“I feel so disconnected.”
A college basketball player (William Tepper) in love with the wife (Karen Black) of a professor (Robert Towne) navigates pressure from his demanding coach (Bruce Dern) and an increasing level of paranoia from his draft-avoiding roommate (Michael Margotta).
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Bruce Dern Films
- Jack Nicholson Films
- Karen Black Films
Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary writes that while “Jack Nicholson’s directorial debut” — “adapted by Nicholson and Jeremy Larner (Eugene McCarthy’s chief speechwriter in ’68) from Larner’s novel” — “was booed at Cannes and received mostly negative reviews in the U.S.,” he believes “it’s an impressive, highly original work, probably the best at expressing the alienation and confusion of college kids of the era.” He notes that the “film deals with rebellion on three fronts: Margotta from society/authority/sanity:
… Tepper from his baskeball-is-everything coach (Bruce Dern is fabulous):
… and Black from all the men who keep her from breathing.”
Indeed, while Tepper’s performance is merely serviceable (he didn’t go on to much of an acting career after this), he’s surrounded by a powerhouse group of supporting actors who bring the story and the era to life. Despite being “flawed and defeatist,” Nicholson’s debut film is consistently unique and intriguing, and remains worth a look.
Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:
- Michael Margotta as Gabriel
- Bruce Dern as Coach Bullion
- Karen Black as Olive
- Confident direction and editing
No, but it’s worth a look.