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Five Easy Pieces (Sous-titres français)

Jack Nicholson , Karen Black , Bob Rafelson    DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
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This subtle, existential character study of an emotionally distant outcast (Nicholson) forced to confront his past failures remains an intimate cornerstone of American '70s cinema. Written and directed with remarkable restraint by Bob Rafelson, the film is the result of a short-lived partnership between the filmmaker and Nicholson--the first was the zany formalist exercise, Head, while the equally impressive King of Marvin Gardens followed Five Easy Pieces. Quiet and full of long, controlled takes, this film draws its strength from the acutely detailed, nonjudgmental observations of its complex protagonist, Robert Dupea--an extremely crass and frustrated oil worker, and failed child pianist hiding from his past in Texas. Dupea spends his life drinking beer and sleeping with (and cheating on) his annoying but adoring Tammy Wynette-wannabe girlfriend, but when he learns that his father is dying in Washington State, he leaves. After the film transforms into a spirited road movie, and arrives at the eccentric upper-class Dupea family mansion, it becomes apparent that leaving is what Dupea does best--from his problems, fears, and those who love him. Nicholson gives a difficult yet masterful performance in an unlikable role, one that's full of ambiguity and requires violent shifts in acting style. Several sequences--such as his stopping traffic to play piano, or his famous verbal duels with a cranky waitress over a chicken-salad sandwich--are Nicholson landmarks. Yet, it's the quieter moments, when Dupea tries miserably to communicate and reconcile with his dying father, where the actor shows his real talent--and by extension, shows us the wounded little boy that lurks in the shell of the man Dupea has become. --Dave McCoy

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Film June 7 2004
In a story of two worlds and what happens when they collide, Jack Nicholson gives a performance that should have won an Academy Award. As Bobby Dupea, Nicholson abandons his privilaged life for that of an aimless drifter- something he will eventually apologize for. He goes from being a talented musician to working as an oil rigger but a family illness will bring him back to his affluent roots and it is here that he must decide the course the rest of his life will take. And while all the perfomances are excellent, it is Nicholson that keeps us spellbound. In a long career, he has played many facinating characters but in my humble opinion, it is as the wasted talent Bobby Dupea that Nicholson shines the brightest.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Two of Jack's best ever tantrum scenes Jan. 23 2004
Format:VHS Tape
Two of Jack Nicholson's best ever tantrum scenes
If you've seen this movie, you probably know what I'm talking about. There's one scene in which Nicholson REALLY doesn't want to invite his ditsy girlfriend (Karen Black) to come along to the family home to visit his dying father - and when he realizes he can't get out of it, he sits in his car and comes unglued. Then he get out, goes back inside and very calmly says, "Rayette, you wanna come with me?"
The other one is in a roadside café when the laconic waitress won't alter the menu selections by one jot - and again he comes unglued as only Nicholson can do when he's at the top of his performance, which he usually is.
But the rest of this movie is dark, dark, dark - a mood piece of a dysfunctional family. Nicholson plays a wounded outcast, a former piano prodigy who has been estranged from his father for years, spending his time as an oil worker in Texas, shacking up with his annoying girlfriend. When he learns his father is dying in Washington State, he sets off for 'home.' Most of the rest of the film is an odyssey, a road trip back to the family mansion and all he's left behind: his attachments, his family, his problems, his fears, and his failures.
Five Easy Pieces became a classic almost as soon as it was released. Don't miss it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars SIMPLE AND COMPLEX AT THE SAME TIME. GREAT FILM! Nov. 18 2003
This is one of my favorite films.
A depiction of the two conflicting lifestyles of one man is what "Five Easy Pieces" depicts. Bobby Dupea's downfaults have led him to a less rewarding life than what he could have potentially had. This is exposed even in the two main female interests of Bobby Dupea in the film. His girlfriend Rayette ; a loving yet simple Tammy Wynette-singing country waitress that he cheats on unjustly. Then there is Catherine; a sophisticated , intelligent , classically trained musician. Catherine is a partial reflection of what his life could have been and in the end of the film he is caught between returning to his ho-hum red neck life that he currently leads to returning to and embrassing a richer life he should have had with a much more sophisticated woman that he sincerely loves.
There are classic moments in this film that I don't really need to go over because we already know them but for me the film becomes more intriguing when he finally arrives at the island to visit his ill father and encounters Catherine.
I like to believe that at the very end of the film that he is returning back to the island to win Catherine and start a new life with her but , knowing the character of Bobby Dupea , he's probably running away from his current life to a completely new and uncertain one and that is the tragedy of Bobby Dupea; he is running away....again. Where he is going we don't truely know. We can only assume.
This film is deceptively complex because of the dynamic humanistic detail thats shown of all the characters in this film and how they relate to one another.
Great film! One of Jack Nicholson's best work and Karen Black is unforgettable as Rayette.....and its letterboxed too.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Hold The Chicken Salad! July 11 2003
This film provided one of the first demonstrations of the sheer emotional power of Jack Nicholson as a force of nature, a power unlikely to veer course based on the actions of other human beings. Given this, this part of estranged classic pianist Bobby Dupea is a tour de force, an examination of just how difficult and angst-filled attempting to live a life of meaning in the time frame of the turbulent 1960s can be. Dupea is estranged not only from his high-brow family of cultured and well-placed affluent musicians living along the Pacific coast in the Northwest, but is estranged from everything he personally found so unacceptable about almost every element of his existence.
When the film opens Nicholson's character is working as a laborer in a southwestern dustbowl, scratching together a trailer-trash existence together with his hapless and emotionally challenged girlfriend, played to perfection by Karen Black. One immediately recognizes the level of inner-directed anger and consequent fits of uncontrollable rage that Bobby has to deal with, and despite all his attempts to simply ignore and block out the inner demons that drive him to distraction, he is losing the battle to wall out the noise coming from inside his head. His girlfriend is pregnant, ready to get serious and settle down, and the idea of such smarmy normality fills Bobby with undisguised disgust. As their relationship spins toward its inevitable unhappy conclusion, Bobby gets a cryptic emergency message to return home. His father appears to be dying.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Nicholson At His Best
I can't remember when I first saw this film, well over 30 years ago. What attracted me the most was the contrast between a life of privilege and a struggling working-class... Read more
Published 19 months ago by B. H.
4.0 out of 5 stars NOT Texas!
Why does everyone say Nicholson's character is working in the "Texas" oil fields? It's the California oilfields (Bakersfield, Shafter California). Read more
Published on June 21 2004
2.0 out of 5 stars A film about people
This film got a fair amount of buzz in its time but I had never seen it. Having been interested by some of Nicholson's work (Head, Witches of Eastwick, Chinatown) I thought, in a... Read more
Published on April 16 2004
2.0 out of 5 stars Very Overrated
This wasn't very good. It wasn't very interesting. There was no real merit or redeeming quality to any of the characters. Read more
Published on Jan. 19 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Intellectual film
This film requires intelligence on the part of the viewer- life in the 1970's.
Published on Dec 19 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars "Do Not Go Gentle...."
I saw this film when it was first released more than 30 years ago. Seeing it again recently, I was surprised by how much my reactions to it have changed during the last three... Read more
Published on July 6 2003 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars This is jus' a sad an' beautiful thing...
I think my own inability to be content with my life is what drew me to the character of Bobby Eroica Dupea in 'Five Easy Pieces'. Read more
Published on April 28 2003 by Nathan
4.0 out of 5 stars A Nervy Classic (4 1/2 stars)
A fantastic character study, Five Easy Pieces makes tangible an undefined fear of the past and the tragedy of always having to run away. Read more
Published on April 8 2003 by Mr. H. Walker
5.0 out of 5 stars It takes place in Central California
Bobby Dupea lives in central California, in the valley area near Bakersfield etc. You can see that from the highway signs in the scene where he drives to work with Elton and gets... Read more
Published on March 11 2003 by Antti J. Lindstrom
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