Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Easy Rider (1969 dir. Dennis Hopper)

a classic of the highest order.

 this movie was the final sucker punch that put the entire movie industry on its ass in 1969. there were a lot of films and talented filmmakers/actors/actresses that set the fuse before this movie, but Easy Rider lit the match and blew it all to holy hell, ushering in an unprecedented wave of experimentation. virtually every taboo subject was examined in these new films after an age of stifled puritanism. Easy Rider signaled the changing of the guard and the old movie studios had to change completely in order to keep up.

Peter Fonda's Captain America character is an all time classic, a lost and wandering sage teamed up with Hopper's wild and untamed Billy... the two on a soul seeking journey through a turbulent America in 1969. the script was often improvised, and Hopper utilized a unique, almost documentary style of filmmaking, while cinematographer Laszlo Kovacs beautifully captured the sprawling American southwestern vistas, usually spontaneously on the fly. The film also introduced Jack Nicholson to a wide audience after struggling for a few years in a string of B-movies and underground Corman flicks. His character, the drunken ACLU lawyer George Hanson, has relatively little screentime, but he provides an anchor that the everyman in the audience could identify with. and seeing Nicholson getting high and ranting about the infiltration of aliens is a film milestone, as is the LSD-soaked Mardi Gras trip out. Easy Rider's unflinching look into America's soul was incredibly shocking for the time, and the new movie-going audience ate it up.

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