Easy Rider: The Ride Back Edition
As I’ve written here often, as a pop culture writer, I live for that giddy thrill of discovery that comes with finding something so terrible, so unforgivable and so lacking in shame and self-awareness that it becomes transcendent and must be shared with the world.
I felt some of that buzz recently reading and writing about How to Make Love to a Martian, hip hop super-groupie turned best-selling author and personality Karrine “Superhead” Steffans’ torrid memoir about her love affair with Lil Wayne. It’s the kind of juicy, fascinating hot garbage I was put on earth to write about.
I experienced that thrill of discovery in an unusually intense and pure and form when I discovered, to my shock, mortification and delight, that a creepy lawyer named Phil Pitzer that I accurately depicted as looking like a cross between a present-day Peter Fonda and a handsome tan leather recliner somehow made an official sequel to Easy Rider after somehow helping finagle the rights for himself and director Dustin Rikert.
The movie was a gift from the bad movie Gods. Its pleasures never cease, starting with narration that begins, "My name is Morgan Williams. I had a brother, Wyatt. He had this nickname: Captain America. Day after Mardi Gras, 1969, Wyatt and his best friend, Billy, were riding their bikes heading for Florida. The sky was crystal blue, just like 9/11. Wyatt died that day, the victim of hatred and prejudice, at the hands of those whose greatest fear is freedom, whether in the form of a nation or a single individual.”
You’d imagine that level of ripe, unforgettable, entertaining awfulness would be impossible to sustain over the length of a feature film. You would be wrong. Pitzer is ex-military and this is an insane vanity trip for an oblivious narcissist more than it is any kind of actual sequel to Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda’s counterculture classic, so now it’s mostly about how important it is to respect our nation’s veterans, for they truly are the righteous warriors who keep us safe. It’d be like some dude making a sequel to The Bicycle Thief in the 1970s all about how poor people are lazy and greedy and it’s actually the bosses who are the heroes and the job creators.
So I wrote about Easy Rider: The Ride Back for my “You Might Also Like” column at The Dissolve but I also reached out on social media and suggested that some of the titans of the bad movie-podcasting world—The Flop House, How Did This Get Made and We Hate Movies, cover it as well.And you know what? They did. The Flop House covered it the only way they know how: hilariously. So did We Hate Movies, also with delightful results. You know who else covered it? How Did This Get Made? It was given the business all over the place.
The story behind Easy Rider: The Ride Back is so fascinating and so intense that I almost want to write a satirical novel about it. There’s just so much ego and human folly. Pitzer is like a real-life version of a Jon Wurster character. Easy Rider: The Ride Back begs for that kind of comic treatment. Then again, knowing Pitzer, he’d probably figure out my novel was about him and then get the rights to not only my novel spoofing him but also all my other books as well.
Then, just to be an asshole, he’d make a crossover film combining characters from Easy Rider: The Ride Back and The Big Rewind that’d end with Captain America’s third cousin and the Nathan Rabin character sparking a doobie around a camp fire and giving long monologues reflecting Pitzer’s increasingly right-wing political beliefs about how, actually, what we really need is freedom from illegal immigrants and one-sided trade deals before chanting “Lock her up” and “Build a wall” while waving American flags. You know, in the spirit of Easy Rider.
So, maybe, unlike Pitzer, I should leave well enough alone.
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