Five Easy Pieces

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Jack Nicholson’s breakfast order in Five Easy Pieces is quite possibly the most famous in movie history. Released in 1970 at the very beginning of the New Hollywood era, Five Easy Pieces follows Robert Dupea, a foul tempered ex-piano prodigy who is forced to return to his upper class childhood home in Washington after years working in a California oil field.  Robert’s waitress girlfriend Rayette (Karen Black) spends most of the film dressed in her pink uniform despite her aspirations to become a famous country music singer. On the drive up to Washington, Robert and Rayette pick up two surly female hitchhikers and the group stops at a roadside diner for breakfast. The waitress refuses to accommodate Robert’s order of a omelet with tomatoes instead of potatoes and a side order of wheat toast, insisting the diner has a strict “no substitutions” policy. Instead of changing his order, Robert goes to great lengths to get the meal he desires, ordering a plain omelet and chicken salad sandwich, minus the chicken salad. After Robert suggests the waitress holds the unwanted chicken salad “between her knees,” she has a enough of the group’s “smartness and sarcasm” and kicks them out the restaurant, prompting Robert to angrily swipe the menus and glasses of water off the table before storming out in a rage. The diner scene was filmed on Greenwood Drive in Eugene, Oregon and is now a Denny’s.

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