246 Great Directors: Bob Rafelson

“No, it was virtually impossible to get an independent film made. You say “those days” as if it was a century ago. There’s always been some kind of antipathy between those who want to create outside the box and those who control the box. There just wasn’t a strong backhand from the independents at that point.”

What Got This Director Here?
: Five Easy Pieces.

My Favorite Past Experience Was…: Five Easy Pieces.

What Did I Watch: Head.

Where Does He Fit: Head is a trip through the id of the Monkees and Jack Nicholson with the director helping both along, a weird piece of outsider art that is deliberately structured so as to be a collection of dazzling gags and setpieces and musical numbers that deconstruct genre, then storytelling, then the nature of performance itself from a group who used it in a very straightforward, silly, and ultimately commercial way. The fact that this actually got financed by someone is proof that the 1960s may have been a smarter time in certain ways. You get every movie you could want in one.


Most Valuable Asset: Er…he was good at morphing his style? Hard to find a throughline.
Most Excited For: King of Marvin Gardens is pretty much the last one left.
Did They Deserve a Spot?: While I enjoyed this a lot, his decline is pretty noticeable if true, and in such a small career to boot. Still, Five Easy Pieces…call me ambivalent.

Coming Up Next: Jack Clayton, who went from horror to drama but was always literary.


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