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Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart Tackle the Beats in Film; Who's Best?

Have Something More in Common Than 'Twilight'

Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart have more in common than Twilight. They have both made Beat Generation films. Who best captured the era?  (Photo: Getty)

Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart have more in common than Twilight. They have both made Beat Generation films. Who best captured the era? (Photo: Getty)

Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart have more than “Twilight” in common. They have both played characters in signature films about the ’50s Beat Generation, which gave birth to hipster cool, the counter-culture and anti-establishment ethos.

Now that Pattinson is about to debut in “Life,” his movie about ’50s icon James Dean, the question has to be asked.

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Has either actor done the Beat Generation justice?

The Beats came of age in the 1950s and were the first to question post World War II social conventions and mores.

In literature and social thinking the focus was on spiritual quests, mysticism, far eastern religions and the rejection of materialism, according to popular accounts.

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They also began experimenting with psychedelic drugs and sexual liberation, eventually morphing into the counter-culture of the 1960s, better known as the Hippies.

For the past five years, Hollywood has had a minor obsession with the founders of all things cool.

Stewart starred in the 2012 film “On the Road,” based on a novel by Jack Kerouac, one of the seminal voices of the time. Kerouac chronicled a cross-country trip with his free-spirited and free-loving pals.

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The ensemble cast included Garrett Hedlund, Sam Riley, Kristen Stewart, Alice Braga, Amy Adams, Tom Sturridge, Danny Morgan, Elisabeth Moss, Kirsten Dunst and Viggo Mortensen.

It also included Stewart’s first on-screen nude scene.

But critics generally panned the film for failing to capture the spirit and energy of Kerouac’s book. It scored a less than positive 46 rating on rottentomatoes, which tracks reviews.

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A far less publicized, but more highly regarded film followed a year later. The 2013 biographical drama “Kill Your Darlings,” focused on Beat Generation poet Allen Ginsberg.

It was set during his years as a student at Columbia University. In 1944, he was caught up in a murder investigation involving classmate Lucien Carr, and fellow Beat author William S. Burroughs.

Harry Potter’s Daniel Radcliffe and Pattinson’s “Life” co-star Dean Dehaan starred as Ginsburg and Carr respectively. Ben Foster played Burroughs.

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Carr is sexually involved with a jealous professor at Columbia (Michael C. Hall). He falls for Ginsburg and tries to break off it off. Shortly after, the professor is found murdered, and Carr is implicated.

Critics gave high marks to Radcliffe and Dehaan for their on-screen chemistry and the film received a strong 76 rating on rottentomatoes.

The film may have given DeHaan the inside track to play Dean in “Life.” Pattinson plays Life magazine photographer Dennis Stock, who shot Dean for a feature just as his career was soaring.

The photos became symbolic of the era.

Critics gave Pattinson some of the best praise of his career.

The film will hit theaters Dec. 4. Check out the final trailer below, let us know your thoughts and be sure to follow IM on Twitter for the latest movie news.


  • guest

    can we just STOP now with Stewart and Pattinson in ONE sentence .

  • blackbeanie

    I’ve seen Life too and agree with poster Ned, it’s a beautiful atmospheric movie. It was interesting to watch the story behind a couple of the most famous celeb photo’s ever made. I liked it more than On The Road too but must admit that, being a non American, i wasn’t very familiar with Kerouac and co.

  • Ned

    I’ve seen Life, it’s a far better film than On The Road in every aspect — cast, acting, script, direction, soundtrack, set decoration, you name it. Life captures the spirit of the Beat era in a way that’s accessible and intriguing.

    Edgy, atmospheric, and visually beautiful, Pattinson and DeHaan breathe life into the two men they play in a way that the cast of On The Road never did with their characters. Life has a score of 66 right now, which is Fresh, and while it won’t be a blockbuster, it will satisfy fans of good film, and fans of James Dean.

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