News Article

Tokin' Achievements

What Jack Nicholson and the others have done behind the camera

Easy Rider: druggy '60s indulgence or directorial spawning ground? The movie seems to be both, since it not only launched Dennis Hopper as a director but featured all of the following future auteurs:

JACK NICHOLSON:
Character: George Hanson, a Southern lawyer who falls in with two bikers.
Directorial Oeuvre: Drive, He Said (1971), Goin' South (1978), The Two Jakes (1990).
Auteur Status: Nicholson wrote or cowrote a handful of notable B pictures before Easy Rider brought stardom, but his record behind the camera has been uneven. The campus comedy Drive, He Said was a clunker. Goin' South was an inventive romp. And no one really blames him for the mess that was The Two Jakes.

TONI BASIL:
Character: Mary, a New Orleans prostitute.
Directorial Oeuvre: Music videos. She directed that slice of '80s cheese ''Mickey,'' her sole hit single, and a concurrent long-form video, Word of Mouth (1981). She's also directed videos for Talking Heads, Fishbone, and David Byrne.
Auteur Status: Basil, whose career as a dancer and choreographer goes all the way back to TV's Shindig in the mid-'60s, remains quite an impressive...choreographer. She mapped the steps for both Bette Midler's and Tina Turner's recent tours.

PETER FONDA:
Character: Wyatt, a.k.a. Captain America, a dreamer and biker.
Directorial Oeuvre: Hired Hand (1971), Idaho Transfer (1973), Wanda Nevada (1979).
Auteur Status: Debuted strongly with the Western Hired Hand; made peculiar detour with the eco-parable Idaho Transfer; skidded to a halt with a clunky Brooke Shields starrer, Nevada. Currently, Natural Born Killers producers Jane Hamsher and Don Murphy are trying to put Fonda back in the director's chair.

Originally posted Aug 05, 1994 Published in issue #234 Aug 05, 1994 Order article reprints
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