Friday, February 17, 2017

200 Items Or Less: Two-Lane Blacktop (1971)

A few thoughts: A slow, meandering road movie fairly similar in tone to Easy Rider, this is the kind of movie that feels like a genuine representation of a very specific time and place. The acting is largely understated and underwhelming, with the exception of Warren Oates, who brings a sort of used car salesman swagger to his role. A big-talking loudmouth of a man with nothing important to say, he makes for an interesting foil to the quieter competing gearhead played by singer-songwriter James Taylor. There's an admirable simplicity to this movie, as it seems to understand its subject and feels perfectly content with simply existing as a window to this point in time. As for the overall effect, the film captures a mood and does so in such an informal way, it never seems to realize how to handle more than a very loose narrative. It doesn't have much of an ending, nor does it start off in a traditional manner. It simply is and then isn't, with very little sense of emotional urgency or dramatic tension -- and that's sort of the point.


Who would I recommend it to? Fans of existential American road films from the late '60s and early '70s. Vanishing Point, Electra Glide In Blue, Easy Rider...and this.

My grade: B-

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