MovieChat Forums > Same Time, Next Year (1978) Discussion > The 'hippie' scene was horrible!

The 'hippie' scene was horrible!


I wasn't buying it. They see each other every year but one year she she shows up transformed into some Berkeley attending, war protesting, uncharactersitically swearing, hippie. An Alan Alda suddenly Mr Uptight Establishment. Not buying it. Worst scene in the movie.

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I would have to admit that this was the weakest scene in the film as well. I have to wonder if it might have worked if the roles had been reversed...if George had shown up as the hippie and Doris was the uptight Ms. Establishment, but now that I think about....no.

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I don't think it was that bad.

99% of the time a hero is someone who is too cold, tired & hungry to give a damn.

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The following scene did reverse their roles. He was the laid back, got his act together guy, and she was the hard working establishment type.

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I wouldn't agree that this scene was weak, especially the part where George finally confessed to Doris that his son had been killed while fighting in the war.

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I have to admit in the whole context of the movie I found this scene to be somewhat out of place. My wife and I were watching it together just last night and we both looked at one another in that "where did this come from" look. I thought the movie was VERY well acted, especially when you consider there are only two performers throughout to keep your interest. Never been a big Alda fan, but he was really good. The scene seemed like the original playright had to make certain that he got some of that Vietnam era Establishment/Hippie conflict into the movie. Seemed forced to me.
Just my opinion

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I didn't buy the hippie scene either. It's the only thing that held me back from giving this film a perfect 10. Ellen's character was a bit old to be carrying on like that, and the scene seemed to exist just so we could see them bickering. Otherwise, this was an excellent film.

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Yes, Ellen Burstyn is a remarkable actress who can pull off just about anything onscreen, but this hippie scene was probably the first time Burstyn didn't sell a scene to me.

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Ellen's character was a bit old to be carrying on like that

what, women aren't allowed to have mid-life crises? remember how young she was when she got married (because she was pregnant), she was simply 'sewing her wild oats' a few decades later than most, and, luckily for her, in an era where that was much more accepted (other than that she was still married)

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I can hardly believe what I'm reading. The 'hippie' scene is my favorite scene in my all-time favorite movie! I have no trouble believing Doris and George could change so drastically in one year's time. Just look at the changes that were taking place in this country during that period. It doesn't surprise me that a liberal like Doris would be transformed by attending college in Berkeley in the 60's. Many people were. Just look at the changes that took place in this country from 1961 to 1966. And UC Berkeley was one of the most liberal, anti-war campus's in the nation.
George's transformation is even easier to understand. The man lost his oldest child and favorite son in the Vietnam. He hasn't been able to grieve because he is trying to stay strong for his family. He and his family moved to Beverly Hills after his son was killed. He became a 'business manager' because there are a lot of people there who have a lot of money and don't know what to do with it. That sounds like a pretty conservative, establishment type of career to me. Remember the sentiment during the Vietman war: many people who lost loved ones in that war felt their loved ones had died in vain if the US lost the war and therefore opposed the war protesters agenda of withdrawal. (Not unlike the Iraq war today. I imagine there are many people who have lost someone in Iraq who will cheer when the President announces tonight that he's sending more troops).
Re: WarPedRecord's remarks: I thought the the argument over the war symbolized the great division that existed in this country at that time, with George as a hawk and Doris as a dove. Remember, both the hawks and the doves wanted to end the war, but they had polar opposite views on how to accomplish that feat. And as for Doris being 'a bit old to be carrying on like that'; I assume you mean dressing like a 'hippie' and attending demonstrations and protests. I had no trouble buying that either. But then, I'm a 50-something year old college student and anti-war protester who never really stopped dressing like a 'hippie', so I guess it was easier for me.
I think this is the most powerful scene in the movie. It's the only scene that is foreshadowed in a previous scene. In the first scene, when George and Doris are looking at pictures of each other's kid's, Doris asks George about a picture of Michael. She asks him, 'What's he want to be? Superman?' George answers, 'No, Peter Pan'. Michael was shot by a sniper as he was helping a wounded soldier onto a Red Cross helicopter (rescuing someone, as Superman so often does). (Even more heroic if he was there covering the war for the AP, who hired him 5 years earlier). But alas, he dies young and will never grow to a ripe old age. Although Michael was a young adult at the time, I'm sure you can see the symbolism of Peter Pan, the boy who never grew up. It's also the only scene that doesn't fade from Color to Black & White at the end. That was done because this is such a significant scene.

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I find it difficult to hate the hippie scene because I identified with Doris' character development. I started out pretty much the same as her from a young Catholic schoolgirl to a woman with strong ideas. Doris is no different from any other woman I know. I've always thought that us women have the natural tendency to be socially, politically, and culturally conscious as we mature. Thus, we tend to be a better reflection of the signs of the times (even in our clothes!).

With George, it is quite obvious that he is angry inside and wants to lash back on the soldiers that killed his son. He craves vindication and the only way he knows is to go to war so it perfectly natural for him to behave the way that he did.

IMHO, I saw the hippie scene as the pivotal moment in the story because after that both of them undergone some really dramatic changes.



People either love me or they hate me or they don't really care - Banksy

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Bravo, Eabradley-1. To dislike this scene or not understand it's inclusion is to miss the whole point of the movie. People change. If you are married you would be subject to the same influences and would develope the same attitudes, augmented by your closeness. However, if you are not together, you could very well develope contrasting opinions and attitudes. Because of their circumstances, I fully expect that these two would end up as they did. Lest we forget, this is a movie and their reactions would have to be a little over the top for better dramatic effect.

Not as good an explanation as Eabradley-1, but you get my point.

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One of the reasons this scene did not totally work is because they both seemed older than this in the prior scenes. By the time the Hippie scene comes up you would think they would be in their 50's.

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Hi,

I know I'm responding to this 3 years later then the op but here goes. I think in general the only issue I had with this movie was that we only saw them every 5 years but they saw each other every year. While it's easy to believe all that change in 5 year's time, it's harder to believe that these major events or changes always happened in the 5th year and not much else in between. I think you can chalk it up to artistic license, and unless we wanted to see a movie 5 times the length, that's the only way the story could be pulled off.

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It's been a while since I've seen the whole movie, but I believe the meetings the audience sees are about 5 years apart. So, the scenes we see show their drastic character development because we're not privy to those intervening years. And changes that significant can certainly occur over a 5 year span. (I had to remind myself of this when it seemed that Burstyn's character had "suddenly" become a successful business whiz). I don't think their characters only leap into change during the 5th year -- I think it's more of a process over those years -- but it seems disconcerting to us because we don't actually get to see that process.

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I thought the transformation was a bit hard to believe too, but then again both characters go through extreme transformations in this movie. Remember the segment (1972) after the hippie segment--George is the "hip" one and Doris is the uptight one. These changes were going on during the 60s and 70s, and George and Doris represented that. The scene where Alan Alda breaks down is probably the best acting he's ever done.

Dude means nice guy. Dude means a regular sort of person.

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For me, the impact upon hearing of George's son's death is just as emotionally devastating as some of the key moments in Robert Mulligan's other film's -- notably Tom Robinson's death in To Kill A Mockingbird and Dorothy's husband's death in WWII in Summer of '42. It's a great scene.

"What I don't understand is how we're going to stay alive this winter."

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Well, it's a play. You need drama and conflict as part of the plot. The story line would have gotten a bit tiresome if it showed them rushing into each other's arms, every 5 years, unchanged except for being older. The hippie scene was effective in showing how the changes they went through in life created conflict between them. But one thing never changed: their affection for each other.

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I felt that her "look" was more 1970-71 than 1966.

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I concur.

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