Wyatt (Peter Fonda) and Billy (Dennis Hopper) are two young "hippies" from L.A. who sell a sizable amount of cocaine to give them enough money to drive their motorcycles down to Mardi Gras. They encounter a wide range of characters along the way. From welcoming farmers who give them food, to rural small town folk afraid of the "hippies" wild ways and free spirit, every one they meet has an impact on them. In one of the small towns, the two are arrested on a technicality and meet the local liberal lawyer George Hanson (Jack Nicholson) who is convinced to accompany the travelers on their way to Margi Gras. The three experience freedom of the open road, prejudice from locals and death, all while riding *high*.
So yea, after reading the description I knew that if anyone has seen this movie, it would be Jake, and it turns out he had. At least parts of it. I knew he would have seen this movie because it is definitely a "guys guy" movie. One that I could picture them all sitting around drinking beer to, imagining they were on those bikes driving half way across the country.
This movie was definitely interesting but also a little strange. Written in 1969, it was definitely a timely movie representing the prejudice and resistance from many parts of the country to the drug-fueled, free "hippie" world that Wyatt and Billy represented. I could see how watching this movie then would have been a very powerful experience, but it didn't have that same effect watching it in 2011. Jack Nicholson's portrayal of a George was amazing. A liberal, small-town drunk, golden boy afraid of actually taking that step out of his comfort-zone, George was afraid of becoming what he wanted to be, Wyatt and Billy. He even mentioned how he had set out to Mardi Gras 9 times, and never actually made it all the way there.
One of the craziest parts of the movie was when Wyatt and Billy finally make it to Mardi Gras, pick up to hookers, drop acid and have a bad trip. The next 5 minutes of the movie was something between A Clockwork Orange and the scene from Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story.
Did You Know:
- Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda did not write a full script for the movie and made most of it up as they went along. They didn't hire a crew but instead picked up hippies at communes across the country, and used friends and passersby to hold the cameras and were drunk and stoned most of the time.
- Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, and Jack Nicholson were actually smoking marijuana on camera. LSD, however, was not actually used during the acid scene, as Fonda has stated.
- The movie cost $400,000 to make and grossed $60,000,000 worldwide
Rating: 3 out of 5
When to See it: Sitting around, drinking beer or.. ya know
Run Time: ~1.5 hrs