Two-Lane Blacktop

1971

Drama

105
IMDb Rating 7.2 10 11,111

Synopsis


Downloaded times
December 12, 2020

Director

Cast

Harry Dean Stanton as Oklahoma Hitchhiker
James Taylor as The Driver
Warren Oates as G.T.O
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
941.1 MB
1280*720
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
102 min
P/S N/A / N/A
1.89 GB
1920×1080
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
102 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by howard.schumann 9 / 10 / 10

A poetic description of a world without possibilities

Long out of circulation because of disputes over music rights, Two-Lane Blacktop, now available on DVD, is one of the most original and compelling American movies of the twentieth century. It is a road movie, a film about cars, and a search for meaning in American life that could easily be called "Zen and the Art of Drag Racing". Shot from the inside of a car, it is an authentic vision of what it is like to be driving across America at a specific historical moment. Promoted by Universal Studios in 1971 as an answer to Columbia's Easy Rider, the film was originally released to less than enthusiastic audiences but has since taken on the status of cult classic and it is richly deserved. Unlike Easy Rider, it is a film that simply observes and what it sees is pure Americana: its people, gas stations, diners, and drag strips. We feel the claustrophobia, the spaces, the speed, and the loneliness. The film stars singers James Taylor (Fire and Rain) and Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys as taciturn drag races who drive their souped-up 1955 Chevy across the country challenging locals to a drag race. The main characters are drifters. They come from nowhere and are headed east, toward a destination that is murky at best. They are people whose reality begins and ends with their machines. Everyone talks about how good life can be -- somewhere else -- in New York, Chicago, the beaches of Florida, and the coast of Mexico, somewhere up the road apiece. Warren Oates, a Monte Hellman regular, turns in a truly outstanding performance as the driver of a Pontiac GTO who challenges Taylor and Wilson to a cross-country race, the prize being the ownership of the cars. GTO is a talkative fellow who concocts tall tales about his background to impress every hitchhiker he picks up (one is a gay cowboy played by Harry Dean Stanton). He is a sad and perhaps self-destructive individual but he is human and you can reach out to him and feel his pathos. First time actors Taylor and Wilson express little emotion and there is scant dialogue but they also seem right for their roles. Their total focus is on their car. Though the Chevy looks old and ugly, it is as powerful as any car on the road and the driver and the mechanic treat it like their own flesh and blood, constantly fine tuning to maintain its impeccable performance. They go from town to town, just trying to survive by racing. In the words of author John Banville, they "have no past, no foreseeable future, only the steady pulse of a changeless present". Along the way they pick up a cherubic young roadie (Laurie Bird) who is willing to go wherever the ride takes her. After each of the boys has sex with her in motel rooms and in the car, she becomes moody and resentful and fears that she is being used but has nowhere else to go. Though the main thrust of the plot is the race to Washington, DC, the focus seems to get lost along the way, and the film becomes more of a character study of the lack of human connection than about racing. The film looks for the soul of America in the early 1970s and comes up empty. It was released in 1971 at a time when the hopes and dreams of the '60s counter culture had given way to the disillusion of Kent State and Altamonte, the bombing of Cambodia, and the media's cynical preemption of the Hippie movement. The movie is about everything and nothing. Everyone is biding their time waiting for life to turn out rather than creating the possibility. Though they live for the moment there is no joy, only the gnawing reality of something missing. They are like many of us, skimming along on the surface of life, reminiscing about a goal that once seemed real but is now just out of reach. They look ahead to a blank future, while ignoring the life around them, what is in the present moment. Two-Lane Blacktop is an exceptionally beautiful film, a poetic description of a world without possibilities. It may also be the definitive statement of the anguish of the materialist paradigm that has begun to crumble and fall apart.

Reviewed by Krustallos 10 / 10 / 10

Straighter Story

In my view this is the best road movie ever made. Carping about the slow pace or minimal dialogue is like complaining Scorsese's movies are too violent or the Marx Brothers too zany. Like the car the two friends drive, this is an exercise in stripping things down to their essentials in search of authenticity. Like a Ramones song or an Edward Hopper painting there is absolutely nothing here that doesn't need to be. Warren Oates' character on the other hand is a study in inauthenticity. After visiting the US in the 80's and 90's with its malls and fast food chains (and indeed looking at the kind of product Hollywood churns out these days) it's clear that his kind won the race in the end. I've seen this on TV and in art cinemas a couple of times and I'm glad to hear I can now get the DVD. A true American classic.

Reviewed by wytshark 10 / 10 / 10

Example of what makes a movie great...

Problems with music rights have kept this film from being seen much since its release, which is a real shame. Recently, the Roan Group released a laserdisc version (not sure if there is a VHS or DVD version), which I rented on a total whim. It turned out to be one of those rare treasures that not only lives up to its hype--it exceeds it. Anyone who wants to know why so many of today's films are sub-par would do themselves a favor by exploring this title. The problem with movies today is that everything is so formulaic, characters (if any are present) are forced to react in completely illogical ways just so the plot can hit prefabricated beats. "Two Lane Blacktop" follows the characters and lets the plot flow from the dynamics between them. Add to that some really unique characters and what you end up with is a movie that's always coming at you from the most unexpected angles, and not one second of it feels false or forced. The writing, directing and acting are dead-on, with Warren Oates a stand-out (his performance should be studied by anyone who wants to act), and James Taylor surprisingly intense and charismatic. It should be noted that this is not an action movie, so don't go into it looking for suspense or great racing scenes. Rather, you should sit back and let this movie work its almost invisible magic on you. And don't be surprised if you're still thinking about it days later.

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