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, with his blue-collar girlfriend (Karen Black) in tow.
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Nicholson's Bobby is one of the great cads of American cinema, a restless wreck who belongs nowhere, a man with contempt for both the bourgeois privilege he jumps away from and the working class awaiting him at the bottom. Far more than Easy Rider, it deserves the tagline about a man looking for America and not finding it anywhere. And in the monolog to his father, we see the first triumph of Jack as a great actor.
Let's face it, this is a film that has one truly classic scene, and whenever anyone talks about this film, that scene is the one they mention. The rest of the film is very dull. I give it 3 stars by averaging out a 5 start scene in a 1 star film.
A complete classic. What makes me love this film is how interesting it is without you even knowing why. It defies everything they teach in screenwriting books; Bobby is not very likable and the likable characters are all treated miserably. There is no real character arc, no big plot that it rides on. I think the film simply tries to slowly let you understand these people. A refreshing film that I'll revisit often
Five Easy Pieces is incendiary magnificence. Jack Nicholson has rarely been better and Bob Rafelson does a phenomenal job of putting you in Nicholson's head. Five Easy Pieces is also chock full of great random and fleeting moments for which it has and will be remembered. The supporting cast is superb and the movie gets better with each viewing.
Five Easy Pieces is a perfect example of that scrappy, post-Vietnam 1970's American style that I can't get enough of. FYI It's playing at the Film Forum in NYC from Feb 26 to March 5th for its 40th anniversary, so if you have nothing better to do, smoke a joint and make an evening of it.
The quintessential 70's film. You really don't need to go any further to understand what the decade was trying to express with its art and how it went about it. Nicholson is great here as always and it's worth the price of admission for the scene in the diner where he orders the chicken salad sandwich.