Five Easy Pieces

I spent the morning rewriting one of my tests. I returned home and watched Lynn Redgrave and Tom Hanks on the Tonight Show from 1982. I went out to buy a chicken burrito and I ate it as I watched “Five Easy Pieces” on Blu-ray. I liked those early scenes showing Bobby’s working life. It was funny how Fannie Flagg and Sally Struthers are in those scenes. I wondered where that beauty college was. I also wondered why that truck driver allowed Bobby to play the piano. Karen Black sang those songs pretty well, showing us that her role in “Nashville” fit her. You could tell immediately that the relationship between Bobby and Rayette was troubled. Bobby certainly could have treated her better. Bobby’s attention drifts from woman to woman, and he doesn’t seem to take anyone seriously. I noticed that mere moments after Elton made his critical comments to Bobby, he gets taken away for his crime. People who have notions of superiority get cut down in this universe. I thought about what must have happened to Fannie Flagg’s character, Stoney. I wondered what Bobby’s sister was doing in a Los Angeles recording studio when she had to go back to Washington. I don’t think I ever understood why Bobby attached himself to Catherine. Susan Anspach gave me memories only of “Play It Again, Sam.” I didn’t see how Bobby could be so blind about his sister Partita and that Spicer. I thought that if Bobby had played that game of ping pong with her, things could have been different. It seemed that Bobby had a good relationship with Partita, although that scene involving Spicer was extremely awkward. They should have had a talk about it afterward. The big, famous moment in the movie happens in a diner with Bobby trying to get some toast with his eggs. I never really knew why Bobby was so angry. He was a bit like Tom Hulce’s Mozart in “Amadeus.” It was curious how we don’t see what happened with Rayette at the motel getting bored and running out of money. I don’t think we ever got the answer to the question of whether there was a television set in the house. People like Janis Joplin, Ellen Burstyn, Jeanne Moreau, Lauren Hutton, and Carol Lynley were considered for parts in the movie. If I had done the casting, the choice I would have made differently was Susan Anspach. The original ending involved a car accident that was something like “Jules and Jim.” I am glad that it never came to be because that would have been too strange. The ending that we have is slightly strange in that Bobby ends up without his wallet or his jacket. That did not seem real to me. I could maybe see the wallet part, although Bobby probably would have just handed Rayette all the cash that was in the wallet. The restroom at the gas station looked too clean. I don’t know if the fact that it was 1970 in Washington would have made a difference. It’s cold, so I didn’t see why Bobby took off his jacket, and I really couldn’t see how he could step outside without it. Nicholson looked like he was going to freeze to death, like he was in “The Shining.” The truck seems to take forever to leave the scene. Rayette is just about to approach the restroom. How long would it take for her to realize what happened? Rayette spends a lot of time waiting around for Bobby to return throughout this movie. I found myself wondering whether Rayette was able to drive a car. I was also curious about how she was able to take all of that time off from her work. The movie looked good in Blu-ray, although it wouldn’t describe it as breaktaking. I remember the contrast between the oil rigs in California with the green landscape of Washington. Looking back, “The King of Marvin Gardens” wasn’t nearly as memorable as “Five Easy Pieces.” The running time of this film is only 98 minutes, but it feels like so much happens in it. I watch two and a half hour movies now, but a lot of them feel empty, taking all of that time to say nothing. “Five Easy Pieces” still feels powerful after 46 years. You have to give credit to Bob Rafelson, Jack Nicholson, and Karen Black, among others. It’s sad, of course, to think about how Karen Black died a while back. The five easy pieces of the title refers to piano compositions. Bobby says that his playing skill was better when he was eight years old. This movie marks a place in time, the beginning of the 1970s, in a way that movies these days don’t. I can’t even remember what movies came out in 2010. Some of the people who died on February 24 include Johnnie Ray (1990), George Gobel (1991), Dinah Shore (1994), Henny Youngman (1998), John Randolph (2004), Dennis Weaver (2004), Octavia Butler (2006), Don Knotts (2006), and Harold Ramis (2014). Today is a birthday for Edward James Olmos (69). According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for February 24, the McGuire Sisters had a Number One single in 1958, “Sugartime.” In 1976, the Eagles’ “Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975)” became the first album to be certified platinum. In 1988, Alice Cooper announced that he would run over governor of Arizona as a member of the Wild Party. In 1993, Eric Clapton won Grammys for Record of the Year and Song of the Year for “Tears in Heaven.” In 1988, Elton John was named Honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace.

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