I left “Five Easy Pieces” feeling the same as I did with “Easy Rider” – unimpressed and uninterested. From the beginning, I hated Bobby’s (Jack Nicholson) casual berating of his girlfriend and general distaste for life. Even as his reasons for this behavior become more clear, there was no saving this character, especially when you add in your typical explosive Nicholson outbursts, only this time to people who certainly don’t deserve any of this.
Maybe this just has to do with the way I was raised, but I’ve never enjoyed any movie where a character takes his/her frustrations and anger out on other people. There’s never been anyway to justify this awful behavior and shows that our “hero” has no common decency. Maybe that’s the point the movie is trying to go for, but at that point it’s already too late – I’ve shut myself off emotionally from that character. If they can’t show any emotion to others, why should I show any for them?
While this does lead to a few well-written moments of anger, especially while Bobby and his girlfriend are on the road, “Five Easy Pieces” never drew me in. It is a cold, ugly, uncaring movie that fumbles around with a message about damaged individuals without ever giving a clear answer. Other than the chicken salad sandwich scene, this one you can certainly skip.
Final Grade: D+