The Trip/Review

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The Trip is a movie that has always aroused fond memories for me. It was a movie that i watched countless number of times during my college days and i still occasionally watch now and then. Even my last viewing ended up with a huge smile plastered on my face. Now i have met a lot of people who wouldn't agree on my repeated viewings of this movie but that's okay.

If there was ever a movie where the plot can be described in one line, it would definitely be this one. A guy, Paul Groves ( played by Peter Fonda), takes his first dose of LSD after going through a messy divorce. That about sums it up. The rest of the movie is purely what goes on in his mind and what he experiences during his "journey". It is a fascinating attempt at trying to show a trip down the rabbit hole in a 90 minute movie. There has been many movies that end up being a psychedelic experience but rarely do you have a movie that try to portray what goes on in a person's mind having that psychedelic experience. Thankfully, it also does not go the Reefer Madness route showing some bizarre aftermaths of drugs and try to show the experience as a complete descent into madness even tough it looks like he might be having a bad trip at places. At the end of the movie, it even hints that the guy has winded down and going back to life as usual.

Roger Corman is the biggest MVP in any movie he is involved in and it has his stamp all over it both for better and for worse. A good friend of mine had told me after watching the movie that if feels like a movie that is written by a guy who is high on drugs but not directed by one. Though i dont agree with him, i do get what he means. Even at its most trippy moments, it does feel like someone is cutting corners. That is another criticism i usually hear about it. That for a movie that is trying to portray a drug induced haze, it looks too cheap and is not psychedelic enough. Well, it is Roger Corman who we are talking about who made the movie with a prayer and a few nickels as usual but i mostly rebut saying, well, it is trying to show ONE guys trip and what is going on in HIS mind and might not be the same for others.

Talking about writing, it is amazing to know that it was written by Jack Nicholson no less which in retrospect is not that surprising at all. Not the sneering superstar Jack Nicholson we have come to know but the struggling actor who often showed up in random bit roles through out the 60's. Also look at its amazing star cast which includes Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper and Bruce Dern. All guys who would go on to do greater things in the future. And to think that just a couple years down the line, three of the four aforementioned guys would end up making Easy Rider, a cornerstone of the 60's counter culture and cinema in general.

Sure, there are more harder "psychedelic" movies out there and it might not even be one of Roger Corman's better effort. But i would rather see it as a time capsule into a fascinating era where a bunch of people just wanted to have fun. I mean, its hard not to watch the movie and not think about where these young cast and crew would end up eventually. For that alone, The Trip is a movie worth seeking out.

Reviewed by Alif Majeed

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