As part of a series of car chase films playing through January at the IFC Center, this 1971 classic somehow stars North Carolina soft-rock king James Taylor and Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson. The musicians play two drifters who live on — and for — the road, stopping in small towns in their 1955 Chevy and challenging locals to street races. Less nihilistic than Easy Rider, the film was part of a wave of 1970s cinema that included Vanishing Point and White Line Fever, all films utilizing mechanized power as a form of justice and/or revenge. Without these movies, Quentin Tarantino wouldn’t have made Death Proof, his heart-stopping contribution to 2007’s Grindhouse. Plus, when would you have ever expected to see James Taylor challenge anyone to a drag race?
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