Five Easy Pieces (1970) 98 Min. Bob Rafelson directed this classic of independent American film from a script he co-wrote with Carole Eastman. Jack Nicholson gives one of his greatest performances as a disgruntled blue-collar oil field worker whose real heritage is revealed when he learns his upper-class father is dying. Karen Black is astoundingly believable as his girlfriend, Rayette, in this road movie.
I. Chopin, “Fantasy in F. Minor, Op. 49”
The approach to acting was new,
Established by ‘The Method’
That made Marlon Brando
So riveting on screen.
John Cassavetes influenced
The existential authenticity
Through his post-war films where
Improvisation complemented plot.
To be and stay in the moment, Jack
Nicholson chose his own wardrobe
And stared into the mirror until,
He could find the right face –
The face we all know him by today,
That unrepentant, sarcastic smile.
II. Bach, “Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue.”
Hidden behind Bobby Dupea was a screenwriter
Who would not use her real name in the credits.
Was that because The Monkeys’ film Head
Had lost money by being too weird?
Swooping through real locations with his hand-
Held camera, the Hungarian exile László Kovács
Caught images from memories of the great war
Photographer, Robert Capa.
Neither Bobby nor his sister Parita, nor Catherine,
Could actually play the piano well enough,
So Pearl Kaufman performed each classical piece
On a separate soundtrack.
Bob Rafelson gave in to the French New Wave once,
Allowing Palm Apodaca to talk into the camera,
But his goal remained DIRECT CINEMA,
On location finding real places to photograph.
Quite a lot is still faked, but taking to the road is real,
In homage to Ginsberg and the Beat Generation.
III, Mozart, “E-Flat Major Concerto, K. 271”
‘Recalcitrance’ was how Faulkner named
Mule-headed obduracy among poor whites
Who saw their heritage of color as the last
Vestige of privilege left over black slaves.
If you know your lineage, you know your place
And can resent whoever’s better off than you.
Tennessee Williams filled white male labor
Full of unbridled lust that could set ‘them
Colored lights going’ as if in opposition to
Refinement, intellectual sophistication,
And the fine arts, but that’s a false dichotomy.
Seduction’s always a power struggle for love.
Bobby Dupea is right out of John Updike’s
Rabbit, Run, who takes advantage of being
A white male to abuse and taunt others,
A bully with a bellyful of bitterness.
Wandering from one place to another.
His is the male sickness of the age.
That poison persists into the New Millennium,
Where soundbites stick like spurs to media
Tongues only to be repeated by children
In playgrounds as if they were truths
From their parents’ mouths, well armed to
Protect home and hearth from the government.
IV. Chopin, “Prelude in E-Minor, Op.28, #4”
“I want you to hold it
between your knees!”
V. Mozart, “Fantasy in D-Minor, K. 379”
Teddy Boy, Baby Blue,
Pop a brew and stew.
Having a dick makes you sick
So stick a pussy or two.
Macho Wacko, Working Jock,
Don’t let a woman hold on you.
Hit the road and if you mock,
Weep for your daddy, do.
Bully Boy, Braggart Prole,
Keep on running, do,
You got no center to your soul,
No grit that is true.
[Disposable Poem June 30, 2016]