Five Easy Pieces
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There are two types of Jack Nicholson performances: There’s “Jack!,” the flamboyant wild-man who shows up at the Oscars and in movies like The Shining, A Few Good Men, and As Good As It Gets. Then there’s the quieter, more inward-looking Nicholson, who appears less frequently but displays extraordinary depth in films like About Schmidt and Bob Rafelson’s Five Easy Pieces, an understated character study about a flawed man coming to terms with his past. While it’s true that “Jack!” makes an appearance in the film’s most famous scene—where his order for a chicken sandwich goes hilariously awry—he mostly keeps a low profile as a former piano prodigy from a wealthy family who has spent his disappointing adult life as an oil rigger.