Sun. Jun 23rd, 2024

Born to Be Wild

In a gentle yet hushed exchange, Dennis Hopper’s debut feature, Easy Rider, might not be the first thing that comes to mind when talking about counterculture or the American New Wave. When people are more apt to think about how coke-dealing bikers Wyatt and Billy stumbled into LSD along with prostitutes in a cemetery, then Steppenwolf’s Born to Be Wild is going to keep blowing up the ride.

If it’s just a trick and typical moments that many people have quoted at the time, Hopper has filtered the film to that point. It is a historical record in both American and Hollywood history, as well as a never-ending clash of cultures even in the modern era. However, it does not only serve as a curiosity for scholars and historians. By being free, whether costly or meaningful, Wyatt and Billy will continue to refer to themselves as Captain America.

While crossing the United States en route from Mexico, Los Angeles, and the Southwest to New Orleans, they staged a surprise attack. Their star-twinkling accessories betray, defy, and even annoy many of the fringe characters the duo encounters on their journey. Apart from living from one drug dealer to the next, they have neither a home, a family, nor a steady job. In essence, they just love to go wherever they like.

American Highways

Wyatt and Billy would stick around until they felt like moving elsewhere. Of course, that would not be a statement on their part. It’s just that, they happen to live there or are confused by the statement of George, the alcoholic ACLU lawyer, which shows that he never considered himself a symbol of any kind. Representatives of the predominantly American culture have thought in such terms.

As far as they were concerned, they and the rest of the lower class liked to hang out with each other. They weren’t just moonchild freaks, and they weren’t just provoking such surroundings on a walk. In such ways, they challenge the prevailing notion of machismo. Not often; society always harasses them just because of their eccentric clothes and long hair. In one case, people also always call them queer.

Motorcyclists’ nomadic existence is not born wild on American highways. However, it proves that to survive, they don’t have to be animals that others have to constantly comfort. Democratic reforms to the turbulence of social change, on the other hand, are rapidly increasing and becoming the debate of the modern century. It’s easy to forget that spreading opposing ideologies is always a revolutionary act.

While society considers the counterculture movement to be one of its most influential influences, the postwar 1950s culture’s grip on the status quo resulted in rebellions all over the world.

Vietnam War

Following the end of the Vietnam War in 1975, Hollywood’s “golden age,” with Charles Manson as the counterculture outsider, became a symbol of the rebellious entity. Such is the same case that Tarantino re-created in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. From here, the counterculture culture makes the term “freedom” nebulous. Still, it describes the mindset that created the film, shot entirely outside of the studio.

Hopper, Fonda, and Southern co-wrote the film, representing aspects of the counterculture as multigenerational, which includes so many outsiders. Hippies banded together in the early 1960s due to their dissatisfaction with their beatnik lifestyle in postwar America. On the other hand, Fonda came up with ideas for the modern western that fit such sensibilities. It brought in Southern and Hopper as collaborators, despite Southern having been traveling in a circle of hipster artists since the late 40s.

The visual flight of luxury elevates the film to the level of a reserved poetic masterpiece. Softness with a mixture of sharp humor is characteristic of and a mark for Hopper and Fonda, especially Southern. Rather than that, the soothing hum of Wyatt and Billy’s motorcycle sets the tone for the rest of the film. The cinematography frames the wild Southern landscape as a wild world that the canyons inhabit.

Amazingly, but not exclusively, in one of the sequences, Wyatt and Billy take a hippie ride. They travel to the counterculture community, depicting the lives of most of the hippie community at the time.

Conservative Prejudice

In the sequence, Wyatt and Billy were arrested on trumped-up charges in yet another display of conservative prejudice. Simultaneously, they also meet with George, trying to negotiate for him to accompany them on their journey. Their stop at a small restaurant exemplifies the barrier between the three. Even though both groups advocated for liberty, only the latter was irritated by all three’s expressions.

The townspeople approved of freedom as long as it conformed to their ideals of normalcy. Wyatt and Billy survived, but not George, who had been beaten to death. From here, the shadow of hatred that overshadows the initially calm atmosphere of the film will continue to haunt the audience. The reason is simple: fear of some kind of alien freedom. George has described the meaning of individual freedom.

According to him, individual freedom does not occur when society continues to talk about or is “afraid” of outsiders who have individual freedom. However, individual freedom arises when an individual is engaged in “injuring” or “killing” the free outsider. Therefore, when an individual feels free, never tell him that the individual feels free. At the end of the film, the climax of the prejudice’s escalation occurs when two men in a pickup truck pass Wyatt and Billy.

Growing fed up, they shot guns at Billy. It resulted in a fatal accident.

Democratic Party

Wyatt desperately sought assistance. Unfortunately, the truck driver shot him, knocking him off his motorcycle, until all the remains were burned. In the final sequence, the desire and frustration for freedom end in violence caused by those who are afraid. It resulted in the rise and fall of the counterculture movement. Similar to the thematic representation in the film, Hopper, and Fonda remove oppressive influences.

The shadow that looms over it belongs to Fonda’s father, Henry, an iconic leader whose name is synonymous with the Roosevelt-style Democratic Party and a hero that no one else can destroy. Like his sister, Jane, Peter sympathized with the American political left. He just didn’t like the lead roles that people conventionally liked. All such influences inform his portrayal of Wyatt, who takes on a quiet but powerful persona.

Finally, he reveals himself as a wounded soul. The person suffering from emotional lock-in syndrome tries to avoid any personal experience that comes his way. On the other hand, there is Hopper, who has had systemic bad experiences. The production that introduced him to his friend James Dean after his success as a supporting actor in Rebel Without a Cause earned him a reputation as a troublemaker.

When he started working on the film, he almost became the victim of Hollywood. In short, he wants to approach the film as an experiment in which he examines his interpretation of what acting and directing are and how they are adventures in and of themselves.

Easy Pieces

Many critics and audiences hailed Easy Rider as one of the most profitable films ever made at the 1969 Cannes Film Festival. As well as launching Nicholson and Fonda to fame, it also cemented Hopper as an aspiring indie director everywhere. He turned contemporary art into filmmaking clichés. Later, he will make a six-draw deal like the one that many people recognize, namely, Five Easy Pieces.

Despite being treated as history by science, the film chain’s impact on popular culture is enticing. It’s a surprising film because it shows young viewers a life, they’ve heard about but that has yet to be accurately captured on film. The film, however, transcends such a cultural moment as a hippie, reactionary suspense, or a biker born wild on the street. It is about how difficult it is to get out of social conditions, maintain life, and debate what it means to live freely.

By validating the mythical image of life in the mainstream, the film shows how difficult it is to live the story. Members of the commune visit for a living, spending so many nights outdoors, not for the love of stargazing at night. In the bonfire scene, the lines act as an indictment of American counterculture.

Real Change

Real change can be seen in the same way that many revolutionary movements self-destruct after gaining an advantage. In the end, it was bought or given to the upper class, who were always breaking the law. The notion that a man isn’t a true success in terms of money, relaxation, or quitting his job does not imply that he should abandon his comfortable suburban life in favor of panicking over the loss of his home.

Wyatt and Billy are born and die wild, in a twisted way that could mean a happy ending. The medium of surrealism can manifest itself as naiveté, abusing a rule but idealistically pursuing merit-based opportunities. Society can refuse to commit to apparatus or hippies. However, relationships give rise to more vulnerability than stability. The film’s ending shows the self-destruction of the unstable pair as if the slick individualism of the 1960s had turned to crude survival.

The landscape belongs only to those who can sneak in between the communities fighting within it. In other words, it marked the halfway point between the relatively superior ethical grounding and the vaguely threatening empathy of the hippies. Verticalism’s efficiency allows for tighter filming.


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