169 - Five Easy Pieces (1970)

A nonchalant oil rig worker returns to his family when he learns of his dying father.

Robert Dupea (Jack Nicholson) comes from a family of classic pianists, but has shunned his former life in order to drink beer with his friend and hang out at the bowling alley. He does have a job working on oil rigs however, but he hates it.

Shortly after he learns that his best friend has been arrested and his dim-witted girlfriend is pregnant, his sister informs him their father has had a stroke. Dupea returns to the family home, reluctantly dragging his girlfriend behind.

Theatrical Poster
Source: Wikipedia
The first half of Five Easy Pieces appears to be the perfect metaphor for how Dupea is depicted at that time - lazy, boring and just dragging along because it has to. It seems that the one-dimensional character has very little going for him so he spends his time rebelling against the very system that could aid him in sorting out his life.

Gradually, and with the introduction of his sister, Dupea is revealed to have many more talents and personality traits than initially thought and the film becomes far more watchable. The turning point is the infamous diner scene which really aids in lightening the mood from an otherwise sombre affair.

Jack Nicholson is excellent at portraying the side of Dupea that doesn't care about people. Underneath it all though is a man that is struggling to do the wrong thing against his pregnant girlfriend and despite more than hinting that he wants to end the relationship. Nicholson excels at this too.

Overall, an interesting character study of a multi-dimensional waster.


  1. I didn't like this movie very much. Nicholson played a poor-me little rich boy with angst.

    But I do like your assessment of 5 Easy Pieces. Some of Jack's later movies were definitely better. He plays a crazy guy or a slimy guy better than a normal guy.


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