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Easy Rider - MONICA WEIR

I was really excited about watching this film because I had heard that it was an important representation of the counterculture movement. I actually plan on watching it again some time soon because there are a lot of parts that I would like to pay more attention to.

There are so many different stylistic attempts to portray the hippy ideals and I feel that Easy Rider did a fantastic job. This is not because Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper accurately played out all of the counterculture values, but because they portray the lack in concrete definition of principles that members of the counterculture were striving to follow.

As Wyatt and Billy are traveling across the country we continually learn more about what they believe are their counterculture values. We see, however, that their actions don't always represent their supposed hippy ideals. This is not depicting that they are failed members of the counterculture, but instead that all members have somewhat slanted views that cannot be in direct opposition to mainstream society or the establishment. I agree with Costello in saying that "the values of the counterculture were becoming indistinguishable from the values of the mainstream" (189). This is shown best at the end of the movie while the two main characters are once again sitting around a bonfire reflecting on their ideas. Billy announces, "We did it, man. We did it, we did it. We're rich, man. We're retirin' in Florida now, mister," and instead of agreeing, Wyatt sadly responds, "You know Billy, we blew it." Striving to become rich and desiring to retire in Florida are not principles of the counterculture. On the contrary they are commonly goals of mainstream culture and it seems that Wyatt understands this. Throughout their journey they learned that they don't seem to fit anywhere and therefore they have "blown it" by even losing themselves.