Two-Lane Blacktop (1971)

“… no beginning … no end … no speed limit!” An offbeat, existential road movie directed by Monte Hellman (The Shooting), Two-Lane Blacktop was billed as “The Far-Out World of the High Speed Scene!” The film stars Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson as “The Mechanic,” singer-songwriter James Taylor (“Fire and Rain”) as “The Driver,” Warren Oates as “GTO,” Laurie Bird as “The Girl” and Harry Dean Stanton as a gay Oklahoma hitchhiker. The plot (such that it is!) involves two street racers who live on the road in a souped-up 1955 Chevy 150, traveling from town to town and challenging local residents to races. In fact racing is ALL these total car freaks care about! The film features a number of great songs such as “Moonlight Drive” by The Doors, “Me and Bobby McGee” by Kris Kristofferson and “Stealin’” by Arlo Guthrie. Ironically, neither Taylor nor Wilson contributed to the film’s soundtrack. Bruce Dern reportedly turned down the role of “The Driver.” Two-Lane Blacktop was the only film either Wilson or Taylor ever acted in. Warren Oates superfan “Dino P.” comments, “As an existential road movie from the early 70s, I rank this one right up there with Vanishing Point and Electra Glide in Blue. What the hell ever happened to Warren Oates? Best character actor ever!”

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