The EASY RIDER Thread!

AMC has been playing this old turd-it is kinda fun to watch. Of course, it was a product of its time-but Peter Fonda as Captain America? Anyway, the part of the flick that puzzles me-when the due get to New Orleans, they wind up in some kind of high-class whorehouse. They pick up two girls, and walk around NOLA-while Mardi Gras is going on. After dropping some LSD, they wind up in a cemetary, where one of the whores has a “bad trip”-she winds up stripping off, and lying down in a grave. This is also when the ELECTRIC PRUNES one and only hit (KYRIE ELEISON) is played-is this supposed to lend some kind of somenity? The cemetary sequence is weird-theres a guy there in a suits 9maybe from a funeral?), and he watches as the girls freak out. Is this supposed to presage the duo’s coming deaths?
The ending is pretty stupid-Dennis Hopper gets shot by a redneck farmer, because he flips them the bird-Fonda gets the same treatment when he goes for help.
Did YOU like the ending? :confused:

Turd? Not in my book. The ending was depressing, but I took it as Fonda and Hopper’s way of saying that some Americans actually HATE freedom. Powerful stuff–no wonder a lot of people trashed it.

I liked it back in the day. But then I think I liked Billy Jack, too, so you probably want to consider the source. :o

Saw it at a drive-in theater when it first came out, and I can tell ya, for that time, the ending was a helluva shock.

It might even be the first time I was shocked at the ending of a movie.

(Maybe Bonnie and Clyde, because it was slow-motion and graphic, but I think Bonnie and Clyde came later.)

The movie had an effect on me. I’ve always been okay with rebels, even fond of them, but drugs are bad, mmm’kay? So I’m watching Fonda and Hopper and Nicholson having a good time, rebelling all over the countryside, but all the time I’m thinking something bad’s gonna happen to them. I just didn’t think the bad would be that bad. They didn’t deserve that, and it was an eye-opener, really messed me up.

For the longest time I thought it was an anti-drug movie.

I saw it within the past couple of years and thought it held its own, especially for a movie that was so obviously of its time.

And yes, I “like” the ending.

Why the hell AMC, which edits the films, would show a drug and swear word filled movie is beyond me. I can take or leave the unedited version, but it does look great on a big screen.

And hey, it has cameos by both Phil Spector and Toni ‘Hey Mickey’ Basil.

The ending is probably the only way it could end–after all, we can’t let a bunch of hippy drug-dealing bikers live–but I agree that the film is a product of its time and hasn’t held up very well; I basically rank it up there with Boxcar Bertha as a curiosity I don’t really need to see again. I never really understood the point of Nicholson’s character, either. Trivia note: the drug dealer in the very beginning is Roman Polanski, who I believe was the film’s executive producer.

Now, browsing through my own DVD collection, I’m wondering whether I should watch The Conversation or The Conformist. (I’d through in Five Easy Pieces but I just watched it a month ago, and I don’t have anything with Peter Fonda in it.)


Actually its Phil Spector.

Loved it. But then I have a soft spot in my heart for hippies.

One of the New Orleans whores is Toni Basil of “Mickey” fame, BTW.

This is also when the ELECTRIC PRUNES one and only hit (KYRIE ELEISON) is played-is this supposed to lend some kind of somenity? /QUOTE]

The Electric Prunes biggest hit was “I had too much too dream (last night).”

What is “somenity?” Solemnity?

As for the movie - you had to be there.

A movie that is set in much the same place and time, but that I think is a far superior film, is Electra Glide in Blue. It stars the very young Robert Blake as a motorcycle cop undergoing an existential crisis. In some ways it’s equal parts the anti-Easy Rider and a sad love letter to the dying Old West.

I love Easy Rider. It’s one of the movies I own on DVD but don’t watch half as much as I’d like to, because my wife won’t let me play it if she’s in the same room. I think Peter Fonda made a good Wyatt, although I don’t think either he or Billy came off as that bright. And that commune was fucking annoying!

And yes, I like the ending. It was uncompromising, and it lacked melodrama. I think Fonda and Hopper were trying to tell us how fragile and unpredictable life was. It doesn’t matter if you’ve followed these guys through all the movie. Their deaths were as sudden and unpredictable as yours might be someday. That’s the message I took away, and like AuntiePam, the ending stuck with me for awhile. Another one of Peter Fonda’s movies had the exact same kind of ending:

Dirty Mary Crazy Larry (I didn’t feel too sorry for those dimwits, though.)

Agree- this is an awesome movie, with an awesome concert scene with the unjustly obscure Chicago-esque band Madura.

And the other is Karen Black, if I’m not mistaken.

I saw it as a “that’s heavy” thing, which I guess is similar. Assuming you meant “solemnity.”

I thought it was pretty powerful. The heroes are decent people looking for some meaning in life, and they get killed by people who hate them for no particular reason. It’s a shame, and Fonda’s character apparently just doesn’t want to live without Hopper’s - which adds some love and sacrifice to the ending, even if it’s not a meaningful sacrifice.

The movie is dated, sure, but I don’t see that as a particularly big deal.

I always thought of “Kyrie Eleison” as turning the acid trip in the cemetery into some kind of dark (or failed) Mass – like an attempt at a drawing closer to others that is really just a further fragmentation of the self. And, if I’m not mistaken, the song translates into something like “May the Lord have mercy on our souls.” The “our” in that, in the context of the movie, seems pretty generalizable. Is there anyone in the film who couldn’t use a little mercy? And no one seems to get it. (Mercy, that is.) The commune part of the movie is another sort of poignant commentary on the failed notion of communing or community.

Is that the movie where at or near the end

Robert Blake pulls over a VW van and I think it was over a safety issue, he’s not out to bust the hippies. Then he lets them go and they drive off. He realizes that he forgot to give the driver his license back so he races after them. They think he’s fucking with them and really is going to bust them so one of the guys opens the back of the van and shoots Blake dead.

I know that’s an ending to some movie with Blake as a motorcylce cop if it’s not this one. Good movie by the way.

Yep, that’s the one. Seemed like a ripoff to me at first, but I think it really ties it up as a sort of cultural companion-piece to Easy Rider.

I guess people watch Easy Rider more as a period piece than just to watch a movie these days. I think it was the first time Jack Nicholson got to be himself on screen; he’d been awkwardly doing generic leading-man parts in Roger Corman movies, but when his rather unique personality got a chance to show itself, he just exploded into a big, shiney star. Leading me to say:

I am the Shore Patrol! I am the motherfucking Shore Patrol, motherfucker!

I agree, especially when contrasted with the rancher and his wife who let Wyatt and Billy fix their flat and then invite them for a meal. Wyatt is genuinely impressed by the rancher (“Doing your own thing in your own time. You should be proud.”) Contrast the rancher’s situation with the members of the commune who seem to be playing at being self sustaining.

w/re the acid trip, recall that the acid was given to them at the commune by “the Stranger.” (“When you get to the right place with the right people, quarter this. You know, this could be the right place.”) Would their trip have been any better if they had taken it at the commune instead of in New Orleans? Who knows. But when Wyatt and Billy are at their campfire for the final time before they’re killed the next day, Wyatt says, “We blew it.”

Exactly. George says as much the night he’s beaten to death in his sleeping bag when he makes his “This used to be a helluva good country” speech: “They’re gonna talk to you about individual freedom, but they see a free individual, it’s gonna scare 'em.” When Billy says, “Well, it don’t make 'em running scared,” George replies, “No. It makes 'em dangerous.”

So, yes, I do like the ending. Given the general tenor of the film, the ending seems inevitable. But, as AunitePam noted, when I saw the movie in the summer of '69, the ending was a helluva shock!

Obviously, I’ve seen the film enough times to be able to quote from it. And I think it holds up rather well, especially the amazing cinematography by Laszlo Kovacs.

I really do like this movie. I just found the graveyard scenes pretty weird-especially that chick who strips off-and the guy sitting on the tombstone. Of course, they threw in a shot of a raven (symbol of death0-but really -running around a cemetary without clothes? How did Wyatt and Billie pay for the meal and hookers-that must have cost a lot! Oh-and that commune-most of the people there looked like they would have trouble surviving-like that scene where they are sowing the seeds.