Drive, He Said

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Comedy/Drama, USA, 1971, 90 min.

Synopsis Ohio University basketball star Hector Bloom is leading his team to another victory when his roommate Gabriel stages a mock raid in the arena with his guerrilla-styled revolutionary friends. As Gabriel and the others are taken into custody, Hector proclaims it a successful "happening," but is reluctant to join Gabriel's political efforts. Instead, Hector spends his free hours making love to Olive Calvin, wife of college professor Richard. Days after his release, Gabriel is scheduled to appear at an army medical evaluation for induction into the military and attempts to disqualify himself by doing drugs and going days without sleep before the exam. Convinced that he is living in a "diseased culture," Gabriel chastises Hector for playing basketball, stating that it is "just staying after school in your underwear," and insists that the older Olive is distracting him from real political change. When Hector plays poorly at practice later, Coach Bullion orders him to run laps as punishment, prompting Hector to walk out of practice. Hours later, Olive asks Hector to be monogamous, but he snidely reminds her that she is still sleeping with her husband, who knows about their affair. When Hector then proclaims his love for her, Olive is indifferent to him. After an out-of-town game, Bullion visits Hector and his teammate, Easly Jefferson, at their hotel room to encourage them to put more effort into the game, but finds that the men are getting high with three young women and Gabriel, who is trying to convince them to join his revolutionary cause. After several outbursts of crazy antics during his military medical evaluation later, Gabriel physically attacks the attending psychiatrist and yells that he and all those soldiers conducting the exams should be condemned for assisting the government in sending men to war. Soon after, Hector watches as an increasingly paranoid Gabriel packs his belongings and leaves the apartment, claiming that the military are following him. Hector then meets with the owner of a professional basketball team to negotiate a player's contract. Wary of any "draft," even an athletic one and still struggling with whether to continue playing, Hector makes the absurd condition that the team provide better hot dogs at half the price for the audience. At the next game, Hector is thrown out for fighting on the court, prompting Bullion to publicly ridicule him. Later at the Calvin house, Hector attempts to seek solace and sex with a reluctant Olive, but Richard returns home. Having seen the game and Hector's outburst, Richard advises him to continue playing; however, Olive, weary of both men, advises Hector to quit complaining and blatantly states that Richard is only envious of Hector's youth. Days later at his girl friend Sylvie's apartment, Gabriel deliriously rants about being sterilized by the government and then smashes everything in sight, terrifying Sylvie. Meanwhile, Hector returns to the team after having missed several practices, and Bullion insists the players must vote whether he can return. Furious that he is not immediately accepted, Hector storms out, but Easly chases after him, trying to soothe his fragile ego. Caught between his athletic ambitions and his desire to make some revolutionary change, Hector declines from making any choice. Accidentally meeting Olive in the grocery store, Hector learns that she is pregnant. When Olive refuses to name the father of the child and states that she will remain with Richard, an infuriated Hector announces he has gonorrhea. While Gabriel sleeps outside in cold weather to avoid the demons he imagines are chasing him, Hector rejoins the team with Easly's encouragement. During a televised interview before the next game, Easly tells the audience that far from being inspired by "old-fashioned glory," he plays the game for the money. Meanwhile, Gabriel, having focused his anger on Olive, breaks into her home wearing a stocking mask and attempts to rape her at knife point. Fearing for her life, Olive tries to placate Gabriel and win some time by telling him that he is "right" to be angry at her, then manages to flee the house when he loosens his grip. Richard and Hector arrive just as Olive runs from the house and they watch as Gabriel rants that Olive is using sex to coerce Hector. After Hector flees, both men attempt to comfort Olive and offer to take her with them, but she rejects them both, saying that she is her "own person." The next day, Gabriel, having gone completely mad, runs nude into the college's biology lab and sets loose all the lab animals. As mental health workers escort him to a paddy wagon headed for a mental ward, Hector runs after his friend shouting, "Your mother called."

Directed by Jack Nicholson  

Starring William Tepper, Karen Black, Michael Margotta, Bruce Dern, Robert Towne, more...

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