Saturday, December 5, 2009

Five Easy Pieces (1970)

Starring Jack Nicholson, Karen Black, Susan Anspach, et al
Rated R, 98 minutes

Bobby Dupea (Nicholson) was a virtuoso on the piano at a very young age. Not content with that, Bobby ran away, and moved on to a job on an oil rig where we the viewer join him. And he's still running. He's still can't find a thing to make him happy. And at the end of this barrel of nerves is his doting girlfriend Rayette (Black).

I wasn't sure if Bobby Dupea was tortured by his genius, or just an arrogant idiot. In particular, the scene where he tells off Carl & Catherine's friends showed me he not only thinks he's above it all, he knows it. For what reason he's above it is unclear - probably even to Bobby.

It was especially hard to watch the Nicholson character treat his girlfriend so badly. It hit me pretty deep. The mistreatment comes early and comes strong. Perhaps that's a point in its favor as a good film - that it made me feel something - but I'll take the lumps of being an optimist who wants to laugh over watching more movies that so depress me.

Despite that grimness, I loved the ending. It was poignant and out of left field. And yes, I loved the diner scene. I was hoping the movie would keep up the tone established by the picked-up hitchhikers. Those scenes moved, they had a cool subtext, and they had some humor. Granted, I'm biased towards humor. And against most non-sequitur scenes, which this movie had several of - a little aggravating in the middle of a film I'm already slogging through.


Jack Nicholson hasn't disappointed me yet, and he's the reason I got any enjoyment out of watching "Five Easy Pieces." I was bored, bummed, and sometimes both. There's no doubt this did something for some people, but I need a different meat on my movie bones.

No comments: