Two-Lane Blacktop | NC Museum of Art | Screen: Special Showings | Indy Week

Screen: Special Showings

Two-Lane Blacktop

When: Fri., Oct. 18, 8 p.m. 2013

In 1971, Esquire magazine made the unprecedented move of publishing Rudolph Wurlitzer's entire screenplay for Two- Lane Blacktop, declaring the film its pick for "movie of the year!" on the front cover. It was not. In fact, the film was unavailable on video until 1999, surviving in the meantime on occasional TV airings and occasional screenings in second-run theaters. But it built up a loyal cult (including Werner Herzog, who helped campaign for the video release) and was eventually recognized by the Library of Congress National Film Registry and the Criterion Collection, and credited as one of the inspirations for the real-life Cannonball Run. Not bad for a film about a couple of guys with no names, driving along Route 66.

There isn't a whole hell of a lot of plot to Blacktop, other than James Taylor and Beach Boy Dennis Wilson cruisin' the highway in a 1955 Chevy with a teen hitchhiker (Laurie Bird, who became involved with director Monte Hellman, and later Art Garfunkel, before her death in 1979) and racing against Warren Oates, an older fellow with a GTO and a propensity for self-aggrandizement. The result is existential and often very funny (look for Harry Dean Stanton in a hilarious scene as a hitchhiker who tries to help Oates "relax"). Also listen for the seldom-heard original version of "Me and Bobby McGee" by Kris Kristofferson on the soundtrack. N.C. State film studies professor Devin Orgeron introduces the screening. —Zack Smith

Price: $5 Museum members, students; $7 All others

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