For Woodstock: The Five Lamest Hippies In The Movies
Forty years ago this weekend, hundreds of thousands of unkempt youngsters descended on the town of Bethel, NY for an advertised "three days of peace and music." Woodstock has since become etched into our country's history, not just for symbolizing the 1960s, but also for unleashing the continuing threat to our national security that is the hippie. Popularly maligned for their (lack of) hygiene and adherence to outdated values like peace and love, hippies take a particular beating in popular culture, as we can see by these dirty, dirty examples.
5. Ronnie "Z-Man" Barzell (John LaZar) -- Beyond the Valley of
the Dolls (1970)
Who came first? Z-Man or Phil Spector? Co-writer Roger Ebert based the outrageous record producer, who morphs from mere musical Svengali to murderous "Superwoman," on the notorious "Wall of Sound" pioneer. That makes Spector's recent murder conviction seem less like the inevitable outcome of years of instability and more like...destiny.
Spector didn't use a sword, however.
4. Scott and Ralph (Keifer Sutherland and Robert Downey, Jr.) --
Every time America marks the passage of another decade since the Woodstock Era, we have to immerse ourselves in nostalgia for our lost innocence. This is usually accomplished with a slew of commemorative movies and books reminding us of what a time it was, it was. Some efforts are less successful than others, including 1969, a semi-autobiographical effort from writer/director Ernest Thompson (On Golden Pond) that proves the old saying that just because you grew up during interesting times doesn't necessarily make you interesting.
3. The Stranger -- Easy Rider (1969)
Jesus, answer a direct question already, you weird bastard. And don't lecture the guys dragging your obtuse ass all over the Southwest about "politeness" when you're leading them to a commune full of headcases as almost as annoying as you.
2. Ian "Ray" Raymond (Tim Robbins) -- High Fidelity (2000)
It's all there: the smug tone, the maddeningly even-tempered demeanor (he works in conflict resolution, after all)...the ponytail. And the best part is that "Ray" doesn't just personify everything we've come to loathe about the Baby Boomers, but his scene with John Cusack allows the latter to continue his streak of somehow working kickboxing into every one of his movies.
1. Jenny (Robin Wright Penn) -- Forrest Gump (1994)
Jenny Curran embodies the hatred Gump's filmmakers obviously felt for the counterculture, showing everyone that the reward for straying far from the comforting confines of "Greenbow, ALABAMA" is physical abuse, drug addiction, disease, and death. Indeed, the only hippies we actually meet are the doomed Jenny and the SDS guy what beats on her. There's a representative sample for you.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Houston Press' biggest stories.