Thursday, July 17, 2008

Easy Rider (1969)

Well, this one's for all the people who got riled up at my last post when I posited that an Eddie Murphy movie could (possibly) reach (entertainment) film perfection. In fact, I didn't even realize that Easy Rider was going to be one of those actually (artistically) good movies until it had already started (I just watch anything with Dennis Hopper in [it's a blessing and a curse]). I also didn't realize that Dennis Hopper or Jack Nicholson could be so old (born in '36 and '37 respectively!), or that movies before the 70's could be awesome and in color (I know, I'm sheltered). Now, be forewarned: there's a reason I don't watch "good" movies and that's because they're usually depressing. There's generally enough depressing shit going on in the world already without rubbing it in your face by wallowing in it in your spare time. But, every once in a while (even if it is by accident), I can suck it up and watch something truly moving. Written by Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper, filmed by a bunch of randos, and costing less than $400,000, this piece represents a turning point in Hollywood History. First of all, it brought forth the idea that cheap (avante) films can make money (huhhhh?). Secondly, it revolutionized the soundtrack concept, bringing a variety of already popular (and awesome) songs together to create what some people refer to as an ambiance. It's basically just about Fonda and Hopper biking across the country on some sweet, custom-made hogs (several of which were stolen before filming was completed) in order to get to Mardi Gras (Nicholson gets picked up on the way) while smoking as much marijuana as possible (yes, it was real) and then doing some LSD (provided by Phil Spector). And I won't spoil the ending. I mean, it seems pretty obvious that the movie's not totally about the plot. It's about the beautiful footage (why oh why have we forsaken wide angle shots?), the crude editing, the field-esque (am I not supposed to use that phrase this often?) street shots and the people you meet all across the country (hardly any actors were used; using locals was just easier). It just feels real (and that's especially saying a lot in this day and age), which is pretty amusing since most of the critics think it's some sort of nostalgic period piece with hippies whining about how nobody likes them. It's also got to be one of the only druggie movies that was nominated for multiple Oscars. Oh the time of revolution. In summary, I highly recommend this film, but you better be prepared for some anger (or is that just me?).

I deem it: "A glorious middle finger to the big budget bastards/Who can say 'no' to Dennis Hopper?"

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