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Jack Nicholson

SCREEN GEM: Five Easy Pieces (1970)

Jack Nicholson, Five Easy Pieces | 'PIECES' ON EARTH Nicholson works the land
Image credit: Five Easy Pieces: Everett Collection
'PIECES' ON EARTH Nicholson works the land

''Five Easy Pieces'' is a past gem from Oscar nominee Jack Nicholson

COSTARS Karen Black, Sally Struthers

PREMISE Bobby Dupea (Nicholson) rebels against parental authority, abandoning his future as a concert pianist to work in an oil field. This is the film with the famous chicken-salad-sandwich scene: ''Hold it between your kneeeees,'' Jack utters to a diner waitress who won't let him order plain toast.

FUN FACT The title refers to a piano music instruction book.

WHY IT'S GREAT ''Pieces'' continues Nicholson's tradition -- from ''Easy Rider'' to ''About Schmidt'' -- of classic road trip films, but it's here that he really hones his signature persona: rebellious, subversive, ornery, volatile, unsatisfied, and perversely charming.

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