Two-Lane Blacktop (1971)

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Simple yet simply impenetrable, Two-Lane Blacktop is "all about image and performance". Guys like the driver and the mechanic are the only ones who understand what's under the hood. Hearing them rattle off various car parts is no less cryptic, or magic, than anything else they do or say.

Between the mother****in' automobile races, the two friends barely speak. They are fixated on the road and nothing else. They'd rather listen to it than the radio. Even after a win, they remain stoic, unaffected, mechanically recounting the results and the car's performance. Conversely, g.t.o. can't shut up. He's desperately searching for anybody along the road he can lie to or a tape he can pop in. He doesn't want a conversation either, not a real one anyway.

The little dialogue there is happens between core characters inside of their cars. The minor characters barely exist, merely garnish for the racetracks. One of the few introspective thoughts, g.t.o. drunkenly opening up, is cut short by the driver. "It's not my problem", he says coldly. Despite their differences, they're tied together. Their fixation on their rides, genuine or superficial, can't fulfill them. "If I'm not grounded pretty soon, I'm gonna go into orbit."

"The girl" is the only character not identified by something car related. Neither of the men say a word when she hops in their Chevy uninvited. She breaks the silence for them. Her character's role as an object of desire might feel like "sexism or somethin'", but it's not. She's the satisfaction she sings about. The rich, middle aged liar with the expensive car can't buy her. The good looking quiet types with the homegrown street-sweeper can't win her or win her over. She's temporary: here one minute and gone the next. "She's gonna burn you, man"

Riding off on a motorcycle, the hippie girl ends up where she belongs: with an Easy Rider headed back to the '60s.
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There is a school of thought that the late Warren Oates was robbed of an Oscar nomination for his performance here.
The Oscars are a pretty commercial institution. This is way too polarizing a film to draw that kind of support imo. He's the only person who really does any acting to speak of and it is pretty great.