Five Easy Pieces (1970)

fiveeasypieces_1Starring Jack Nicholson, Karen Black, Susan Anspach, Lois Smith, Ralph Waite, Billy Green Bush, Fannie Flagg, William Challee, John Ryan, Marlena MacGuire, Sally Struthers

Directed by Bob Rafelson

Expectations: Moderate.

threestar


Sometimes you just can’t connect with a movie no matter how good it is, and this was my experience with Five Easy Pieces. I honestly don’t know what I think of the film. I didn’t like it much, that’s for sure, but to say it’s bad just because of that feels wrong. It’s not you Five Easy Pieces, it’s me. Due to this experience, my initial thought was to forgo my usual star rating and replace it with question-filled stars. But after writing the rough draft of this post I was able to wrangle my thoughts enough to rate it, so without further ado let’s get wrangling those thoughts and my initial indifference with Bob Rafelson’s Five Easy Pieces.

The film opens by introducing us to Bobby (Jack Nicholson), an oil worker in the central valley of California. He’s a blue-collar guy who enjoys more than his share of beer and women. He’s involved with Rayette (Karen Black), a diner waitress with dreams of becoming a country singer, but he doesn’t seem all that into her. Eventually we learn that there is more to Bobby than this working-class lifestyle suggests. He is actually a classically trained pianist from a wealthy, eccentric family, but he decided to give it all up and live a simpler, more down-to-earth life.

Continue reading Five Easy Pieces (1970) →

Batman (1989)

Starring Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson, Kim Basinger, Robert Wuhl, Pat Hingle, Billy Dee Williams, Michael Gough, Jack Palance, Jerry Hall, Tracey Walter, Lee Wallace, William Hootkins

Directed by Tim Burton

Expectations: High. This was THE movie when I was a kid.


Like Alien, Tim Burton’s Batman is a film I saw a lot as a kid. I will be unable to truly critique it objectively, but I’ll do my best to make the review something more than an adult reminiscing about his faded childhood years. I haven’t seen this one in many years, as I’ve always been somewhat afraid to do so, fearing that its ability to completely enthrall me would be lost. This is definitely not the case, though, as Batman continues to be a solid piece of superhero cinema. This isn’t the gritty world of Christopher Nolan, nor is it the wholly comic style of Adam West’s era, instead it is something of a middle-ground between them both. It works like a charm, and still remains one of film’s best examples of the superhero genre. Superman may have kicked off the genre in earnest, but Batman took that shit to the next level. I was a tender 8-year-old boy when I walked into the local cinema to view Batman for the first time, and I emerged with a new outlook on the world. The comics that I loved so dearly were up on the big screen; it was a glorious thing to watch two great loves of mine join forces. Tim Burton’s Batman has its share of flaws and missed opportunities, but it was the perfect film of my youth.

Watching the film today, I instantly noticed what was so great — and refreshing — about Batman. Where every first film in a series nowadays spends most of its time devoted to the character’s origin story, Batman just jumps into Batman being Batman right from the first scene. As Vicki Vale becomes more interested in Batman and Bruce Wayne, she eventually explores his past and some of the moments that made Wayne become Batman are revealed. Burton doesn’t spend too much time on these; Batman’s origin is nothing more than another of the film’s running sub-plots to be explored in the down moments. If only another superhero movie would have the balls to do something like this. As I write this the newest Spider-Man film has just been released. We’ve had three Spider-Man movies over the course of the last 10 years or so, not to mention 50 years of comics and general mainstream awareness of the character. But yet we are still faced with a Spider-Man movie that insists on re-telling the origin story. This is a big reason why I don’t care to see it in the slightest. Maybe I’ll come around to the sequel after all the bullshit is done.

Continue reading Batman (1989) →

Subscribe via Email!

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,058 other subscribers

Ongoing Series

Top Posts & Pages