Five Easy Pieces

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Five Easy Pieces is a 1970 American drama film written by Carole Eastman (as Adrien Joyce) and Bob Rafelson, and directed by Rafelson. The film stars Jack Nicholson, Karen Black, and Susan Anspach. The cast also includes Billy 'Green' Bush, Fannie Flagg, Ralph Waite, Sally Struthers, Lois Smith, Toni Basil, and Helena Kallianiotes. The film tells the story of a surly oil rig worker, Bobby Dupea, whose blue-collar existence belies his privileged youth as a child prodigy. When word reaches Bobby that his father is dying, he reluctantly takes his girlfriend, Rayette (Black), a dimwitted, pregnant waitress, back home to make peace with his family.



Classical pianist Robert Dupea (Jack Nicholson), who comes from a family of musicians, works in a California oil field. Most of his time is spent in bowling alleys, drinking beer in the trailer of his friend, Elton (Billy 'Green' Bush), or with his waitress girlfriend, Rayette (Karen Black). When he learns that she is pregnant, and his friend Elton gets arrested for robbing a gas station a year ago, he quits his job and leaves for Los Angeles where his sister, Partita (Lois Smith), also a pianist, is making a recording. Partita informs him that their father has suffered two strokes and urges him to return to the family home on Puget Sound. He tells Rayette that he must go to see his father and reluctantly agrees to take her along. On the way, they pick up two lesbians whose constant chatter about ecology increasingly annoys Robert. The four of them are thrown out of a restaurant when he becomes involved in an argument with a waitress who cannot bring his special order. Eventually, Robert reaches his destination. Embarrassed by Rayette's lack of polish, he registers her in a motel and goes to his family home. At dinner that night, he meets Catherine Van Oost, a young pianist engaged to his brother, Carl (Ralph Waite), a violinist.

Despite personality differences, Robert and Catherine become attracted to each other and make love in her room. Meanwhile, Rayette becomes bored at the motel and comes to the Dupea estate unannounced. Her presence creates an awkward situation, but when Samia, a pompous family friend, ridicules Rayette's background, Robert is forced into a fiery defense of her. Storming from the room, he discovers his father's male nurse giving a massage to the half-naked Partita. Even more angered, Robert picks a senseless fight with him and is quickly knocked to the floor. He tries to convince Catherine to go away with him, but she tells him that she cannot do it because he does not love himself or anything at all and thus doesn't have much to offer her. After a frustrating attempt to talk with his father, Robert leaves with Rayette. Unable to function in the intellectual world of his family or in the working-class world of the oil fields, he stops at a gas station, abandons Rayette when she goes in for some coffee, and hitches a ride on a truck.

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