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“Five Easy Pieces”…defining me.

“Why Jack?”, I’ve sometimes been asked. “Five Easy Pieces? I’ve never heard of it!”, is one I’ll get occasionally. Those folks usually have only seen Nicholson as Jack Torrance in “The Shining” and/or The Joker in 1989’s “Batman”. “What’s the chicken salad sandwich scene?” That one drives me right up a wall! Honestly, if you don’t know what the “chicken salad sandwich” scene is, you have a sub-par awareness of cinema history. It’s like not knowing “Citizen Kane” was Orson Welles first feature film, or that Boris Karloff played the most iconic version of the Frankenstein Monster. You simply HAVE to be aware of this stuff, if you intend to label yourself a “film lover”. No excuses accepted.

I’m slowly adjusting to the world of social media: I’ve been “tweeting” for a little over a year, and now I’ve finally joined Facebook. I’ve done it all to promote “reviewedbymarkleonard”, especially now that I’ve started work on the “America Weekend with Ed Kalegi” national radio program, as the Film and Arts Contributor. And I recently decided that Jack Nicholson’s screen shot as Bobby Dupea, from the “chicken salad sandwich” scene, as seen in 1970’s “Five Easy Pieces”, would serve to “identify” me all around. It’s the photo I’ve been displaying on Twitter, it’s the one I’ve posted officially on Facebook, and now I’ve changed my WordPress Gravatar to the same. Let’s just call the Jack pic my “signature”.

1970’s “Five Easy Pieces” is one of the finest counter-culture movies ever made. It brought Nicholson his very first Oscar nomination for Best Actor, only a year after his first ever nomination, for Best Supporting Actor for “Easy Rider”. This one-two punch made Jack a huge international star. And I’ll never forget seeing the “chicken salad sandwich” scene while in a grade school English class. It spoke to me. Dupea’s verbal jousting with that exasperated waitress is one of the most important explanations regarding my adoration of movies. Also, Bobby Dupea’s ultimate choice at the finale of the film, is one that has stuck with me every day of my life. I’m wild about “Five Easy Pieces”. It’s my favorite film, and role, from Jack. I’ll sometimes include the disclaimer that I realize that Roman Polanski’s “Chinatown”, is most likely the greatest film either Jack or Roman ever made. But “Chinatown” never impacted me like “Five Easy Pieces” did…and that’s the reason I’ve picked it to represent me. I hope that helps you understand. Actually watching it will assist you even more.

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2 comments on ““Five Easy Pieces”…defining me.

  1. Nice post, Mark! Love this movie so very much and consider it one of Nicholson’s performances. Which is obviously saying a whole lot.

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