Top critical review
on 22 March 2016
An interesting if somewhat underwhelming film of live footage of the Merry Pranksters 1964 bus trip across America. For decades this pioneering event of the proto hippies has been viewed through the lens of Tom Wolfe's excellent book in which he captures so brilliantly the strange fizz and edginess of the tripping counterculture. The actual live film of the event doesn't seem to quite convey this - although occasionally it does, as in some of the scenes of them playing about by lakes or inside the bus with Neil Cassady rapping on etc. If you're expecting a bunch of longhairs with beads and bandannas etc, forget it - this predates all that and anyway it seems slightly irrelevant - these people were highly motivated and energised and clearly onto something, unlike a number of the later hippies who were somewhat lethargic even if well meaning. I would still recommend reading Tom Wolfe's book which is totally electrifying and captures the feeling so well.