Cincinnati Babyhead

Speaks his mind on music & movies!

Flick: Guest Take – Five Easy Pieces

download (13)

I’m handing over the popcorn and the chocolate covered peanuts to Jim (Doc) from Music Enthusiast. Like a lot of the people I’ve hooked up with on this sharing of music and film, Jim has seen a few films in his time. Like the common ground we’ve found with music we have found the same ground with film. I’ve been on his case to do some film takes. So to probably shut me up he has given of his time and picked a fantastic film to share with us. Back when CB was toiling in the old time movie houses ‘Five Easy Pieces’ was one of the gems I caught. Jack Nicholson was hitting his stride and I was becoming a life long lover of these kinds of films.

So I’m happy to present this fine take from one of my go to guys, Music Enthusiast on Five Easy Pieces’. Thanks Doc!

download (14)

Jack Nicholson hustled in B-movies for years until 1969’s Easy Rider. And suddenly the 32-year old actor – nominated for an Academy Award for his performance – was an overnight sensation. His first dramatic role after Rider was Five Easy Pieces, a tale of a ne’er-do-well scion of a musical family. The title refers to five musical pieces by Chopin, Mozart and Bach. (Eroica is a Beethoven piece.)
Nicholson’s character, Robert “Bobby” Eroica Dupea, is a classically-trained pianist who has never been comfortable in the role his elitist family has laid out for him. In fact, when we first see him, he’s working on the Texas oil fields with his buddy Elton. (Elton’s a good ol’ boy, Bobby plays at being one. In a great scene, Bobby is stuck in a traffic jam on the way to his job, jumps out of his truck and starts playing piano on the back of another truck. Worlds collide.)

download (15)

download (21)

images (17)
Bobby spends his time bitching about his crummy job and low-rent lifestyle. He doesn’t know who or what he is (classical pianist? working class hero? World-class cad?) He has a diner waitress Rayette (terrific Oscar-nominated performance by the late Karen Black) who loves him but who gets empty promises in return. Bobby takes advantage of opportunities to have sex with other women, then lie to Rayette. (One of his “girls on the side” is Sally “Ann” Struthers who would star in All in the Family the following year.)
Bobby eventually has to head back to his home state of Washington when he finds out from his pianist sister that their father has had a couple of strokes. Rayette goes with him and they pick up a (I think) lesbian couple, one of whom hilariously spouts out all sorts of rhetoric about how the world is filled with crap and filth. (Her partner is played by Toni Basil who later went on to sing and have a big hit with a weird cheerleader song called “Hey Mickey.”)
The most famous scene in this movie is the chicken salad sandwich scene. It helps establish Bobby as the simmering hothead who dislikes stupid conformist rules.

Without giving too much more away, it all comes to a head – as you’d suspect – when Bobby gets back home. Feeling embarrassed by her working-class roots, he leaves Rayette in a motel and goes to visit his family. Showing his true colors, he pretty quickly moves on his brother’s girlfriend and shows his disdain for his family and their intellectual pretensions. Bobby finally talks to his now-mute father in a moving and affecting scene, sensitively directed by screenplay writer Bob Rafelson.
At one point in the movie Bobby says, “I move around a lot. Not because I’m looking for anything really, but to get away from things that go bad if I stay.” And the central question for this character by the end of the movie is given his choices, what will he do? The movie states this in a way that is unambiguous, clear and I think, true to the character.

download (22)
The Seventies were a golden era for this type of character-driven movie and for actors like Nicholson and DeNiro. Highly recommended. The film was nominated for four Academy Awards and five Golden Globe Awards and, in 2000, was selected to be preserved by the Library of Congress in the National Film Registry.

 

30 comments on “Flick: Guest Take – Five Easy Pieces

  1. Yeah, Another Blogger
    January 27, 2019

    Real good review by Jim. Very perceptive.

    CB, I saw Neko Case and her band two days ago. If they pass thru your area, don’t miss them. Bye!

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      January 27, 2019

      He has his own style and nailed it. When I read reviews like this I want to watch it that night. You always mix your takes up with films you’ve seen. More recent. You keep CB current.

      Now here’s how things work. I was just listening to her new recording ‘Hell-On’ yesterday. She’s the real deal. Yeah she plays up in these parts a lot. Never seen her.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jim S.
        January 27, 2019

        I like how the trailer hits on some of the points I mentioned and gives a flavor of the flick. I’d never seen the trailer.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        January 27, 2019

        Hits on most your points. I like the scene with him and his father. Like the way it was shot. The setting and just the feel. Plus Jack being in the moment. I just really liked his early work And he does find some good stuff in this one,

        Like

      • Jim S.
        January 28, 2019

        In the moment. That’s an Interesting phrase. I don’t act so I kinda sorta know what it means but probably more meaningful to an actor.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        January 28, 2019

        Yeah, you totally believe what he’s doing because he does.

        Like

      • Jim S.
        January 28, 2019

        Interesting point. Actors are pretending to be someone and yet have to somehow pull off the magic trick of actually believing that they are that character experiencing that emotion. In the moment.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        January 28, 2019

        That’s the trick.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Jim S.
      January 27, 2019

      Thanks. Well worth your time if you haven’t seen it or haven’t seen it for a while.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. BuriedOnMars
    January 28, 2019

    “I want you to hold it between your knees.” Good movie.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      January 28, 2019

      Jim’s take makes me want to see it again. Mars it was filmed partially in BC. For a youngster you have your finger in some good films from the past. Good stuff.

      Liked by 1 person

      • BuriedOnMars
        January 28, 2019

        Youngster, eh? lol. I haven’t been called that in a long while. Yeah, my buddy and I had a mission in the 90’s to see every Jack Nicholson movie. I think we almost got there. I never did see Terms of Endearment but we got all the ’70’s ones, for sure. Five Easy Pieces was a stand out.

        Liked by 2 people

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        January 28, 2019

        I kind of grew up watching Jack in all his early films. They’d show them at these old repertory movie houses. ‘King of Marvin Gardens’ (with another CB fave, Bruce Dern), ‘Carnal Knowledge’ his biker films then ‘Last Detail’ and the great work after that. I drifted later on.
        New title for your site “Youngster Buried On Mars”

        Like

      • BuriedOnMars
        January 28, 2019

        Last Detail is another good one! “I wouldn’t sh** you. You’re my favorite turd.”

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        January 28, 2019

        You know your stuff we could have a “quote” off.
        An Early Babyhead take.

        https://cincinnatibabyhead.wordpress.com/2016/11/27/movie-the-last-detail/

        Like

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      January 28, 2019

      Oh yeah, Karen Black’s character actually made me like that ‘Stand By Your Man’ song. She was so good in it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Jim S.
    January 29, 2019

    Lots of that male swagger from Jack in ‘Detail.’ “Call the Shore Patrol? I AM the fucking shore patrol.” 200 beers and a lotta laughs – tagline.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      January 29, 2019

      That is a great tagline

      Like

      • Jim S.
        January 29, 2019

        Heh! I did a little research and actually found a newspaper from 1974 with an advertisement for the movie. It’s got a picture of the three guys and says, “5 days, 4 cities, 7 women, 3 brawls, 200 beers and a lot of laughs!” There’s your movie and doubtless a pretty good summary of part of CB’s early life.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        January 29, 2019

        Except I wasn’t “The fucking Shore Patrol”. If you go to the IMDB site (which you probably know) they have so many good quotes from that film that bring it all back. Same for ‘5 Easy Pieces’

        Liked by 1 person

      • Jim S.
        January 29, 2019

        CB was a Mountie perhaps.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Chris
    February 3, 2019

    To me, Five Easy Pieces has two of the best sequences of 70s cinema: the luncheon table is fun, and the ending at the gas station has rarely be bettered. The part when he meets his old dad is moving.

    Like

  5. J.
    February 5, 2019

    Jeez. I still haven’t seen this… I don’t know why, cause I went through a big Jack phase a good few years back. Consumed everything I could find. I don’t know how I missed this. A great review from Jim, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      February 5, 2019

      It’s an essential Jack flick. Jim did a fine job.
      That reminds me. I just watched ‘The Homes-man’ on the weekend and thought of ‘Burials’. No rush but I’m up for a rewatch on that one for sure.

      Liked by 1 person

      • J.
        February 6, 2019

        I haven’t seen that one yet. Good?

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        February 6, 2019

        Yes it is. Tommy Lee wrote and directed it. Same as ‘Burial’. I think you’d dig it. See if you can find it, if not Ill send it to ya.
        I’ve been listening to Joe Henry on and off all day. Just stumbled onto ‘Blood From Stars’. One cut ‘Over Her Shoulder’. Fricking awesome. He’s doing ‘Suit on a Frame’ right now. i think this is going to be a fave.

        Liked by 1 person

      • J.
        February 6, 2019

        Yeah, I thought that looked good… It’s on my list, so hopefully I spot it.

        Blood From Stars is another goody… some of his best stuff on there.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        February 6, 2019

        Let me know. Can ship it over no problem.
        Yeah Henry is growing on me more and more. Have you done a take on him? ‘Blood From Stars ‘is going to be lived with for a while. So much to like. Thanks for the nudge towards him. See why you dig him so much. Love discovering new music especially when it’s this good.

        Liked by 1 person

      • J.
        February 6, 2019

        I never have, actually. Maybe should do a ‘short cut’ on him. He’s been a constant on my stereo for 20 years now. Since a pal said “here. Listen to this”.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply to Chris Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Information

This entry was posted on January 27, 2019 by in 1970 Film, Academy Award Nomination, Drama, Jack Nicholson and tagged , , .

Categories

%d bloggers like this: