- SKU: 18793444
- Release Date: 11/23/2010
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Ratings & Reviews
- Audio commentaries for Head, Easy Rider, Five Easy Pieces, A Safe Place, and The Last Picture Show
- Selected-scene commentary for the king of marvin gardens
- Hours of new and archival interviews and documentaries
- Outtakes, screen tests, tv and radio spots, stills galleries, and trailers
- Plus: a booklet featuring essays by critics Chuck Stephens, Matt Zoller Seitz, Kent Jones, Graham Fuller, Mark Le Fanu, and J Hoberman
Five Easy Pieces
A disaffected man seeks a sense of identity in one of the key films of Hollywood's 1970s New Wave. Once a promising pianist from a family of classical musicians, Bobby Eroica Dupea (Jack Nicholson, in his first major starring role) leads a blue-collar life as an oil rigger, living with needy waitress girlfriend Rayette (Karen Black) and bowling with their friends Elton (Billy "Green" Bush) and Stoney (Fannie Flagg). Feeling suffocated by responsibilities, Bobby seeks out his sister, Tita (Lois Smith), and, discovering that his father is gravely ill, he reluctantly heads back to the patrician family compound in Puget Sound with a pregnant Rayette in tow. After a road trip featuring a harangue from hitchhiker Palm (Helena Kallianiotes) about filth, and Bobby's ill-fated attempt to make a menu substitution in a diner, he tucks Rayette away in a motel before heading to the house. There Bobby seduces his uptight brother Carl's cultured fiancée, Catherine (Susan Anspach), but Rayette shows up unexpectedly. As Rayette's crassness collides with the snobbery of the Dupea circle, Bobby loses patience with both sides. After trying to reconcile with his mute father, Bobby departs, unwilling to give in to either destiny. Director Bob Rafelson and screenwriter Adrien Joyce (aka Carole Eastman) used the creative control afforded by the low budget to craft a European-influenced character study, catching a cultural mood of anomie and resentment as it was embodied in Bobby. Neither older generation nor hippie, Bobby fits in nowhere, and his desire for independence conflicts with his emotional emptiness. Nicholson's nuanced performance of simmering frustration resonated with 1970 audiences caught between Nixon's "silent majority" and the troubled counterculture; a substantial hit, Five Easy Pieces was nominated for several Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Actor, and established Nicholson as a star. Offering no "easy" answers to Bobby's existential crisis, Five Easy Pieces is one of the pre-eminent films in the early-'70s cycle of alienated American art movies, as even the fantasy of rebellion is reduced to merely running away. ~ Lucia Bozzola, Rovi
The King of Marvin Gardens
Dreams die hard in wintry Atlantic City in Bob Rafelson's downbeat character drama. Depressive deejay David Staebler (Jack Nicholson) tends to his grandfather as he philosophizes on late-night Philadelphia talk radio. When his huckster older brother Jason (Bruce Dern) calls out of the blue one day, David travels to Atlantic City to see what his latest easy money scheme is. Along with his former beauty queen companion Sally (Ellen Burstyn) and her pretty stepdaughter Jessica (Julia Anne Robinson), Jason plans to open a resort on a small Hawaiian island, insisting to an initially skeptical David that the deal is as good as done. David plays along but, as he learns the reality of the situation, tries to talk some sense into Jason. Jason and his women will have none of it, leading to a tragic lesson about the cost of superficial values like beauty and wealth, and the limits of brotherly love. Rafelson's follow-up to his 1970 hit Five Easy Pieces once again questions American myths of success, with one brother unwilling to come to earth to realize his dreams and the other unable to do much beyond talk about his inertia to an unseen radio audience. With Five Easy Pieces star Nicholson as the introverted lead, and impressive cinematography by Laszlo Kovacs, The King of Marvin Gardens had the makings of another Hollywood New Wave hit. The response, however, was not what stumbling BBS Productions hoped, as Columbia barely supported the film and 1972 audiences were not as responsive to Rafelson's second exploration of contemporary alienation. The King of Marvin Gardens' artful depiction of disillusionment roots it firmly in the 1970s Hollywood art cinema, and its failure became one more sign of that cycle's popular limits. ~ Lucia Bozzola, Rovi
Drive, He Said
Jack Nicholson first put his well-documented enthusiasm for basketball to good use in this film, which he wrote and directed between his roles in Five Easy Pieces and Carnal Knowledge. William Tepper plays Hector, a student at a college in Ohio who shares a room with his friend Gabriel (Michael Margotta) and is the star player on the school's basketball team. Hector has been approached to quit college and play pro ball, but Gabriel is urging him to devote more time to radical political causes. Of course, both have plenty of other things on their mind; Hector is having a clandestine affair with the wife of one of his professors (Karen Black), while Gabriel, in a bid to beat the draft and avoid going to Vietnam, is trying to convince the draft board that he's insane. Unfortunately, Gabriel is feigning madness so well that he's not so sure he hasn't actually become crazy. Director Henry Jaglom and screenwriter Robert Towne also have supporting roles, as do future sitcom greats Cindy Williams and David Ogden Stiers. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
The Monkees -- Micky Dolenz, Mike Nesmith, Davy Jones and Peter Tork -- didn't really enjoy being labelled the Prefab Four back when their TV series was all the rage in 1966. With the help and support of Bob Rafaelson (co-producer, co-writer and director) and Jack Nicholson (co-producer, co-writer, and, if you look closely, bit player), the Monkees expressed their displeasure over being packaged for popular consumption in the non sequitur masterpiece Head. At least, it seems that the film is an indictment of the merchandising of pop stars. It's hard to tell at times, because Head literally has no plot; it is instead a patchwork of loopy sight gags, instant parodies, "camp" cutups, musical numbers and wry inside jokes. Clips of such old movies as the 1934 Karloff-Lugosi epic The Black Cat pop up every so often, as does an impressive lineup of pop-culture icons: Victor Mature, Annette Funicello, Sonny Liston, Frank Zappa (he's the one leading a cow) and Ray Nitschke, as well as such movie-trivia "answers" as Timothy Carey, Vito Scotti, Teri Garr, Percy Helton, Logan Ramsey, Carol Doda, and pre-Divine cross-dresser T.C. Jones. The best bits include a lengthy Golden Boy parody which does double duty as a lampoon of the network's efforts to create "personalities" for the individual Monkees, and a psychedelic buck-and-wing performed by Davy Jones. One gag, in which Micky Dolenz blows up a Coca Cola machine, is usually excised from TV showings. Head did zero business when it first came out thanks to poor distribution, but it has since become a fixture of midnight-movie showings and campus cinema classes. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
A Safe Place
A Safe Place, writer/director Henry Jaglom's feature film debut, is a time-fractured, hallucinatory fantasy, featuring Tuesday Weld as a lonely and confused woman named, at times, Susan and at other times Noah, who comments that "Tomorrow is where the past is." Too delicately ethereal to cope with either the hussle and bustle of a 1970 New York City or her un-hip boyfriend, Fred (Philip Proctor), Susan/Noah escapes into another reality, presided over by The Magician (Orson Welles with a cheap Yiddish accent). As she flits back and forth between past and present, fantasy and reality, Susan encounters Mitch (Jack Nicholson), an old lover who might also be her brother, and Bari (Gwen Welles) who delivers a soliloquy concerning New York City mashers. Opinion about this film was so divided when it was shown at the 1971 New York Film Festival, that the audience broke out into shouting matches which nearly led to a brawl. One highlight of the film is the wide assortment of popular music in its soundtrack. ~ Paul Brenner, Rovi
The Last Picture Show
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