Please don’t blame me for not seeing Easy Rider all the way through until yesterday.
For some reason, I’d never got around to viewing it. I realize it’s a part of history, a seminal film of the 1960s, but I wasn’t something I felt like rushing to watch.
Well, I had the time yesterday while recuperating from a bout of food poisoning, and I have to question whether it was worth the wait.
Sure, it has fine cinematography. A terrific rock soundtrack. A bit of ambition from director/star Dennis Hopper mixed in with the counterculture ethos.
Unfortunately, it also has pretentious dialogue and quite a few dull moments, many of which are spent on the highway while the United States landscape flits by. Politically, it’s interesting, perhaps a bit dated, but I don’t think it’s enough to carry the film. The picture meanders, doesn’t go anywhere. And for a road movie, that’s a real issue.
Sure, it’s important. It played a role in stitching the American fabric. But I have no desire to see it again. Once was enough.
Not the mark of a true classic, in my opinion. Sadly, I think Easy Rider, as Peter Fonda’s Wyatt says in the end, blew it.
And that’s exactly what I thought after watching Drive, He Said, director Jack Nicholson’s not-good 1971 relic about a womanizing college-basketball star and his bizarre counterculture roommate.
How did this film make basketball boring? I wondered, as the film meandered through then-hip out-of-focus shots and slo-mo passages. I was shocked to find myself wishing I had watched curling in the Olympics over these scenes. Bad sign, movie.
Then there was the problem of the film not being able to decide what it was about. The struggle to avoid the draft? Hippie dippiness? Who was it about, anyway, the basketball fella or his roomie? The movie couldn’t seem to decide. In fact, it followed them both in equal amounts, despite them both being unlikable characters.
Yuck. Turn it off, he said.
I think sometimes you’ve got to watch a bad movie once in a while to desire good movies more. I mean, right now, I could watch any portion of The Seven Samurai and be cleansed of the lousy-film experience. Boy, do I need a Kurosawa bath right now.
Maybe a bit of ice cream will rid me of the taste in my mouth. Yes, sometimes you’ve got to watch a bad movie once in a while. But even once in a while doesn’t feel good.