Our film odyssey continues with Easy Rider, a film that has been rightly heralded as kickstarting the New Hollywood of the late sixties/early seventies and is famous for sending Jack Nicholson’s career into the stratosphere. But is it any good? Well, yes and no is our decidedly wishy-washy answer. In places it barely seems to hold together, and some parts are embarrassingly amateurish, but as a snapshot of the counterculture of sixties America, it’s unsurpassed. Easy Rider‘s massive success on its release in 1969 shows that audiences were crying out for cinema that actually reflected what was happening in society, rather than the schmaltzy musicals and Westerns that the movie studios churned out in great numbers. In Hopper’s words:
“Nobody had ever seen themselves portrayed in a movie. At every love-in across the country people were smoking grass and dropping LSD, while audiences were still watching Doris Day and Rock Hudson!”
Also, I guarantee that by the end of the movie you’ll be itching to buy an enormous Harley Davidson and ride across America to the tune of ‘Born to be Wild’. Actually, speaking of ‘Born to be Wild’, we were originally going to record Steppenwolf’s classic as a Ukulele Challenge this week, but sadly this slice of sixties rock proved too much of a challenge for even Ian’s nimble fingers. [Ed: Who’s writing this stuff?] Instead, we treat you to lots of pontificating about communes, American politics and picking off litterers with a rifle. Enjoy.
Oh, and regarding Ian’s potentially libellous (technically, slanderous) claim about Rip Torn breaking into a bank with a loaded gun under the mistaken impression that it was his own home… well, turns out it’s all true. So we won’t be going to jail, hurrah!
Without further ado, here’s this week’s feature presentation… Click below:
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Director: Dennis Hopper Year of release: 1969 Studio/Distributor: Columbia Pictures Corporation/Pando Company Inc./Raybert Productions Country: USA