• Monte Hellman’s Two-Lane Blacktop would make for a great double billing with Dennis Hopper’s 1969 film Easy Rider.
  • This low budget road trip film stars good-looking, long-haired musicians-  James Taylor as “The Driver” and Dennis Wilson as “The Mechanic” who pair up with “The Girl” (Laurie Bird) as they roam around rather aimlessly racing cars for “bread”. Much of this is just the open road, the vacant but cool stare from the models. The only professional among the four leads is Warren Oates (24-minutes into the 102-minute film before he gets any dialogue) as the chatty “GTO”. GTO talks because he has a false confidence about him. This is a solid performance from Oates. “Everything fell apart on me: my family, my job”. “If I’m not grounded pretty soon, I’m gonna go into orbit.”
  • Taylor’s inexperience only betrays him once or twice when he says “I like it that way” to Bird’s character.
  • Harry Dean Stanton has a small role a hitchhiker
  • Atmospheric, stoic bravado and car culture. Cheeseburgers and cokes and the open road- very American.
  • Like Easy Rider there is paranoia when the travelers head to the south. Bird singing the Rolling Stones “Satisfaction” as a sort of youth-era anthem. The Doors, “Me and Bobby McGee” from Kris Kristofferson, The race isn’t really a race, and they all lose the girl they’re going for. This is a statement film on a specific time in history.
  • Hellman’s pet project after making low budget westerns Ride in the Whirlwind and The Shooting (both 1966) for Roger Corman

Hellman makes the marvelous decision to dissolve the film stock to end the film- a daring formal choice tied to content

  • Recommend but not in the top 10 of 1971