Bob Rafelson – Five Easy Pieces (1970)

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Following Jack Nicholson’s breakout supporting turn in Easy Rider, director Bob Rafelson devised a powerful leading role for the new star in the searing character study Fve Easy Pieces. Nicholson plays the now iconic cad Bobby Dupea, a shiftless thirtysomething oil rigger and former piano prodigy immune to any sense of responsibility, who returns to his upper-middle-class childhood home, blue-collar girlfriend (Karen Black, in an Oscar-nominated role) in tow, to see his estranged, ailing father. Moving in its simplicity and gritty in its textures, Five Easy Pieces is a lasting example of early 1970s American alienation. Continue reading

Bob Rafelson – Head (1968)

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Running in from seemingly nowhere, Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones, Michael Nesmith & Peter Tork – better known collectively as The Monkees – disrupt a bridge opening ceremony. From where and why did they come to disrupt the proceedings? They were filming a series of vignettes in several different genres, including a wild west sequence, a desert war sequence, a Confederate war sequence, and a science fiction sequence. They disagree with much of what is happening around them, and try to figure out how to escape the oppression they feel – symbolized by a big black box in which they are seemingly imprisoned – by the forces around. That oppression is often shown in the form of “The Big Victor Mature”. Continue reading

Bob Rafelson – Five Easy Pieces (1970)

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Quote:
In an Academy Award -nominated performance for Best Actor, Jack Nicholson is outstanding in Five Easy Pieces, the acclaimed drama from director Bob Rafelson. Although a brilliant, classical pianist from an intellectual, well-to-do family – Robert Dupea has made a career out of running from job to job and woman to woman. Presently working in an oil field, Dupea spends most of his free time downing beers,playing poker and being noncommittal with his sexy but witless girlfriend Rayette. But when he is summoned to his father’s deathbed, Dupea returns home with Raette, where he meets and falls for a sophisticated woman. Now caught between his conflicting lifestyles, the gifted but troubled Dupea must face issues that will change his life forever. Deceptively simple, but one of the most complex and interesting films of its time – Five Easy Pieces garnered a 1970 Academy Award nomination for Best Picture – with Black receiving the 1970 New York Film Critics award for her excellent performance. Continue reading