Not surprisingly, Bowser's film can't quite match Peter Biskind's controversial book in terms of interview support - Coppola, Scorsese and Spielberg weren't returning phone calls this time - but still, it's surprising how many moviemakers stood up to shoot the shit about the great films made in the 1970s, and what went wrong (they include Schrader, Kidder and Dreyfuss, none of whom came out of Biskind smelling sweet). The first half of the documentary is the strongest, sketching in the powerful socio-political currents which allowed the Movie Brats in, when 'hip young audiences were either at art cinemas or drive-ins,' as the narration has it. Of course the drive-in mentality was to win out. Like the book, the film goes astray to take in as much gossip as possible. Do we really need to quite so much about the Bogdanovich-Shepherd affair? The thesis is veneered with a hypocritical, moralistic tone: these film-makers burnt themselves out on drink and drugs. The reality, of course, was more complicated. The moneymen were quick to reassert their authority, and neither Biskind nor Bowser stops to ponder the links between a liberated lifestyle and creative expression. It's only in the copious DVD extras - in effect, 90 minutes of additional interview footage - that Tewkesbury hints at the natural euphoria of a time when the industry welcomed film-makers' energy, instead of crushing it. This additional material (arranged on auteurist lines) is in many ways more interesting than the documentary, and makes the DVD a useful addendum to the book. And it even allows Schrader and Hopper a much-merited right of reply.
Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: How the Sex, Drugs and Rock 'n' Roll Generation Saved Hollywood
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||Kenneth Bowser, Peter Biskind|
Stanley R Jaffe
William H Macy
David V Picker
Albert S Ruddy