Old 10-01-2001, 08:47 PM
Video Capsule: "The Straight Story" 10/10

The Straight Story
Director: David Lynch
Cast: Richard Farnsworth, Sissy Spacek, Everett McGill, Harry Dean Stanton.
G/ 1999/ 113 minutes.

In a rather good performance, Richard Farnsworth plays Alvin Straight, a 79 year old man living in Iowa. He has nearly reached the end of his time. His body is slowly quitting on him. His hips don’t work very well. His eyesight is poor and he isn’t able to drive a car. His wife past away a few years back and he lives with his daughter (Spacek), who has a speech impediment. His life is as normal as any other aging man in the Midwest. His little brother Lyle, lives in Wisconsin and has recently suffered a stroke. But, Alvin hasn’t seen him in ten years.

“Story’s as old as the bible. Cain and Abel. Anger, vanity, you mix that together with liquor, and you get two brothers that haven’t spoken in ten years.” –Alvin

Alvin decides that it is time to put childish things away and move on. This, however, includes visiting his brother, who lives 300 miles away. In the only way that is suitable to his stubborn nature, he decides to journey by using his John Deere tractor.

This is one of the simplest set-ups I have ever heard for a movie. I expected cliché’s; I expected corny dialogue; I expected it to be predictable. Yes, even for a David Lynch movie. But it was not what I got in return, and I was surprised. At a time like now with a nation still mourning after almost two weeks time, it is nice to sit down and watch a movie that increases your faith in the decency of people. Good folks are still around and that is good to know.

David Lynch does a complete 360 from his last film Lost Highway. If there is a director who can make a great R rated film, turn around and make a great G rated one, is nonetheless a great director. Stanley Kubrick sort of did that with “2001” and “Clockwork”. Though not entirely as those films had identical themes whereas Lynch’s films carry different meanings. This is, of course a result of his incredible range as a director. Any director who can almost perfectly make two films that are entirely different from each other is just fine in my book.

Everyone will die someday, it just happens to differ from person to person. Alvin knows that, but he doesn’t want to die knowing there were problems in his life left unsettled. The problem is, of course, his relationship between him and his brother. He is a stubborn man from a generation that is nearly gone. The right time has come in his life to fix his problems. Knowing it is never too late to fix his mistakes.

This is a special story. A story that could’ve only been told with the utmost bit of care. Lynch took this into mind, without resorting to cliché. The cinematography is absolutely beautiful. He uses many wide shots to show the enormity of the road trip and adds mellow sounding guitar music in the background. Music and cinematography can make or break a film, and it works just fine. It is a rarity to see a G-rated film that doesn’t make me feel like I’m watching… a G-rated movie. Adults will definitely appreciate this one more than kids will. It has a brain and there is much to be said from this ancient farmer. I’m amazing at what filmmakers can accomplish without going into “R” territory. Nonetheless, the entire film put a big smile on my face. I LOVED this movie. 10/10

[This message has been edited by Fergus (edited 10-01-2001).]
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Old 10-01-2001, 09:06 PM
I've been wanting to watch this movie off and on since it came out on video and your review has just convinced me. I'll trying rent or buy it in the next day or two and tell you what I thought.
Great review to Fergus.
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Old 10-06-2001, 03:55 AM
I haven't found the time to get around to watching this good-looking movie but I will eventually. It looks excellent I agree Philip, excellent review.
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Old 10-06-2001, 07:29 AM
This film gets a 8/10 from me. First off, it's amazing that David Lynch of all people directed this G-rated flick. As for the movie, it could be summed up in one word: cute. It's a cute story that's both funny and sweet, and a great family flick. Richard Farnsworth is excellent in it, I'm glad he got an Oscar nomination. My only big complaint about it is that the movie moved at the pace of the tractor: slow, slow, slow. Although it was tough for me to sit through, it's still a very good movie and you should do yourself a favor and rent it. Great review Fergus.
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Old 10-06-2001, 09:36 PM
A little bit of trivia: my friend's grandpa played two roles involved with THE STRAIGHT STORY. He was both Richard Farnsworth's lighting double, plus he played the farmer on the tractor Alvin Straight talked to near the end of the flick. A fella by the name of Ralph Feldhacker. That was the only reason my nearby theater even got THE STRAIGHT STORY, because Feldhacker lives in a town not too far from me.
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Old 10-07-2001, 12:39 AM
Interesting little tidbit of info. Now when I talk to someone about this movie, and say, "I know someone who knows this kid, who's grandpa was in THE STRAIGHT STORY." They'll never believe me.

But seriously, that's cool. My best friend's Grandpa does makeup for Redford, so, yeah, I know what it feels like to have connections.

Urban Legend and Philip, you guys gotta see this movie!
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Old 10-10-2001, 01:07 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Philip Marlowe:
I've been wanting to watch this movie off and on since it came out on video and your review has just convinced me. I'll trying rent or buy it in the next day or two and tell you what I thought.
Great review to Fergus.
I really injoy this movie I just finish watching it. it made me feel good I think Richard Farnsworth should have won the oscar he was just so good helping people on his way of traveles and things becoming more clearer for himself as well A great movie all around. Thanks agian Fergus


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Old 10-10-2001, 07:32 PM
***SPOILER*** (you don't want to piss of a guy who calls himself "Heart Collector"!)

I'm glad you liked it Philip. The ending surprised me, I must say, I thought they would actually reminisce about old times or something, but instead, it ended Lyle asking his brother if he rode in on the tractor with the tear in his eye. And Alvin replying with a yes, and then ending the movie. Wow. your welcome.

[This message has been edited by Ender (edited 10-11-2001).]
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Old 10-11-2001, 08:52 AM
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