Five Easy Pieces (Bob Rafelson, 1970)

In one of his unforgettable performances, Jack Nicholson plays Bobby, an oil rig worker in California. Five Easy Pieces is a road movie that starts by introducing Bobby’s tough working conditions, the friends he hangs out with and the rather silly woman he dates. He seems like an ordinary man leading a simple life, but certain incidents signal some inexplicable mysteries about his character. When he finds out about his father dying, he takes a long trip back to his childhood home. There, we see a world in complete contrast with how he lives in California.

In one of the early scenes, Bobby is stuck in traffic on a highway while driving with his friend. He finds the cars honking behind unbearable and gets off.

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He first yells at the drivers, then barks back at a dog and then steps on a car’s muffler to see ahead.

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Then he notices a moving truck full of furniture and climbs up to get a better view of the traffic. There he notices a piano covered under a blanket. Moving the blanket aside, he sits down, takes off his helmet and starts playing.

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It is actually a piece by Chopin that turns into a cacophony, mixed with the sound of car horns and engines within the slowly moving traffic.

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