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4.2 out of 5 stars
Two-Lane Blacktop
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 22, 2009
this re make is done very well, the picture quality is very good. the sound is ,understandably not much better than the original, as it was shot quickly, and
the lead actors mumbling would be difficult to improve upon, . This really is about the cars and the era of aimless wandering and teenage hitchikers, so
viewed in that light it's very enjoyable, as is the added background material.
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on December 28, 2000
James Taylor and Dennis Wilson star in an interesting low-budget movie about outlaw drag racers traveling the United States. They scratch out a living and get their thrills suckering local street racers into risky high-stake drag races on backcountry two-lane roads. Taylor is the "Driver" and Wilson is the "Mechanic;" partner owners of a dingy-looking 1955 Chevy coupe packing formidable running gear, capable of blowing the doors off most challengers' hot rods in quarter-mile duels. The Driver and the Mechanic pick up the "Hitchhiker," played by Laurie Bird, and embark on a cross-country race with "GTO," played by Warren Oats, an eccentric adventurer driving a factory Pontiac GTO. While the story is interesting, Taylor's, Wilson's and Bird's performances are stoic to say the least. The late Warren Oates however, turns in an excellent performance as a character going through his mid-life crisis, spinning far fetched tales to hitchers he picks up along the highways. The movie conjures up a parallel to "Easy Rider" with several people traveling across the country and taking each day as it comes with no identifiable goals in their lives. In the end there are no surprises, the story portrays a unique event in the lives of four people for a short period of several days. Car enthusiasts will appreciate the portrayal of outlaw drag racing in this movie with no gimmicky tricks or special effects, just good old 1970's muscle car madness with huge V8 engines and gutsy driving.
Since the late 1970's, this movie could only be caught on late-night TV broadcasts if a viewer paid close attention to program guides. Two Lane Blacktop recently gained cult status with its outlaw drag racing story and the fact that this is the only movie featuring singer-composer James Taylor and the late "Beach Boys" Dennis Wilson, as well as the remarkable performance by Warren Oates. Another interesting tidbit is the 1955 Chevrolet sedan in this movie that also served as Harrison Ford's ride in "American Graffiti." The DVD edition is a treat with the imagery, screen format and several deleted scenes restored to original 1971 specifications.
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on October 16, 2000
When I decided to purchase this DVD, I was just attracted by the name of the director of TWO-LANE BLACKTOP, Monte Hellman, who directed two excellent westerns in the sixties. I didn't know at all this movie and expected the worse. God ! How was I wrong ! TWO-LANE BLACKTOP is a divine surprise for those who, like me, long for titles of the quality of the american movies of the 70's.
Two pop stars of that period, James Taylor and Dennis Wilson (Brian's brother), as the driver and the mechanic, race against Warren Oates in a journey through the heart of America. While Taylor and Wilson hardly speak, Warren Oates has a convulsive need to talk to the numerous hitch-hikers he accepts to take for a ride in his GTO.
TWO-LANE BLACKTOP is a road movie, in the tradition of EASY RIDER and THE VANISHING POINT, but the characters don't have to prove anything, they don't even care if they make it to their final destination, Washington D.C. They cannot either be considered as rebels because they don't have an ideal to defend or an authority to face. They are tragic figures without any ideals.
The DVD presented by Anchor BAY is sumptuous with top-notch images and sound ( vraoum, vraoum...). A trailer, a commentary and a very informative featurette about Monte Hellman directed by George Hickenlooper.
A DVD for the road.
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on February 4, 2000
Two Lane Blacktop is one of those movies that you hear about long before you see it. It seems that while every car guy I have ever run across has heard of Two Lane Blacktop, few have ever seen it. Like Vanishing Point, it examines on some level the disillusionment that came at the close of the 1960's. It is a movie about outsiders; those that choose to be and those that desperately do not wish to be. The one thread that ties them together is the road.
For a true gearhead, Two Lane Blacktop is a joy. To see all of the legendary sixties muscle cars in their natural environment.....it calls to mind a tradition of (illegal) street racing that still exists today, for better or worse. Anyone who has seen it or done it will instantly be pulled into the movie. Of course, the quintessential gray primer 55 Chevy, an unbeatable home-built street warrior, is the true hero of the film.
You don't see this movie for the dialogue and there isn't a lot of it. Some of the gearhead lingo is kind of lame, like where the gas station attendant asks the Driver (James Taylor) if the 55 Chevy has a "Chevy block." No duh. Don't worry about it. That isn't why you are watching it.
This movie is a time machine. As a 38 year old, I vividly remember those days and those cars, but through the eyes of an eight year old with Hot Wheels cars and a Dad that drove four door sedans (still does). I always wanted (and now have) fast cars. Seeing this movie for the first time 20 years ago poured even more fuel on the flame. Getting the opportunity to see it has always been an elusive pleasure, because it has been broadcast so rarely, and then often edited. This past Christmas, my girlfriend got me a copy in the collector's tin. I have watched it several times since, sometimes very loud. The movie has a deep texture, maybe even more so than Easy Rider, from which comparisons can be drawn. You aren't watching the people alone in this movie, however. Rather, you are taking in everything that is in it. The wide screen format is only way to go. If only you could smell the fuel, the oil and the burning rubber while you watch it. Every car guy has to have this video, along with Vanishing Point and Bullitt.
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on September 2, 2003
I finally saw this last night after having heard so much about it. Yes, "Two-Lane Blacktop" is a slow-moving film, but its essence is very soothing. Perhaps it's the quiet of the open road or the quaintness of the small-town gas stations and diners. Or maybe it's that the simplicity of the protagonists' lives points to a simpler era.
"Two-Lane Blacktop" makes me think of Jack Kerouac's "On the Road."
The acting of the two leads is stale, but their good looks make up for it. You could almost feel the Girl's wanderlust; her character is admirable for rejecting convention in search of a larger life. G.T.O. is obviously in need of pyschiatric help, but the hitchhikers he picks up are fascinating. (It's a bonus that Harry Dean Stanton is one of them.)
See "Two-Lane Blacktop" if you just want to peacefully zone out for a couple of hours.
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on May 10, 2002
This film brings back good memories of my days in High School in the early '70's. I had a '67 Goat and my best friend and his brother both had hopped up '55 Chevy's. It seems a bit odd that the "Driver" had little if any interest in his vehicle. He was too busy being laid-back. When asked what type of tranny he had, he said "a four speed" rather than "Borg Warner T-10 Rock Crusher", or such. As far as racing cross country, his engine would be screaming at 70mph as the rear end would be 4:11's or so. Plus, I kept thinking that he should put air filters on the dual quadrajets, especially when spinning around in the dirt. Fun movie though. It kept my interest. Warren Oates played his part well. A real dweeb. Never really figured him out, or the other characters for that matter. If you like this type of movie you must also check out "Vanishing Point".
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on December 10, 1999
I hadn't seen this film for over a decade but jumped at a copy when I saw it re-released in video. With the hot cars that are on screen almost every second, the nameless, unsympathetic characters and naturalistic dialogue and acting, it is a film that would never be produced today. Yet the the obsessions of the main characters make it a timeless study of man's connections to possessions, competition, and the camraderie of people with common interests. Warren Oates' character is incredible and absolutely unique in that he constantly talks about himself and yet we know virtually nothing about him at the end of the movie because of his compulsive lying. The hippy chick character (is she, maybe, 14 years old?) places the film culturally in the early 70s, but the gear heads could be from the 1950s or the 1990s. A movie about cars, that is as much about the people that drive them.
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on May 10, 2002
This pre-oil-embargo film brings back good memories of my days in High School in the early '70's. I had a '67 Goat and a friend and his brother both had hopped up '55 Chevy's. It seems a bit odd that the "Driver" had little if any interest in his vehicle. He was too busy being laid-back. When asked what type of tranny he had, he said "a four speed" rather than "Borg Warner T-10" or "Muncie Rock Crusher", or such. As far as racing cross country, his engine would be screaming at 70mph as the rear end would be 4:11's or so. Plus, I kept thinking that he should put air filters on the dual quadrajets, especially when spinning around in the dirt. Fun movie though. It kept my interest. Warren Oates played his part well. A real dweeb. Never really figured him out, or the other characters for that matter. If you like this type of movie you must also check out "Vanishing Point".
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on March 5, 2000
Truely a muscle car masterpiece that takes the viewer to a time when life was simpler and gas cheaper.
The absence of dialogue between Dennis Wislon and James Taylor amplifies the true philosophy of racing. "No talking, concentrate on the engine." An example of this is when James Taylor tells Dennis Wislon to turn off the radio so he can hear the sound of the engine.
The drivers downfall of course is when he falls in love with the hitchhiker and his obsessions are no longer with the machine.
Having owned both a Pontiac GTO and several Mopars,the movie is very refreshing and exciting, comparable only to perhaps "Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry" and "Vanishing Point".
Note: This is the same 55 Chevy that Harrison Ford drives in American Graffiti.
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on January 5, 2002
This is mad max a realistic pre-cursor minus the apocalypse. The Girl is not taken away by a bad guy, rather the Boys are taken away by their obssession with their Hot Rod. The girl gives up as they go about the business of maintaining and racing it. Their foil is a man who is more showmanship than guts and axle grease. Together they do a long distance race for that ultimate stake, their own ride. The Foil tries to get the girl and fails purely on his own terms because the Boys Don't Care. This film gained a cult following because of its Zen-like quality, I suppose, and it probably inspired a lot more films of this genre that eventually culminated in the Dukes of Hazzard and Knight Rider and then fizzled as it lost its roots.
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