Easy Rider - Alec Charais
What makes Easy Rider such an interesting film was the intent in which it was made. Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda wanted the film to be more than another biker movie, and wanted it to represent the counterculture that Miller speaks of. I think in many ways Hopper and Fonda accomplished this. For one, Easy Rider was a low budget film, indicative to the hippie ideals, and was produced in a loose fashion, using characters that weren't actors (such as the two men that kill Captain America and Billy at the end of the film as well as the locals in the rural Louisiana cafe.) They also filled the film with low cost footage of the American landscape and Mardi Gras, which also lends to the thriftiness of the hippie culture. It would have been hypocritical of them in a way to shoot this film with a high payroll.
Miller looks at the "thriftyness" of the hippie culture in another way when he discusses money and materialism. "Money symbolized many evils" (112) writes Miller about the counterculture's opposition to corporate America. The scene where Wyatt and Billy happen upon the hippie commune illustrates the counterculture's struggle with reality, the need to survive. Unlike the scene with the farmer who was able to live off the land and make a life for his family, the hippie villagers located themselves in an area where the land was unsuitable for sustaining life. Their hope that they would reap the harvest of the seeds that they had sown, yet they were eating food that came from the establishment to survive contradicted everything they stood for. Their desire to live from the oppression of the "American Dream" was also not justifiable by something that Miller writes later, that "freedom was important, but so was fun" (113). The irresposibility of the hippie culture would eventually lead to their demise, even though in the film Captain America thought otherwise.
What makes Easy Rider even more hypocritical to this countercuture is what we see in the beginning of the film altogether, the selling of drugs by Wyatt and Billy in order for them to escape and survive on their own. Isn't that idea, the ability to make enough money to become self-sufficient, the foundation of the "American Dream"?