not nearly equal to the epic personality of this Beat Generation giant. Even Keanu Reeves, another famously stiff actor, registers more than Jane does here. Granted, Kay's script doesn't do either of them any favors. As much as it's about anything, The Last Time I Committed Suicide deals with Cassady's relationship to a lover who tried to kill herself (Claire Forlani). The film seemingly aspires to contrast her self-destructive impulses with Cassady's love of life, the very characteristic that defines him as a marrow-sucking, car-stealing, adventure-seeking rascal. But Forlani's underdeveloped character appears only at the beginning and the end of the story, leaving a murky middle in which Cassady and his cohorts play pool, go joy-riding, and talk about their vague yearnings and philosophies. The film's biggest cheat is that provocative title, which seems to reference Forlani's character. But that doesn't make any sense, given that the script is based on a letter from Cassady to Kerouac. Only later is the title revealed to be a line from that letter, functioning as an overdramatic metaphor for an opportunity Cassady feels he missed by yielding to temptation. Really, it's this film that misses its opportunity.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/13/2005
UPC:
0025192786426
Original Release:
1997
Rating:
R
Source:
Universal Studios
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Full Frame]
Time:
1:34:00
Sales rank:
45,103

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Thomas Jane Neal
Keanu Reeves Harry
Tom Bower Captain
Adrien Brody Ben
Claire Forlani Joan
Marg Helgenberger Lizzy
Gretchen Mol Cherry Mary
Jim Haynie Actor
Lucinda Jenney Actor
Amy Smart Jeananne
Christine Rose Mrs. Greenaway

Technical Credits
Stephen Kay Director,Screenwriter
Peter Abrams Executive Producer
Amy B. Ancona Production Designer
Tyler Bates Score Composer,Musical Direction/Supervision
Edward Bates Producer
Bobby Bukowski Cinematographer
J.P. Guerin Executive Producer
Dorian Harris Editor
Donald Kushner Executive Producer
Estelle Lasher Executive Producer
Robert L. Levy Executive Producer
Peter Locke Executive Producer
Leonard Marcel Sound/Sound Designer
Lawrence Mortorff Executive Producer
Elizabeth Robinson Executive Producer
Elizabeth Robinson Executive Producer
Louise Rosner Producer
Laurel Smith Casting
Christopher Violette Musical Direction/Supervision
Denise Wingate Costumes/Costume Designer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- The Last Time I Committed Suicide
1. Main Titles [3:31]
2. "Feel Better" [2:15]
3. Melted Cheese [4:15]
4. Going Nowhere [3:23]
5. Cowardice [4:39]
6. Sustenance [3:32]
7. Soul-Thrilling Pleasures [5:02]
8. The Pool Hall Temple [4:49]
9. Fresh Start [5:33]
10. Essential Information [9:24]
11. Return of Romance [5:58]
12. Missed Love [6:45]
13. Desperate Distraction [10:19]
14. Temptations From the Past [7:47]
15. White Picket Fantasy [3:59]
16. Superficial Plausibility [2:40]
17. Carrying On [5:56]
18. End Titles [3:23]

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