"Although a brilliant, classical pianist from an intellectual, well-to-do family--Robert Dupea (Nicholson) has made a career out of running from job to job and woman to woman. Presently working in an oil field, Dupea spends most of his free time downing beers, playing poker and being noncommittal with his sexy but witless girlfriend Rayette. But when he is summoned to his father's deathbed, Dupea returns home with Rayette, where he meets and falls for a sophisticated women. No caught between his conflicting lifestyles, the gifted but troubled Dupea must face issues that will change his life forever."
Before I launch into why this movie is amazing, take these factors down. The movie and lead actor both recieved Academy Award nominations in 1970 for the film. It is also considered one of Jack Nicholson's finest performances...ever. The amazing thing about all this is, is that there is very little action or story line to the movie. It doesn't end with any concrete storyline finish (Although the ending is one of the most choking and beautiful endings ever, it certainly answers very few questions for the viewer.) The movie is carried by the simple, varied expressions on Nicholson's face.
His restlessness and lifestyle is never explained and it never needs to be. He is essentially a villian but he almost always comes across as the hero in the story.
I guess the reason it sparked something in me is because I see him as an older version of myself. I see him as a lot of people I know. People who don't know what they want, and people whose only goal in life is to live a life of hedonism. I see flashes of my father in Bobby Dupea, my cousin, my mother, certain friends....
Where does it say that someone has to choose a career and a spouse for life? Where does it say that someone has to stay in one place? Where does it say that a comfortable retirement is the only thing one must strive for???
Maybe its this quarter-life crisis that makes me say these things and maybe thats what is making me challenge these norms that are accepted by society.
I hope its not what I'm going though that makes me think this way though....I want my mindset to stay this way, because I feel something unexplainable happening to me...and it feels good and real and exciting.
PS. Go rent Five Easy Pieces. Whether or not you agree with the film or its messages, it truly is a wonderful piece of filmmaking.
Double PS. Jack Nicholson shacked up with Karen Black, the brilliant pianist, in real life. Although this shouldn't surpirse you as he ended up sleeping with a lot of his co-stars