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Husker4theSpurs

The Straight Story

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Sorry if this is a repeat (I searched and no topic that I found for this one on its own). Saw this in the theatre ... local U was playing it for the student film class ... and just as moving as I remember. So true and touching ... not one false moment in my opinion. Makes a person think about so much and ponder life in general. One of my favorites of all time!

10/10

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Yes, I thoroughly enjoyed this film.

I ended our column with this:


Since 1995 we have authored a commentary on film, cinema in focus. Though we enjoy cinema as an art form, our interests lie not so much in reviewing a film as in beginning a conversation about the social and spiritual values presented. We, therefore, often rate a film higher or lower due to its message rather than its quality of acting or film-making.

Cinema In Focus Website

Free Methodist Church of Santa Barbara Website

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You can't make me watch a David Lynch movie that is not in some way weird. You just can't.

It's not right. Clearly.

-s.


In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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I love this review that Prins linked to here: "An impressively broad swath of film critics missed the point entirely when they reviewed David Lynch's most recent film The Straight Story, characterizing it as everything from 'sweet, simple and sentimental' to 'a comic coda to Lost Highway.' We remedy the situation by exploring why The Straight Story is anything but. . . . The real story of The Straight Story turns out not to be very straightforward at all, but involuted and hidden -- buried, as in Lost Highway, within the ostensible narrative like a repressed memory. This movie is about how a mean drunk named Alvin Straight lost his daughter's children to the state because he let one of them get burned in a fire. This is the only way the film makes sense as a united whole, as anything other than the meandering picaresque most reviewers thought it was."


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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This might be a painfully obvious observation to some but many people are surprised when I mention it. His journey follows the journey of life.

His first encounter is with a young girl (the pregnant one). Then the college-age bike riders, then the work-busy women who hits the deer, then the middle-aged guy (Danny Reardon) who takes him in, then the older guy who he relives his war memories with. Then he "crosses the river" and the next scene we see is a cememtary. And then finally, there is reconciliation. And then of course, the required Lynchin stars shot to represent eternity.

Interesting, no?

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There are deep currents of sadness, even despair in this film. Don't take Lyle's advice at face value. Sometimes I think the character was spouting wisdom (that HE himself didnt follow) in order to cover up deeper issues. For example: With his wonderful, winsome "bunch of sticks" story, why is it that Rose is the only child with whom he's still in touch?

I think you mean Alvin here. And I think you're being too tough on him. He gives the advice as a aman who didn't follow it. There's a sadness to his tone, and the reason he's making the journey in the first place is because he's just realized the strength of the bundle of sticks.

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This might be a painfully obvious observation to some but many people are surprised when I mention it.  His journey follows the journey of life.

His first encounter is with a young girl (the pregnant one).  Then the college-age bike riders, then the work-busy women who hits the deer, then the middle-aged guy (Danny Reardon) who takes him in, then the older guy who he relives his war memories with.  Then he "crosses the river" and the next scene we see is a cememtary. And then finally, there is reconciliation. And then of course, the required Lynchin stars shot to represent eternity.

Interesting, no?

Definitely very interesting ... this film is so wonderful imho!

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Sometimes I think the character was spouting wisdom (that HE himself didnt follow) in order to cover up deeper issues. For example: With his wonderful, winsome "bunch of sticks" story, why is it that Rose is the only child with whom he's still in touch?

I don't think one has to follow everything they say for what they say to be wise. It's obvious Alvin has learned from a lot of mistakes ... sometimes the mistakes we've made we can't make up for and it's possible he's learned that sad truth. That's also why the one last effort to sort of make things right with Lyle.

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I love this review that Prins linked to here: "An impressively broad swath of film critics missed the point entirely when they reviewed David Lynch's most recent film The Straight Story, characterizing it as everything from 'sweet, simple and sentimental' to 'a comic coda to Lost Highway.' We remedy the situation by exploring why The Straight Story is anything but. . . . The real story of The Straight Story turns out not to be very straightforward at all, but involuted and hidden -- buried, as in Lost Highway, within the ostensible narrative like a repressed memory. This movie is about how a mean drunk named Alvin Straight lost his daughter's children to the state because he let one of them get burned in a fire. This is the only way the film makes sense as a united whole, as anything other than the meandering picaresque most reviewers thought it was."

Definitely an interesting read ... thank you. A lot of it makes sense ... all of it really, but my feelings while reading wandered to thinking it was over-reading some things, to being too judgmental, then back to thinking it was dead on. Interesting to say the least. Also came to mind that we get that feel about Alvin the whole way through whether a person puts the pieces together or not.

Edited by Husker4theSpurs

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Well, I am not a movie reviewer, but I have felt prompted by something Madeleine L'Engle wrote in Walking on Water:

"The writer does want to be published; the painter urgently hopes that someone will see the finished canvas


"Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." - Groucho Marx

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Not at all, so long as you're not sending naked pictures of yourself with the letters. I would say the odds of the celebrity you are mailing actually reading the letter will vary from artist to artist.

That's a great L'Engel quote. It really underscores my understanding of what art is.


In case you were wondering, my name is spelled "Denes House," but it's pronounced "Throatwobbler Mangrove."

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Dan or Crimson, if you want to read what I've written, I will send you an e-mail. I need your e-mail address and your permission. Seeing that I am just starting this, I don't think I am that good, so I need all the help I can get. It would be wonderful to get a reply though.

my e-mail address is mwxtodd @ yahoo (dot) com


"Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." - Groucho Marx

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This might be a painfully obvious observation to some but many people are surprised when I mention it. His journey follows the journey of life.

His first encounter is with a young girl (the pregnant one). Then the college-age bike riders, then the work-busy women who hits the deer, then the middle-aged guy (Danny Reardon) who takes him in, then the older guy who he relives his war memories with. Then he "crosses the river" and the next scene we see is a cememtary. And then finally, there is reconciliation. And then of course, the required Lynchin stars shot to represent eternity.

Interesting, no?

In line with this I think it's worth noting that his brother Lyle lives in Mt. Zion.


A foreign movie can't be stupid.

-from the film
Armin

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I had not seen The Straight Story before today. There was something about it I was resisting. Perhaps it was the idea that a G rated David Lynch film meant that the film would not contain the appropriate Lynchian elements to make it worth my time. I couldn't have been more wrong. It contains pretty much all of the standard shots you expect from a Lynch film, the most obvious being Lynch's penchant for finding some dark orifice (biological or man made) and slowly moving his camera into it, trying to uncover what makes up the darkness, or what may be beyond the darkness. That shot happens about two minutes into this film, as his camera glides over another sleepy little town on a gorgeous day, and settles on the Straight house, where he quickly introduces Straight's daughter and neighbor giving a cheery greeting to one another, and then slowly moves the camera towards a darkened screen window, only to pause for a moment that verges on uncomfortable, until we hear a loud thunk come from within. I knew then that I was still in the hands of the man who tells stories that are more than merely surface.

Richard Farnsworth was just magnificent, and I'm tempted to reopen the "Worst Oscar Choices" thread and list Farnsworth's loss to Kevin Spacey in American Beauty as one of the most egregious errors the Academy voters have made - that's now the second time I've felt an actor was overlooked that year, Russell Crowe's work in The Insider being the other towering performance that somehow lost out to Spacey.

I saw this on a double bill with Blue Velvet, and it worked perfectly. It might have even played as well with Wild at Heart, a film that The Straight Story actually resembles a bit more closely in structure. I need to go out and add this film to my collection as soon as possible.

I admit that I have not seen nearly as many of the films on this years Pilgrimage/Road Movies list as I have seen films on last years Horror List, but at the moment I feel that our choice of The Straight Story as number one is well deserved.

Edited by Baal_T'shuvah

Formerly Baal_T'shuvah

"Everyone has the right to make an ass out of themselves. You just can't let the world judge you too much." - Maude 
Harold and Maude
 

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Glad you caught it. I think it was Jonathan Rosenbaum's review that pointed out just how macabre and Lynchian the film is, despite its domestic surface. As I grow older, I realize just how dense, surreal, and twisted these kinds of sibling conflicts can become - which means the heart of Straight Story is every bit as dark and chaotic as that of Blue Velvet or Lost Highway.


"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

Filmwell | Twitter

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Saw this while spending the last week writing in a cabin. It was like one of like five DVD's sitting on a shelf (next to Disney films and Gone with the Wind.) I can guarantee you it's the only Lynch film the cabin owners have conceivably seen . . . a thought that I find really, really funny for some reason (let's just say cabin owners are far too conservative to stomach some of the subject matter in Lynch's other films).

I'm ashamed to say it but this is my first Lynch film. I get the feeling most of the 'Lynchian' elements of the film are rather ancillary. The squabbling brothers, the lady who runs over deer every week on her way home, etc.

But Alvin Straight. Is there any sense in which Alvin Straight is Lynchian?

Let me go watch some more Lynch films and see if I can conjure up an answer to that question.

Edited by Timothy Zila

@Timzila

"It is the business of fiction to embody mystery through manners, and mystery is a great embarrassment to the modern mind." (Flannery O'Connor, Mystery and Manners).

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I just rewatched this movie. Honestly, I think I fell asleep the first time I tried, about seven years ago. Stayed awake this time. The first twenty minutes feel like Lynch deliberately tweaking the audience, what with the Twin Peaksish score and the Blue Velvet style opening. But once it settles into its real groove, the movie kind of sneaks up on you and packs a sudden emotional wallop. The link Peter provides above has died, so I can't check out that review (though I'd be interested to), but I think it would be a mistake to go too far into ascribing a particular darkness to this movie. If Lost Highway and Inland Empire showcase the opaque, terrifying side of Lynch, this movie shows that his macabre portraits of small-town America in Blue Velvet and Twin Peaks come from a place of genuine affection. It's a corrective against seeing Lynch simply as a weirdo obsessed with darkness--the obsession comes from a place of love, in its own strange way, and The Straight Story is a stage where that element has priority.

Edited by NBooth

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I unsuccessfully searched for a Straight Story thread when I nominated it for the Growing Older list. Today, I went back a ways further and found it. Since it has just topped a second A&F list along with being a Top 100 staple, it's probably a good time to begin the conversation again.

The earliest posts on this thread contained some of the most pertinent discussions to our recent list. Questions about the nature of wisdom (how wise we should consider Alvin to be when the people he attempts to pass on his wisdom to don't always heed it) relate well to the discussions we had in forming the list. I especially appreciate the posts here that discuss the order of the people Alvin encounters, forming an arc of life cycles and eternity. While that spiritual arc transcends the theme of growing older, Alvin himself embodies the theme through wisdom, sacrifice and an urgency to live life to the full through reconciliation with his brother.

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