Tuesday, April 9, 2013
First time I saw Easyrider was on the big screen in the seventies. I was living under the constrictions of life in the US Army and a bunch of us dropped some microdot , bought our tickets, went inside and enjoyed the ride.
The plot is simple and pretty much straightforward. The two protagonists, Wyatt (Peter Fonda) and Billy (Dennis Hopper) are itinerant Home Depot sales reps who trade a truckload of vinyl siding to some Mexicans for a kilo of bath salts. They then sell the bath salts to record producer Phil Spector, who goes all Zombie and kills a young actress, eats part of her face, and hides her remains behind a Wall of Sound.
The boys head east and meet up in the desert with a bunch of communists who like to smoke chronic and put on lavish Off-Broadway musicals, which really freaks Billy out. They meet a couple of hippy chicks with all-natural, organic shrubbery and swim naked in a cobblestone horse trough, splashing and frolicking like a bunch of playful sea otters.
They continue their odyssey and get busted in Texas for loud pipes, are thrown in jail with George, (Jack Nicholson) who claims to be a lawyer but is actually an alien from Venus who must wear a football helmet and guzzle pints of Jim Beam to compensate for the unfamiliar gravitational pull of planet Earth. They are released and George joins them, hopping on the back of Billy’s scoot, steering it with his feet, with Jimi Hendrix and Steppenwolf blasting through loud, Dolby Surround Sound. They stop at a diner in Louisiana and have a disagreement with some of the locals. Later that night George dies, stricken with a bad case of axe-handle food poisoning.
I forget a large portion of the movie, but I do recall that in the end some dudes in a pickup truck with poor dental work shoot Wyatt with a grenade launcher, igniting all seventy-five gallons of the aircraft fuel stored on board the Captain America bike causing a large brush fire that cancels the Mardis Gras and ends the Viet Nam War.