*NEED TO WATCH “TWO-LANE BLACKTOPI” BY MONTE HELLMAN*
FILM SYNOPSIS
Monte Hellman’s Two-Lane Blacktopis another kind of cult film, quite different from those we have seen. Instead of being camp, poor quality or generic, instead it is well made and artful, serious without being pretentious, and innovative. While many have found the film to be slow and boring (since little actually happens in terms of a plot), others have lauded the film as an artistic and unique take on the road film. There’s certainly a fair amount of paratext but all of it is in retrospect and concerns the deaths at relatively young ages of three of the four main actors (Bird was only 25 when she ended her own life, Wilson drowned when he was 38 and Oates died of a sudden heart attack in his early 50’s). Instead, Two-Lane Blacktopfalls into the category of “underappreciated when it came out”, a film that is considered a classic today, one of the defining films of its genre but was not popular when it was released
FILM QUESTION THAT NEEDS TO BE ANSWERED ON PAPER
Given what we’ve discussed and read about cult movies to this point in the semester, consider how Two-Lane Blacktopbecame a cult film. Instead of paratext and camp, what elements of the story, characters and themes make it available and amenable to cult film status? Why might audiences and critics have panned it in 1972, but admire it today?

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