Following Jack Nicholson’s breakout supporting turn in Easy Rider, director Bob Rafelson devised a powerful leading role for the new star in the searing character study Five Easy Pieces. Nicholson plays the now iconic cad Bobby Dupea, a shiftless thirtysomething oil rigger and former piano prodigy immune to any sense of romantic or familial responsibility, who returns to his childhood home to see his ailing, estranged father, blue-collar girlfriend (Karen Black) in tow. Moving in its simplicity and gritty in its textures, Five Easy Pieces is a lasting example of early 1970s American alienation. –The Criterion Collection
Bob Rafelson is a neglected director mainly because he lays bare the myths essential to America. He does not sugarcoat the bitter dose of his satire, as do Coppola and Altman. A distaste on the part of mainstream critics has caused attacks upon, but mostly the neglect of, Rafelson’s The King of Marvin Gardens , which is his most representative film. Head is bound by the conventions of the teenage-comedy genre and shows few marks of Rafelson’s authorship; Stay Hungry is a minor work that sustains his standard theme of the dropout—this time it is a Southern aristocrat who falls into the underworld, which is ambiguously mixed with the business world above. Something of a popular success, Five Easy Pieces certainly demands attention.
Five Easy Pieces was the first expression of the burned-out liberalism that was to become the hallmark of American films of the 1970s. Rafelson’s film expresses the intelligentsia’s dissatisfaction with its impotency in light of an overweening socio… read more
70s as fuck. Nicholson's performance is widely praised (his best imo along with About Schmidt) but Rafelson's direction should be noted. I love that long pan over the old photos that tells you everything about the lineage of his family and how they are deeply rooted in the erudite intellectual class. And boy howdy: that ending!
The soundtrack is the only flaw of this film. It's less creative than the performance, cinematography, and editing. The audible synchronized ambiance sound was completely unnecessary. This is a character film, an impressionist one where the vision and the audio comes from the character. It only worked well once at the last scene at the gas station. Maybe it was something the makers didn't work on enough. 3 stars.
Clips and appreciations marking Jack Nicholson’s 75th birthday.
With his partner Bob Rafelson, Schneider played a major role in launching the “New Hollywood” in the 70s.
Horst von Harbou, still photographer on the set of Metropolis (1927) and brother of screenwriter Thea von Harbou, and so, brother-in-law
While TCM's festival runs on through the weekend, Los Angeles has a couple of other classic numbers playing as well. The Nuart
All The Critics Love You In [Name Of European City Here]: "It is just a little bit weird that if I appear in Europe, anywhere, and I go
Remarkable series and events are lighting up the coasts these days. Let's start in New York, with Ed Halter in Artforum: "The dynamic of
Bob Rafelson’s thoughtful and meditative reflection on alienation and existential angst perfectly captured the mood of the times, and further catapulted the ascendant star of the irresistible Jack… read review
I do believe, Five Easy Pieces is worth seeing for the pleasure of watching Jack Nicholson unable to get an order of toast with chicken salad. It’s funny, sad, and yet affecting to… read review
One of my all-time personal favourites, “Five Easy Pieces” is an absolutely electrifying drama perfectly summing up bittersweetness of the 60’s – a period of irreversible cultural transformation, which… read review