Raanan vs the CLASSICS (pt. 1 of 6) – EASY RIDER
EASY RIDER being the first of 6 so-called classics my irascible cousin simply cannot stand.
We tend to feature only positive reviews here at Isle of Cinema. But one has risen, to champion negativity. His name is Raanan, and until he accepts a permanent position as contributor to the site, you must settle for quotes around his rants:
“Every week or so I find myself talking to a girl at a bar, when, in the middle of a conversation about something or other, I ask her what her favorite movie is (which is always just a ploy to have her ask me the question). She will invariably respond with such titles as Good Will Hunting or Juno, causing me to nod politely in response, while my eyes covertly wander around the room, in search of someone else to talk to. And maybe this is why I find the unwarranted praise of certain movies so bothersome- I feel ashamed sleeping with anyone who likes a movie that has Ben Affleck in it (Dazed and Confused notwithstanding). Now I know what you’re thinking: from the sexually frustrated tone so quickly established in this essay, I clearly do not sleep with enough women to afford being so selective. And while this might be true, from my experience in the dating world, most relationships center around one person forcing the other to share their bad taste in art. And while I seriously doubt I will ever fall for someone with such passionate, all-consuming intensity that I end up sharing their love of Forrest Gump, I am not prepared to take the risk- I would rather die alone with my good taste still intact. Which is why I’ve compiled a list of the most overrated movies of all time, or at the very least the six that I feel truly embody the essence of overrated cinema. Quick note: After rewatching all six movies, 2 things occurred to me: a) this was the first time in my writing career I was truly suffering for my art and b) the positive, life-affirming emotions these movies were trying so hard to make me feel caused me to sink into an even deeper despair, so that halfway through the last movie I found myself swaying perilously back and forth on the edge of a chair, a noose wrapped tightly around my neck, as life-affirming platitudes lashed out at me from the TV screen. Any more joyous, any more certain of the victories in store for us all if we “simply follow our heart,” and these movies would’ve killed me.
Overrated Movie #6 - EASY RIDER
The 60’s were a wild time for movies. Directors began breaking free from the confines of major studios, unconventional-looking actors became movie stars over night, and everyone was on so many drugs they actually thought Dennis Hopper was talented. Easy Rider (1969) probably has the thinnest story of any movie on the AFI TOP 100 List – Two coke-peddling hippies named after legendary outlaws head down South on motorcycles, meet a soused lawyer (played with early-in-his-career mania by Nicholson) and end up getting killed for having long hair, or for searching for America, or for being just too damn cool to live. I’m not exactly sure why they get killed, but let’s face it, do rednecks ever need a reason to test their shotguns out on others? At least this is what this self-glorifying, You’re-only-cool-if-you’re-a-hippie, Master(batory)piece wants us to believe. The whole movie is an homage to itself, Fonda and Hopper acting out their own martyrdom at the end- sacrificing themselves in the name of Non-conformity. But what they, or the people who love this movie, fail to realize is that martyrdom is a two-step process: you have to do something good first, then get blown away for it. And while they clearly get blown away at the end, I don’t recall them ever doing any good in the world. In fact, I don’t recall them doing much of anything but riding down the highway on their Harleys, desperately trying to look cool.”
There you have it. What do you think? Is Easy Rider a masterpiece? Or does the round go to Raanan? And don’t forget to tune in next week, for another installment of Raanan vs the CLASSICS: Overrated movie #5 - GOOD WILL HUNTING