49 of 50 people found the following review helpful
on 19 January 2004
This is a great movie! First of all it stars Singer Songwriter James Taylor an Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson in their first and only acting roles. They are two drifters who race their Ol' 55 Chevy for money. Warren Oates stars and steals the show as the driver of a Pontiac GTO who races them across the backroads of america for "Pinks"(car docs) picking up various weirdos on the way. They pick up a (Laurie) "Bird" who joins them for a ride. You never really know what's going on or what might happen next and the film does have an abrupt ending. This can all be explained in the director voice over option. It's a shame this appears to be in short supply. Maybe get it from amazon.com. It's a classic buy it! IMPORTANT I can only play this on my PC dvd player and not on my multi-region DVD player for some reason(maybe my dvd player isn't too hot)
83 of 86 people found the following review helpful
on 22 January 2007
Read the comments on the IMDB site and you'll find plenty of people who obviously watched it thinking they were getting another "American Graffiti" or 1971 version of "The Fast And The Furious" and came away hugely disappointed - little action, monosyllabic and underplayed acting, no real story and a strange unsatisfying ending. But it's all those things that make the film so wonderful! It's a perfect late 60s/early 70s road movie. Two guys who just drive about in a 1955 Chevy (so stripped that it doesn't even have a paint job) challenging local hotshots to street drag races until they bump into a strange bullshitter who challenges them to race across the US, and off they go. James Taylor and Dennis Wilson beautifully underplay their parts. They just exist to race and so anything else, talk included, is really superfluous. A girl hitcher gets picked up at one point and ends up walking away from the pair of them obviously bemused and somewhat pissed off that despite her attempts to make one jealous of the other they really just don't care about her. And you get all the talk you need from the wonderful Warren Oates, who plays the GTO driver brilliantly - the character's just too old to have `gotten' the sixties and knows they he's missed something. Every hitcher he picks up as he races across the country gets told a different story, and his sense of jealousy for what he thinks Taylor and Wilson has is palpable. It's beautifully shot and proceeds at a langorous, leisurely pace. The ending is what one can only describe at "cinematic". If you want thrills-and-spills then give it a miss. If you want to see a cult gem, one of the coolest films ever made, check it out. I first saw it twenty odd years ago and it became my favourite film; the nice thing is, twenty odd years later it still is.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 8 April 2010
This movie came out when I was at art school. Easy Rider had set the scene for road movies of this era and Bullet's car chase sequence had given us an unforgetable taste of American Muscle Cars. Vanishing Point was THE (?) big road movie of 1971 and Amercian Graphitti was still in the making. One of my lecturers had actually done the car ferrying across the States that is the initial motive for Barry Newmans character in Vanishing Point and had spotted the screenplay for Two Lane Blacktop in Esquire magazine. I read it and was hooked by it's imagery. When the film was released the two leads seemed perfectly cast and the locations and characters were exactly as I'd imagined they would be. The world of back road America away from all that was modern and the roar of the freeways was perfect for this "new Easy Rider" as Esquire had dubbed it. It wasn't Easy Rider "the sequel" but it had the concept of drifting and following your next whim. Warren Oates character provided "the bread head" and a contrast with their aimless wandering as well as most of the films understated humour. This is not an action film. As other reviewers have suggested it is a thoughtful, thought provoking film, set in the world of back roads America that I'm sure will stick in your memory as it has for mine ....for 39 years now!
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 31 January 2012
Often cited along with Easy Rider as an example of 60s counter culture film making, Two Lane Blacktop is really a very different kind of movie. Easy Rider is about the pop culture of the late 1960s and the idea of the romantic outsider on a quest. Two Lane Blacktop is far odder and far more timeless.
To me what this film does is capture the mesmerizing almost hallucinogenic rootless quality of travelling. It's like being in the passenger seat on a long journey with nothing to do but observe the shifts in the landscape. It should be deathly dull, but it isn't. It's hypnotic.
The race between the Driver (James Taylor), the Mechanic (Dennis Wilson) and GTO (Warren Oates) is simply a meaningless gesture, a theoretical destination on an infinite map. The girl ( Laurie Bird) is a self invented muse, almost like ghost on the highway. She's not really interested in the male characters and they are not really interested in her beyond the belief they all seem to share that at some level cars and girls seem right.
Two Lane Blacktop is a truly fascinating film and the ending is perfect. Who care who won the race, it was just a race.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 1 July 2009
This is a film where nothing happens, except right at the end, when nothing happens. Dialogue is minimal. Acting is underplayed, and several of the stars are "non-actors" (whatever that means). The tone is nihilistic - although I should point out that no-one dies, and nothing particularly bad happens. Yet despite all that, it's watchable and engaging.
This re-defined for me what film making can be. It's not like anything else I've seen (including films made after it), although directors like Jarmusch obviously share some of Hellman's values.
It was on my "must see before I die" list for years, and I was prepared for it to fail to meet the hype. In fact, I think it far exceeds it: a classic, a milestone, a must for everyone with a serious interest (whatever that is) in film.
32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on 25 January 2007
This is THE film that for me defines the "Road Movie" genre. This is a window into endless days and roads, there's no particular start or end, just stark, listless and sometimes uncomfortable punctuation on the way to nowhere. It also protrays the cultural no-mans land of the post hippie period perfectly, the half bitten relationships between the main players, lacking sentiment so profuondly that the saccarin smiles that would fill the cinema later in this decade seem like grotesque parade floats. This film is mesmerising, once seen you can't forget it, it took me a long time (and a lot of money) to get it on import, here it is, easy!
43 of 46 people found the following review helpful
on 8 August 2006
I've been waiting for this to be re-released in this country for years. I remember seeing it a couple of times on TV. For anyone who's into this period of American movie making this can be considered a classic. For anyone who's interested in James Taylors' career it's very interesting to watch. Why it's taken until 2006 to get a release seems strange, although I expect it'll only appeal to niche markets and true movie lovers unless there's some promotion. Shame.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 10 April 2009
I saw this in my teens and then 20 years later - I loved it both times, and now i appreciate why i loved it as a teenager.
I think the reviews miss the point of this movie - I dont care about cars at all - formula 1 leaves me bored - this is a movie about the lack of anything permanent in our lives, its about how actually between being born and then dying there isnt a lot that happens (we think that a lot happens). This feeling is reflected today by the stockbrocker who's just got his bonus and gets drunk and winding up alone in the streets at 5am, to the abandoned or abused girlfriend, to the teenagers who think they know there is no purpose in life, to middle aged men who find they've got nothing at all left to look forward to. But most of all it says that maybe happiness is about the open road, about having nowhere to go, no goals, no deadlines, no hated job to commute to. Thats what I love about the movie, it tells me that maybe we should have all become gypsies instead of settling down.
I would say its nearest relation is "The Loveless" with William Dafoe.
A previous reviewer slammed the actors. I think the actors do a great job because the point their characters are portraying is that there's no reason to talk much - or that talking is a waste of time. And indeed as a message its good that at least 1 movie tries its best to portray this. So the actors get a very sparse script that is almost not there. Would Russell Crowe and Ashton Kutcher do any better, i think not.
I'm talking to much, the point is that Two Lane Black Top is one of those films that you can only discover by accident, and once you discover it, you will feel great you did.
Whatever happened to GTO? That would be a sequel.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The title says it all.A stripped down,lean existentialist movie.Two cars race each other to Washington DC.But it's the journey rather than the destination or arrival that's important.The Driver and the mechanic,James Taylor and Dennis Wilson speak little dialogue but you see them a lot as they set themselves up as the Best taking on all other road racers usually on race tracks.They pick up a girl who hitches with them.Warren Oates provides the main competition and charismatic core of the film.He coninually talks and hustles and competes even for the girl.They develop a kind of respect and camaraderie with the older man , a spirit of the open road while still competing with him,the younger musicians become a foil to his superb acting master class.GTO(Oates) picks up different hitch hikers,subtly changing his story about his destination with each one,the troupers,the hippy,the molester,the old lady.His at one point gets stopped by police for speeding but carries on.
There are frequent stops for petrol,drinks etc. The randomness and gritty flavour of the road is real.The young girl hops off with a biker after having fired all the competitors up.This film has acquired a cult status due to being out of circulation for 30 years and also because of its undiminished excellence.At the end the celluloid seems to burn up summing up the whole philosophy of the film.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 26 July 2011
this sits deservidly in my all time top ten movies!!! it puts you in a time where any man could have muscle and mpg just did'nt matter. its gentle and laid back and alot of people won't get it which probly makes me love it even more. if your a fan of the fast and furious movies this movie is NOT for you. i would call this a love story, the love of a car and a lifestyle which sadly would be impossible to pursue in todays world. theres no guns, helecoptors or fanfares..... god bless this movie!!!