This ’71 film could simply be described as an homage to guys behind the wheel. James Taylor plays the Driver. The Beach Boys’ Dennis Wilson is the Mechanic. Laurie Bird is the Girl. Together, they motor along Route 66 in their ’55 Chevy. Along the way they meet Warren Oates’s GTO and begin to race—with virtually no dialogue, no crazy editing to speed up the proceedings, and no danger or derring-do. Just driving, man. But Two-Lane Blacktop (and its makers) ran into a world of trouble. Although it was a critical favorite—Esquire even promoted it on the cover as its movie of the year—the film was a box-office bomb. Taylor and Wilson would never star in another movie. Bird defenestrated herself eight years later. And director Monte Hellman never made anything worth seeing again (e.g. Silent Night, Deadly Night 3).
November 13, 2007 by