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Askew Review 15

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TWO-LANE BLACKTOP (Anchor Bay) DVD. 1971. Gearhead drama. 103 minutes. Rated R.  Driving a ’55 Chevy, The Driver (James Taylor) and The Mechanic (Dennis Wilson) pick up some hippy chick and challenge the owner (Warren Oats) of a hyped out GTO to a race for pink slips. Along the way, the group engages in various forms of hijinx, help each other out, and even swap the hippy chick.
          OK, can someone please tell me what the purpose of this movie is? First off, you have no idea what the main characters are all about. No past or personal info is revealed. Not even names! The dialog is basically a scarce splatter of two or three word sentences about car junk. Horse power this and hemmy that. What the fuck is a hemmy anyway? This is supposedly James Taylor’s and Dennis Wilson’s (Beach Boys fame) only acting work, if you want to call it acting. Sitting in a car and staring isn’t really acting if you ask me. Laurie Bird, the hippy chick, committed suicide eight years later while living with Art Garfunkle. Yep, that’s the most interesting thing I got out of this movie. DVD includes commentary by director Monte Hellman and associate producer Gary Kurtz, theatrical trailer, and a featurette, American Auteur, directed by George Hickenlooper. Maybe car nuts/gearheads will enjoy all the car talk, but there is no story here…and what the hell is with that ending? – Denis Sheehan



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