Five Easy Pieces review

A frustrated musical prodigy returns home after years spent drifting

Having landed an Oscar nom for Easy Rider, Jack Nicholson promptly bagged another for his performance in Bob Rafelson’s thematically similar 1970 tale of a frustrated drifter fleeing his past life as a piano prodigy.

Called back home by news his father is dying, he brings his trailer-trash girlfriend (Karen Black) along in what becomes both spirited road movie and existential journey.

Everyone knows the scene in which Jack tries to order toast from a testy waitress. Yet he’s even better in his showdown with dad, an anguished monologue voicing the disaffection of a generation.

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