Recently, I've become aware that certain films are able to transcend the medium by being completely self-assured in their atmospheres…
The Straight Story
"The Straight Story" chronicles a trip made by 73-year-old Alvin Straight from Laurens, Iowa, to Mt. Zion, Wisconsin, in 1994 while riding a lawn mower. The man undertook his strange journey to mend his relationship with his ill, estranged, 75-year-old brother Lyle.
There are twelve levels of cinematic emotionality. It goes like this, in order from least serious to holy shit bro, stop crying:
1. A slight clenching in the throat and behind the eyes.
2. Eye moisture.
3. Greater amounts of eye moisture.
4. Actual, honest-to-god, mobile tears.
5. Tears accompanied by a trembling of the lip.
6. So many tears that it becomes difficult to see.
7. Repressed whimpers.
9. Loud whimpers.
10. Full on bawling.
11. The Straight Story.
12. Shitting yourself to death.
Only three movie scenes in my life have ever actually made me cry. And when I say cry, I mean CRY. Like cry cry. I "cry" during movies all the time. But I…
Angelo Badalamenti's score swells with pure emotion. Similar to another brilliant and beautiful story, Paris, Texas, (there's way too many commas there) this is about a man on the path to redemption. Similar to that movie, this is a pure mannered, unmelodramatic weeper.
Little by little, this curious man is unpacked like a Russian doll. Across Iowa to Wisconsin, cornfields galore on his small lawn mower, we're truly in the midwest. And as the film unfolds, we're confronted with a man whose crippled old frame belies his brutal past: a past of war and alcoholism and brotherly love and loss and children reared amidst violence and tempers. It's almost unbearably close to home.
I think Forrest's stellar review sums it…
Film #89 of Project 90
”I'd give each one of 'em a stick and, one for each one of 'em, then I'd say, 'You break that.' Course they could real easy. Then I'd say, 'Tie them sticks in a bundle and try to break that.' Course they couldn't. Then I'd say, "That bundle... that's family."
David Lynch is famous for his mind-bending and surreal style and his special way of mixing reality and dream which eventually leads to nightmarish and perplexing experiences, but with this he shows that he has the ability to move out of his comfort zone and deliver something even more fascinating, and more amazingly he doesn't need anything special, just give him a stubborn old man…
Is it possible to give a film seven stars on here? Because it should be.
Fuck off, "Magnolia", this is my favorite movie now. Why? Because David Lynch. Because Richard Farnsworth. Because Angelo Badalamenti. Because Harry Dean Stanton. Because Sissy Spacek. Because dat soundtrack. Because dat emotion. Because dat "that's family" speech. Because dat fucking ending, holy shit.
THIS is how to make a movie, people. It's slow-moving but not boring. It's intensely emotional without being sappy or sentimental. It's well-directed, well-edited, and brilliantly acted. Richard Farnsworth deserves an enchanted longsword for the performance he gives here. My god. His face is like some sort of ever-changing, capricious elven forest. His face is like a "Magic: The Gathering" card.…
It is sometimes easy to forget what a versatile director Lynch really is as he lately only deals in vagueness and weirdness. The Straight Story is a gentle reminder of what Lynch is also capable of. Delving into a character and placing him into the real world through us, his viewers.
The title is far from a clever play on words but its ambiguity serves the film really well as this really is a simple story told in the straightest way imaginable by a director who can find the realness in a performance and a character, be they big or small. Just look at the faces of the people our hero encounters, they are real people, heck, look at our…
I've been going through some major life changes recently. I'm attending college, I'm becoming a full-fledged adult, and, for maybe the first time ever, I feel genuinely happy. I feel content and optimistic and hopeful about my life and the direction in which it's going. But there's one event that definitely takes the cake in terms of amazingness.
If any of you have been following me for long enough, you might remember an earlier review I did for this film. In it, I described how THE STRAIGHT STORY had become my inspiration for reconnecting with a friend who I treated like dogshit. Well, your long wait of bated breath is finally over, because I am here to tell you that…
After making three of the most violent, horrifying films of his career (WILD AT HEART, FIRE WALK WITH ME and LOST HIGHWAY), David Lynch crafted this heartwarming, G-rated Disney production, and it made me weep like a baby.
Straight out, The Straight Story is an amazing film. Even more amazing if one takes into account that it is directed by David Lynch.
Here, Lynch decides to demonstrate everyone that he is not only a man of weird oneiric fantasies, and that he can also take complete control of a "normal" story and make it shine through standard cinema.
A beautiful, earnest, and sentimental film from a very surprising source. Despite being Anti-Lynch on the surface, you can see reoccurring themes and styles develop, but stripped down naturally.
In honour of the Oscar's tonight, I watched Lynch's classic from 1999. It didn't win Best Picture that year but then many of the classics that get better with age don't typically win.
Right along with The Elephant Man, The Straight Story has shown me that Lynch is capable of doing simple and emotional work. Coming into this retrospective I was fully prepared to just be off put by all of Lynch's films and not get any of them. This showed me his range and that he can pull off emotion.
Like the title promises in defiance of the oxymoronic coupling of Lynch the director and Disney the studio, this film is the true story of a man riding a lawnmower hundreds of miles to reconcile with his brother, told straight. The film was even shot chronologically and on location, and although Lynch's personality is tangible in the details it doesn't distract from the story's sincerity. It proves how in command of his medium he is to deliver an emotional experience in a style uncommon to him without relying on cloying or manipulative methods overused by lesser directors.
Farnsworth too is exceptional, portraying Alvin with understanding and honesty, filling in the character more with his eyes than with his words. He…
So beautifully human. It's funny that the most experimental of Lynch's films is also his least bizarre. Richard Farnsworth gives a fantastic performance.
Many times ive dived into Lynch’s dark worlds never knowing that a less talked-about recent masterpiece was right there on the shelf. One which doesnt take a ride into the surreal mysterious backstreets of US towns and cities or the ambiguous dreams of the miserable and the bored but instead has an old man with a guilty conscience and a lawnmower.
This is an existential road movie which is both hilarious and desperately sad with the narrative navigating between the two at about 5 miles an hour. A film full of fragile souls just trying to do their best in the beautiful American midwest. From a visual perspective, the way in which the landscape is shot in such expansive compositions…
- Only God Forgives
- Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
- Spring Breakers
- A Field in England
- The Racket
- 7th Heaven
- Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans
- Chang: A Drama of the Wilderness
Every film that has ever been nominated for an Academy Award in any category. Enjoy!
- Citizen Kane
- 2001: A Space Odyssey
- Tokyo Story
- The Rules of the Game