Easy Rider (1969)

Reid, 15. October 2005, 17:43
dir. Dennis Hopper
starring Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper and Jack Nicholson.

Should you see this?
This is a traveling movie, and a “talkie” film. Think of something like Stand By Me, where the characters travel, stop and have these discussions. I didn’t enjoy ER as much as SBM, but some of the conversations kept my interest. More importantly, the dialogue didn’t into the cheesy psychedelic lingo as I was expecting.
If you’re interested in the 60’s counter-culture, than the film is worthwhile to see, although there are some caveats to that which I go into below. There may be better films to see that represent this time. But it’s a fairly well-known film, but if seeing well-known films doesn’t matter to you, I wouldn’t strongly recommend this, particularly to people who mainly want good entertainment.
Personal Comments
Although there was some of that psychedelic babble, it wasn’t as cheesy and dated as I expected. The effectiveness and appeal of the scenes on the choppers with the 60’s soundtrack surprised me.

I did not care for what felt like an apology for the counter-culture. The film felt like an introduction and lesson to conservative, mainstream viewers to show them the wrongness of rejecting the “long-hairs,” and their approach to life; in short, Easy Rider felt like propaganda. Nicholson’s character is the interpeter, a guy who understands both worlds. Despite this, it was a solid film, and maybe I woul have liked it less if my expectations weren’t lower.

Easy Rider was great for the first half, but it deteriorated into a strange drug-infused trip for the second half, and it wasn’t at all interesting. I am reminded of Oliver Stone’s The Doors, where the first half seemed brilliant but the second half only tiresome. I think both movies succeed in that this is what I imagine drug-life to be like; however, the fact that they are possibly accurate portrayals of what drug-life is like doesn’t make either of them very good flicks.

But you didn’t Easy Rider felt a little too simplistic and propagandist?

There is a scene near the end where the characters are drugged out, and it plays like a really hokey psychedelic moment–almost a parody you would see on SNL. (I forgot to mention that.)

I didn’t think it was especially complex or straightforward, but neither did I think it was particularly simplistic or propagandist. Overall, I just don’t think I get what the big deal is about this movie, outside of interesting performances by Fonda, Hopper, and Nicholson.

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