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Friday, July 19, 2013

Coming of Age

Coming of Age
 I have pretty much always been a small town person.  My environment growing up was one where you could leave the doors to your car or house open and no one would violate your space.  Maybe we were just lucky to be surrounded by great upstanding people.  Some of the movies of the time as far as being scary were beyond the possibility of reality.  Those movies made you afraid of the dark, but not afraid of the people around you.  Some examples were, Night of the Living Dead, The Exorcist, Dawn of the Dead, Dracula. 
My awakening with regards to people around you first came with the movie Easy Rider:
  • Easy Rider is a 1969 American road movie written by Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, and Terry Southern, produced by Fonda and directed by Hopper. It tells the story of two bikers (played by Fonda and Hopper) who travel through the American Southwest and South. The success of Easy Riderhelped spark the New Hollywood phase of filmmaking during the early 1970s. The film was added to the Library of Congress National Registry in 1998.
  • A landmark counterculture film, and a "touchstone for a generation" that "captured the national imagination," Easy Rider explores the societal landscape, issues, and tensions in the United States during the 1960s, such as the rise and fall of the hippie movement, drug use, and communal lifestyle. Easy Rider is famous for its use of real drugs in its portrayal of marijuana and other substances.
Throughout this film were many firsts for me. Looking back, my discovery of so many things that are common today make me seem na├»ve, and sheltered.  I guess I was that and more. The idea of two free-spirited young men dealing in buying and selling drugs seemed at odds with each other.  Having what appeared to be a lifestyle of no structure, and simply go with the flow attitude, just didn’t make sense.  The many other things in the movie that gave me pause for thought were the scenes in the commune, the use of LSD (imagery), the attack and killing of Jack Nicholson’s character while they slept, the scenes at the brothel, and later in the cemetery.  I would have never guessed that scenes from that movie would someday become our everyday reality.
Fortunately for me, I’ve never been one to be influenced by movies with negative messages.  When I walk out of a theater after seeing a comic book hero on the screen, I feel great, and even imagine how it could have been better, or what the direction the plot might take for the sequel.  In all honesty, when I saw Easy Rider at a drive in theater, I drove home bothered by what I had seen (especially the ending where both main characters get shot and killed for no apparent reason).  I drove away fully knowing that what I saw was fiction and could never happen in real life.  Who would have thunk!  The best is yet to come…..

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