"Mr. Trask, it's awful not to be loved."
I'd never seen a James Dean movie until Giant, where he played a down-on-his-luck guy who was terribly, terribly handsome. And I don't know if all James Dean movies are like this (because I've only got two under my belt now), but East of Eden was no exception to this typecasting. He's boyish, rebellious, sexy—and there's something peculiar about the man's body language and flow; I think it's part of his angst thing, but it's quite comical. I feel like Paul Rudd was channelling James during this Wet Hot American Summer scene.
Regardless, the movie is about a young man who thinks he's a total failure, but, really, just wants to do right (or rather, be loved). His brother's childhood sweetheart sees the good in him and tries to nurture it even though his father and brother can't see past the shenanigans—which are all good-hearted and innocent actually. It's set during the period leading up to America's entry into World War I; The father looses money on a business endeavor, the brother dodges the draft, and much tension festers in their small town. It's a story of Cain and Abel and of a paradise lost with accents of James Dean pouting and flailing his limbs.