Bob Rafelson examines the patrician American way of life in his second feature starring Jack Nicholson as a former classical music prodigy turned redneck oil-rigger and drifter.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2007
Forget about Nicholson hamming it up in his later years: Bobby Eroica Dupea is hands down one of the most moving and memorable roles of his career. A former piano prodigy, Bobby is estranged from his musically gifted, upper middle-class family. Rejecting a privileged existence in favour of pursuing a "real" life, Bobby roughnecks it as an oil rigger. Favouring cheap women, liquor, bowling and country music over Chopin and Beethoven, Bobby represents the restless, dissatisfied middle class. When he learns his father is critically ill, lone-wolf Bobby heads back to the family home on "the island" to make peace with his family as well as himself. A powerfully incisive examination of responsibility, failure, dreams and alienation, Five Easy Pieces (the title refers to a book of piano exercises Bobby had as a child) is especially unforgettable for the classic, deliciously absurd and hilarious "chicken salad sandwich" scene where Bobby unsuccessfully tries to order toast in a diner from a waitress who is a stickler for the rules.