JACK NICHOLSON GIVES A TOUR DE FORCE PERFORMANCE IN THIS RIVETING MASTERPIECE. SPECIAL FEATURES: FULL SCREEN OR WIDESCREEN VERSION, MONO SOUND, SUBTITLES: ENGLISH, SPANISH, PORTUGUESE, CHINESE, KOREAN, AND THIA, TALENT FIL... more »ES, AND BONUS THEATRICAL TRAILER.« less
Slow but interesting plotline with a young Jack Nicholson. A must for Nicholson fans.
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Appeals to the little bit of alienation that's in all of us
Linda Linguvic | New York City | 01/17/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Nominated for four Academy Awards, this 1970 film stars Jack Nicholson as Robert Dupea, a creative and alienated drifter who once held the promise of being a serious classical concert pianist. When we meet him, though, he's working on an oil rig, drinking, gambling, chasing women and treating his girlfriend, Rayette, badly. Karen Black plays Rayette, a loving and attractive, but not very intelligent, waitress who yearns to be a country western singer. And the sound track by Tammy Wynette, including "Stand By Your Man" are a contrast to the pieces by Mozart and Chopin that we hear later, when Nicholson visits his dying father in the family's secluded and upscale dwelling. There, he enters into an impossible relationship with his brother's sophisticated girlfriend played by Susan Anspach.The film moves fast and held my interest, with a wide variety of episodes to further deepen the intensity of the Nicholson character. There's a nude scene with Sally Struthers as one of Nicholson's many women. There's a scene in a diner with a waitress where Nicholson tries to place an order for items not on the menu. There's a scene where he picks up two lesbian hitchhikers, who are planning on moving to Alaska. There's a scene with Nicholson's sister, played by Lois Smith, in a recording studio where she is playing classical music and treated with disrespect and contempt by the staff. And there's a scene where Nicholson defends his girlfriend, Rayette, against upper class snobbery.This is a film that works as well today as it did in the 1970s. But it must have especially timely then and viewed as a cry for independence and freedom as the alienated Nicholson just keeps moving on. The screenplay by Carole Eastman, under the direction of Bob Rafelson, is excellent. And there's something about the story that makes us realize that there's a little bit of the Jack Nicholson character in all of us. Recommended."
Two of Jack's best ever tantrum scenes
Peggy Vincent | Oakland, CA | 01/23/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Two of Jack Nicholson's best ever tantrum scenes
If you've seen this movie, you probably know what I'm talking about. There's one scene in which Nicholson REALLY doesn't want to invite his ditsy girlfriend (Karen Black) to come along to the family home to visit his dying father - and when he realizes he can't get out of it, he sits in his car and comes unglued. Then he get out, goes back inside and very calmly says, "Rayette, you wanna come with me?"
The other one is in a roadside café when the laconic waitress won't alter the menu selections by one jot - and again he comes unglued as only Nicholson can do when he's at the top of his performance, which he usually is.
But the rest of this movie is dark, dark, dark - a mood piece of a dysfunctional family. Nicholson plays a wounded outcast, a former piano prodigy who has been estranged from his father for years, spending his time as an oil worker in Texas, shacking up with his annoying girlfriend. When he learns his father is dying in Washington State, he sets off for 'home.' Most of the rest of the film is an odyssey, a road trip back to the family mansion and all he's left behind: his attachments, his family, his problems, his fears, and his failures.
Five Easy Pieces became a classic almost as soon as it was released. Don't miss it."
"Jack Nicholson is a wonderful actor, but since the early 1970s, virtually all of his performances have been variations of Jack playing Jack. This is not to say that he has not been terrific doing this, but there is a distinct impression that there hasn't been much of a stretch in his acting since Chinatown. Not so with Five Easy Pieces - Nicholson completely loses himself in the character of Bobby Dupee, and gives what is arguably his best performance ever. What's more, the film, which opened in 1970, depicts better than any other film the alienation of the generation of the late 1960s-early 1970s. Nicholson's Bobby Dupee is a talented classical musician who comes from a family of talented classical musicians. He has, however, chosen to deny his past by living (one might almost say "hiding") with his girl friend, Rayette (a terrific Karen Black) among blue collar workers. The bulk of the film centers on Bobby's return home to visit his father, who has suffered a stroke, and the interaction of Bobby (and Rayette) with various members of the household. Nicholson's acting talent was never more apparent than in the scene where he is out walking with his wheel-chair bound father and tries to explain why he has chosen the path he has taken. The scene has an improvisational quality, and Nicholson is both natural and moving. It is a moment that can stand with anything he has done since."
Still Nicholson's best performance...
R. Gawlitta | Milwaukee, Wisconsin USA | 12/22/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This was Nicholson's first "angry young man" role (you can't count "Easy Rider" because he really just played a nerd) and it's evident that he'd found his niche for almost every other role he's played. He's a natural. His performance is layered with angst, passion, soft- sensitivity, self-doubt, and a cross-section of just about every other emotion imaginable. This was his first starring role, and it's no wonder his career took off with such a formidable foundation. Supported by Karen Black (too bad she's never had as good a role since), Susan Anspach and the wonderful Lois Smith, the entire ensemble provides a thought-provoking study of a potentially rewarding life wrought with bad choices. This is very much of a character-driven film, and Bob Rafelson gives the actors free reign, a wise decision. The DVD is of excellent quality considering the low price. "Five Easy Pieces" set a major standard for many films of the 70's (and most of Nicholsons's (Last Detail, Cuckoo's Nest). From the standpoint of its historical value, the film is most instructive. It's also immensely entertaining. Don't miss it!!"
A Great Film
Christopher Davis | Clayton NC | 06/07/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In a story of two worlds and what happens when they collide, Jack Nicholson gives a performance that should have won an Academy Award. As Bobby Dupea, Nicholson abandons his privilaged life for that of an aimless drifter- something he will eventually apologize for. He goes from being a talented musician to working as an oil rigger but a family illness will bring him back to his affluent roots and it is here that he must decide the course the rest of his life will take. And while all the perfomances are excellent, it is Nicholson that keeps us spellbound. In a long career, he has played many facinating characters but in my humble opinion, it is as the wasted talent Bobby Dupea that Nicholson shines the brightest."