I rented this movie just last night. Partly because I wanted to see what New Orleans looked like years before I was even born. I’d heard how important a film it was, a cornerstone tribute to the evolution of movies that mark American history, like Gone With The Wind. I expected a lot of drugs, pork chop sideburns and outdated language. Aside from a lot of repetitive desert scenes and side sweeps of the two main characters on their hogs, there really wasn’t much to this movie. The characters made most of whatever statements they were going to make with their choice of clothing. I mean, if being free means fueling a cross country trip with a big drug deal just to go to Mardi Gras, drop acid with two prostitutes who run around naked in a cemetery in New Orleans, only to get unrealistically blown away by two rednecks in a pick up truck, I’d rather retain my boring existence. The only thing Dennis Hopper, one actor I respect dearly, seems to say is man, dude, and no way. Peter Fonda is indeed a hottie, but even his silent pauses in the movie aren’t saying much.

I’m all for road trips taken for all kinds of reasons. I support the human need to find a place where he belongs. I think the 60’s and 70’s were so saturated with overindulgence that I don’t think people often found anything they were looking for but instead found a way to escape it. When I mean people, I mean the masses of young people who took freedom beyond the place of empowerment into the place of self-incarceration, where they became slaves to their appetites instead of their dreams. I have no choice but to hope and believe that not everyone in America was stoned out of their minds throughout the era in which this movie was made. Some of us had to get shit done.

What commentary did this movie make, aside from the futility with which these two men found their end? What did Easy Rider say for other enlightened people who rode against the tides of conformity and didn’t necessarily have to go so far down on the line of hopelessness before pulling themselves back into reality? Not all movies have to have a point to be good; sometimes they can simply be what they are. But for me, this movie didn’t have much in itself, and I am far from tempted to search for substance in such a vacuous attempt to speak for any part of a whole generation. It’s just not there.