Magic Trip: Ken Kesey's Search for a Kool Place: movie review
A hippie trip pieced together from rough footage, 'Magic Trip' may have limited appeal for the general public.
In 1964, Ken Kesey, already famous for writing â€śOne Flew Over the Cuckooâ€™s Nest,â€ť set out across America in a psychedelically painted bus with his self-described band of Merry Pranksters, including Jack Kerouacâ€™s road buddy Neal Cassady at the wheel. They filmed the trek, starting out in the West and ending up at the New York Worldâ€™s Fair, but it took documentarians Alex Gibney and Alison Ellwood until now to assemble a movie out of the almost 100 hours of highly variable 16-mm footage and nonsynchronous sound.
The result may have value to '60s sociologists, ethnologists, superannuated hippies, and Kesey fanatics, but for the most part what is on view is a jumble of scenes featuring pranksters getting high on grass and LSD. This journey was chronicled in Tom Wolfeâ€™s â€śThe Electric Kool-Aid Acid Testâ€ť and perhaps thatâ€™s enough. For me, the best part were the shots of the Worldâ€™s Fair â€“ "the World of Tomorrowâ€ť â€“ where I rambled as a kid when the world seemed a lot bigger. Grade: B- (R for drug content, language, and some nudity.)