Two bikers head from L.A. to New Orleans through the open country and desert lands, and along the way they meet a man who bridges a counter-culture gap of which they had been unaware.Two bikers head from L.A. to New Orleans through the open country and desert lands, and along the way they meet a man who bridges a counter-culture gap of which they had been unaware.Two bikers head from L.A. to New Orleans through the open country and desert lands, and along the way they meet a man who bridges a counter-culture gap of which they had been unaware.
Outside of the deeply rooted themes of this film, I felt that Hopper (who also directed) knew exactly what he was doing behind the camera. He kept the talking short, the music loud and symbolic, and allowed the background to do the explaining. I loved the fact that we really knew nothing about Fonda or Hopper's characters. It allowed us to relate to them. You could easily add your story into their characters and have the life that you lead and wish to escape. Hopper was able to transform this film from a drug movie to a film about humanity. Fonda, who also helped write the film with Hopper, did a superb job of adding Nicholson's character into the mix.
Nicholson represented us, the American public and our love of liquor, football, and lies. I viewed Nicholson as the average American. He drank too much, was the product of a wealthy upbringing, but did not know much about the world. He was sheltered. He never smoked weed (in fact didn't even know what it was when presented to him), never left the state line, and never lived life. He constantly used the expression, 'I have always wanted to '. How many times do you hear this a day from either a family member or a co-worker? If you always wanted to do it, why haven't you? So, here we have Hanson, dreaming a dream but never following through, who is traveling with two guys that live the ultimate life and live by their own rules. They are complete opposites, but Hanson's words seemed to remain in my mind for a long time. He reminded me of one of my wife's students today that spoke about freedom. He knew exactly what it was, but never practiced it. Hopper and Fonda were walking (driving most of the time) representations of the word 'freedom'. It is tragic what happens to Harmon, because he (unfortunately) experienced the negative side of freedom hatred and fear of the unknown.
There was one scene that just jumped out at me. It occurs in the diner before the incident later that night where our travelers experience hatred in the country they admire so much. They go from peace and love to fear and hate. It is as if they witnessed night and day. It was frightening to hear the words coming from people in that restaurant. It was not only scary to wonder what was going to happen to our narrators, but mainly that people were speaking that way to fellow citizens. I know that it still occurs today, and it is surprising to me. We bomb a country because they do not follow the same principles that we do, but we need to start asking ourselves this question do we need another United States?
Grade: ***** out of *****
- Sep 25, 2004