Setter’s ‘Spectives: Uneasy Blink the Eyes That Watch ‘Easy Rider’

Setter Drawing for Blog 082613Please 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.

Skip’s Quips: Making Cheap Movies Look Expensive

Blog Sketch 082813Fans of Pearl S. Buck’s classic set-in-China novel The Good Earth might remember a scene early on during which the farmer protagonist, Wang Lung, secretly admires a fabulous meal prepared by his wife, who brings out the best in the relatively unassuming ingredients provided. Such is my feeling about films that transcend their tight budgets–movies shot so brilliantly that you’d think they were bolstered by gold mines.

Oftentimes I wonder if these films are more satisfying than expensive ones, however good the latter may be. True, not all flicks made on a shoestring are successful, but those that work give me naches–especially if they’re photographed well.

Here’s a short list of some well-made low-budget movies that are also gorgeously shot. Bon app├ętit.

Chimes at Midnight

The Seventh Seal

El Mariachi

Simon of the Desert

Pi

Easy Rider

If….

Night of the Living Dead

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

The 400 Blows