“Oh wow! What? Who’s that man? What the hell was that, man?”*
Oh, man, so I finally saw Easy Rider (1969) over the weekend. I was too young to see it when it came out, but it was on TCM and the OM and I watched it.
I think I may have waited too long. If I was too young in 1969, I am an old lady now. But it wasn’t a total waste of my time.
There were some nicely shot scenes by László Kovács of the boys riding through the scenic American West. The music was appropriate and of the moment.
But seriously, the script by Dennis Hopper, Peter Fonda and Terry Southern–which was nominated for an Oscar–is threadbare. It seems like most of it was made up as they went along. Wyatt (Fonda) and Billy (Hopper) sell drugs and score some big bucks, so they head out on the highway to go to Mardi Gras. They do drugs and meet some cool (not really) people on the way. They are free, man. And by free I mean free to do drugs.
Okay. Is this freedom? There is much drug-induced talk about freedom and exchanges like: “Where you from man?” “Hard to say.”
I don’t buy it, man.
Our heroes seem perplexed that people look at them askance and seem to judge them for being dirty, probably smelly, drugged-out, oddly-dressed bikers who disrespect the American flag. The ending seems extreme. I think they just needed to end the movie and couldn’t think of another way to do it.
Roger Ebert thought the movie was a “great” one when he reviewed it in 1969. Here’s the review. I’m still not buying it.
I’m sure my brother, who graduated from high school in 1969, saw this movie, but I can’t remember what he thought at the time. He probably thought it was pretty cool. After a semester in college he kind of resembled Dennis Hopper.
He even had one of those suede coats with fringe. At the time I thought he was channeling John Wayne in Fort Apache, but maybe I was mistaken. Looking back, it is just kind of embarrassing.
In other news, I did not watch the Oscars and it seems like I didn’t miss anything. The only surprise to me was that Eddie Redmayne won for The Theory of Everything. I thought Michael Keaton would win, but isn’t it typical that they give Best Picture and Best Director to a movie, but not to the actor who plays the titular character?
Remember when George C. Scott refused his Oscar for Patton in 1971? He said, “The whole thing is a goddamn meat parade. I don’t want any part of it.” He made a good point.
P.S. You can bet that I am going to remember that phrase “goddamn meat parade.”
*Dennis Hopper in Easy Rider