Five Easy Pieces


(Cinestudio- May 24, 2010)


This movie is a classic. Let’s not debate this. It was the arrival of a different kind of cinema. It was Cassavettes made good. Old Hollywood had died, and people weren’t (and apparently still aren’t) quite ready for “Shadows” or “Woman Under The Influence.”

What is the flick about? Well: loss, angst, hate, love; a life adrift, forever moving backwards because he has never felt comfortable with forward movement. As Jack Nicholson’s character states, this is a film about a guy who moves on before things go bad or get real for him.

So instead let’s take a look at a few things:

  • When we are introduced to Jack Nicholson’s father, he is, I believe getting a haircut. Behind him, there is a mirror, which, during one shot, reveals the reflection of an old gentleman. In another shot, it no longer shows him, and there is nobody else in the room. Since this is not a David Lynch movie, this is not revealing a killer, but rather just a gaffe.
  • When Jacky Nick rises up from the table to do a dance, notice the zipper on his shirt.
  • The sporadic, occasionally, sloppy editing.
  • Really oddly, a wet spot on Jacky Nick’s backside after he bowls, which disappears a shot later.
  • Out of synchs at the dinner table.


Now let’s take a look at a couple of other bits of information:

  • This film was nominated for numerous Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
  • It has recently undergone a beautiful fortieth anniversary restoration and is playing at revival houses.


Why do I bring this up? Because sometimes a movie is just damn good. And sometimes a story, and a mood, and a director are just damn right. Slickness, style, perfection, be damned. Sometimes a performance and a movie resonate and shake up an audience so much that—flaws and all—it will move its audience far more than the most expensive CGI or most strategically edited sequence ever could.

More things to consider:

  • Although I have considered this, this is not a further case for mumblecore. Jack Nicholson is a far more interesting character than any of those cats. And although “Baghead” did interest me greatly; it was in spite of a sloppy style, rather than its style helping to make it a greater whole—I think (more on that when I get to “Baghead.”
  • This film has been beloved to many people over the years and contains many mistakes, technically. Creatively, it is brilliant for its director and star. So we forgive the mistakes, and some would even say it was this new crazy style of filmmaking that allowed this lightening in bottle energy to happen. Michael Bay has claimed that he is a perfectionist and that you will never see errors like this in his films (according to some VH1 or MTV or E special). Yet we don’t forgive him, and his films still suck.
  • SIDE NOTE: Michael Bay could be forgive for his features, but his “Platinum Dunes” production company should surely earn him a spot in Hell.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: