Criterion Year Week 48: Five Easy Pieces

The Criterion Collection, the last vestige of truly collectible DVD and Blu-Ray movies in existence. These are well produced, fancy pants editions of important and interesting films for the discerning film lover.

We continue our journey through Jim's collection of movies with...

Five Easy Pieces

Spine Number: 546

Director: Bob Rafelson

Genre: Drama

It's hard to imagine, but there was a time when Jack Nicholson was just an actor. Sure, he's still an actor, but he isn't just an actor. I mean, can a man who has been nominated for 12 Oscars, 17 Golden Globes, 7 BAFTAs, and basically every other award you can imagine, and who has won 3 Oscars, 6 Golden Globes (as well as the C. B. Demille Lifetime achievement award), be called just an actor.

Yes, he is an actor. But he's more of a movie star, icon, and general embodiment of Hollywood royalty at this point.

But there was a time...

After spending years as a supporting actor he finally broke through with his first Oscar nomination for his role in "Easy Rider," which led to "Five Easy Pieces," which was, incidentally, his second Oscar nomination. From there he instantly became a Hollywood institution, an awards show mainstay, and the subject of more horrible impressions than Christopher Walken.

But really, it all started here.

This is the kind of movie Hollywood just doesn't make any more. It's a low budget drama about an emotional train wreck of a man. There is no happy ending, there isn't really even a hero, it's just the story of a man running away from everything, all the time. A man outrunning everything but himself, who is determined to pull people in, just so he can push them away.

Because Jack has become JACK, it's easy to forget how incredible an actor he is. This may or may not be him at his best, but this performance definitely falls in his top five.

So, if you haven't seen it, check it out. If you have, take a listen and see what we think about it.

Next week we begin a run of movies that Clarkson will be seeing for the first time ever with...

Spine number 555: The Sweet Smell of Success

Also, check this out.

The Life Masters is now it's own show with its own site and own dedicated feed. That's right, we have two completely different shows!

Right now check it out at

You can also drink in our brilliance on Youtube for both The Film Thugs and The Life Masters.

Looks like Summer Movie League has officially become Fantasy Movie League.

It looks quite fun. Here's how it works.

You have an 8 screen theater.

Every week you pick movies and have a budget/salary cap you have to stay under.

Then you compete against other theaters in your league.

It's fantasy football for movie people.

Our league is Film Thugs 2015 and the password is Porterhouse.

And remember, you can be a part of the show any time you wild like. How's that? All you have to do is call or e-mail us. If you live in the US, or any place that makes calling the US easy, just dial 512-666-RANT and leave us a voicemail. We will read the Google Voice transcript and play your message. It's both funny AND informative.

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E-mail us at and we will read/play whatever you send us, or you can e-mail to be part of  an upcoming "Ask the Film Thugs" show, where we answer questions on any subject without having heard them first.

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Also, be sure to check back often for our new endeavor The Life Masters, where we answer questions to other advice columnists.

Thanks for listening, and until next week...

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