2004 Taormina BNL Filmfest Diaries
Taormina, June 15, 2004 – Today's 50-year retrospective movie, "Easy Rider" might have become a victim of its own success. In its day, the movie contributed significantly to the globalization of hippie culture. It has been so successful that what was exotic and provocative in 1969 today can be experienced in any small town youth center. What we're left with is the shell of a movie with an unclear plotline, starring relatively unattractive fuzzy-bearded men (Peter Fonda does look gorgeous, though, or so I am told) that are mumbling platitudes about freedom while smoking pot. The original "Box Office" review from 1969 was a good prediction of things to come: "Screenings for school groups etc., should spark discussions on drugs, the generation gap, etc.". The only highlight for today's viewers is the fifteen minutes or so that Jack Nicholson appears in the movie. This film started his acting career, and he said later that if it had not been for "Easy Rider", he might have ended up as a studio executive.
Tonight's Greek Theatre screening is Disney's "The Alamo", a box office flop in the US. While history movies usually work well in this setting, this one somehow doesn't – too long (over two hours), too drawn out, and when the Mexicans finally attack the Alamo one somehow can't help but think of the Orcs attacking Minas Tirith, which significantly degrades any potential patriotic feeling.
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