REVIEWED
2/23/03

STORY



LOOK

Two-Lane Blacktop
Director: Monte Hellman
Year: 1971
TRT: 1:43


This is an odd one. Basically it's about some drifters and their fast cars. There's relatively little dialogue, and a couple of drag races that must be won in order for the two main characters to win cash to go on to the next race (credited as "the driver" and "the mechanic," played by James Taylor and Dennis Wilson respectively). They pick up a hitchhiker on their travels ("the girl"), and get into a competition for pink slips with another high-speed drifter in a GTO (played by the talkative Warren Oates [aka Sgt. Hulk from Stripes]).

I'd like to say it's any interesting look at this subculture of speed freaks, but the only highlight is the Warren character, and his penchant for telling hitchhikers he picks up some tall tales. So if you really dig muscle cars, you'll probably enjoy the movie. Otherwise, you have a sleepy drama without much drama, and a Doors tune. It's kinda like Easy Rider without the drugs. Or motorcycles. Or Jack Nicholson and Dennis Hopper.

DVD Notes: This movie was finally released for private consumption on DVD and video by Anchor Bay in 1999. It had been sitting idle for almost 30 years because of problems with copyrights of the music used in the film (kinda like Heavy Metal, but different). There are quite a few exras, including commentary with Hellman and associate producer Gary Kurtz, some extensive bios on the major players, and an interesting documentary titled Monte Hellman: American Auteur directed by George Hickenlooper that goes into his history of films and some funny clips with Harry Dean Stanton.