Boy was I looking forward to seeing Magic Trip. I even opted to skip out on Phillippe Farlardeau’s Monsieur Lazhar. But what can I say, I’m a sucker for life altering hallucinogenic drugs. But Allsison Edwood and Alex Gibney’s portrayal of Ken Kesey’s (auther of One Flew Over the Cuccoos Nest) failed attempt at a documentary was more then just an LSD fueled trip across the country. It was a story of humanity, equality, and the need for humans to transcend understanding and just be one with each other and nature. This wasn’t just a simple road trip across the country. They set out to change a nation that was in the infancy of revolution.
Sometimes the narration of the characters done mostly by voice actors, due to the fact that the film was poorly recorded, was a bit distracting. But I got over it. I was mostly excited to see Neal Cassady (the character Dean Moriarty is based off of in Jack Kerouac’s On The Road) get hopped up on speed and drive a bus for what seems like weeks straight. The larger than life character Keouac describes in his book seemed god like to me when I read On The Road. Seeing him in the flesh drove home this thought. When Kesey is asked, towards the end of the film, what he thought of Cassady’s death he responded that he likely "died accidentally, but on purpose, just so he could see what angels are like."
Magic Trip does a good job of un-demonizing a very powerful but, for the most part, enjoyable drug. But as it does this it also shows it’s audience that living in an LSD veiled world has its consequences. Sexual relationships on the bus get entwined to the point where nobody knows how to deal with them, so they just do more drugs and let things happen. The people on the bus suspend what they have come to know as human life and social norms and just let themselves satisfy urges. Sounds like a sweet trip to me but, by the end of it, the lines of reality and playing flutes in their underwear begin to blur and they get caught up in a make believe world. In the end Kesey says it best: “People do drugs so they can, when they are ready, stop doing them.” That’s not an exact quote by any means. I may or may not have been under the influence of mind expanding drugs.