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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 21.43%
Average: 2.86%
Pretty Bad: 11.43%
Total Crap: 0%

5 reviews, 40 user ratings

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Straight Story, The
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by Erik Childress

"Wacky True Story Treated With Respect By Lynch"
4 stars

The Straight Story (***) – Anyone who listens to Jonathon Brandmeier’s show regularly knows the story of Alvin Straight. Johnny had several conversations with him and members of his odd family on the air and we knew of him to be a stubborn son-of-a-bitch. Now, with the release of the film chronicling his journey on a John Deere riding lawnmower over 300 miles to visit his ill-stricken brother, everything we’ve come to know about Alvin in JB’s world seems to be contradicted with the critic’s view of this film. Previews suggest that Alvin comes off as a lovable old curmudgeon sputtering out creative license to whomever he meets and that’s essentially what it is.

It’s a nice story, sweet and soft, with some beautiful landscapes to look at and one of the most beautiful film scores of the year that will be remembered come Oscar time. Oscar will also, no doubt, be looking at the performance of Richard Farnsworth as Alvin, and it is worth consideration. Farnsworth does endow Alvin with some of the stubbornness (especially early on) that we’ve come to know about, but he also creates an Alvin that we sympathize and identify with as well. And as good as Farnsworth is, my favorite performance of the film belongs to Sissy Spacek as Alvin’s daughter. Her story is even more heartbreaking, and while not having a whole lot of screen time past the 45-minute mark, she commands every moment and I’d like to see her name among the supporting actress nominees. This film’s Alvin Straight becomes kind of a cross between David Banner (of TV’s Incredible Hulk) and Kane (from Kung Fu) as he churns out words of wisdom to every new person he meets across his journey. It starts off as sweet but threatens to wear out its welcome towards the end.

Johnny B. listeners will be disappointed in the absence of any mention of Betty, Alvin’s wife at the time with the male-like voice and attitude. But it’s an emotional journey of self-discovery along with the physical one and plays better if you think of it as a fable and not one of historical fact. (Note: The world is coming to an end – Both David Mamet and David Lynch have directed “G”-rated films in 1999. I believe the final sign of the apocalypse.)

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originally posted: 02/16/00 10:10:15
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User Comments

4/03/09 Dane Youssef David Lynch moves us, touches us and does something that few directors have been able to. 5 stars
4/08/08 David Hollands It gets the tears flowing every time. One of the most beautiful films ever made. 5 stars
3/21/08 docmoreau It and "The Fastest American Indian" get my votes for best septuagenarian yarns 4 stars
5/29/07 glo- yes, simple, beautiful, more of this please! 5 stars
3/05/07 Cynthia this movie heals many emotions 5 stars
12/31/06 mr.mike pretty dull , specially for DL 3 stars
10/27/06 Isaac Baranoff Another departure from Lynch's usual style. Still great. 5 stars
6/25/04 Daveman An adorable film. Lynch is almost as good at being upbeat as he is at being sinister. 4 stars
6/05/04 MyGreenBed The first 15 minutes are interesting, but...damn, what a snorefest after that. Overrated. 2 stars
4/28/04 The More You Know Treasure this touching reunion with a loved one...quite extraordinary! 5 stars
3/25/04 Lord Haw Haw A journey across the human heart, bridging the gulf between estranged brothers. Exquisite. 5 stars
12/06/03 john a beautifully patient, involving, honest and ultimately triumphant film - amazing 5 stars
8/02/03 DM Good flick- not as good as I thought it'd be, but moving nonetheless 4 stars
7/12/03 Alice What a disapointment 2 stars
4/11/03 Jack Bourbon Even Jack Bourbon was a little misty after this one. Lynch did this??? He should do more. 5 stars
1/01/03 Jack Sommersby A true original. Beautiful and breathtakingly executed. Farnsworth is a treasure. 5 stars
11/27/02 Zack W. Young Beautful and spell-binding; possibly the only Lynch piece worth watching for normals. 5 stars
10/21/02 TheBomb69 I cried, heartbreaking stuff! 5 stars
5/31/02 Phil M. Aficionado As you become older you learn to sift the wheat from the chaff. Thanks for the wheat. 5 stars
5/19/02 john waite a perfect performance by richard farnsworth..beautiful! 5 stars
9/30/01 daniboy beautiful, beautiful movie 5 stars
8/01/01 Elendil A unique story. Some parts are a tad cliche. 3 stars
5/22/01 R.W. Welch An intentionally "little" movie but carried off with real aplomb. 4 stars
3/07/01 Mike I still cry when I watch it! 5 stars
10/08/00 Keith Condit There is nothing wrong with this movie...unless you are a special effects or action freak ! 4 stars
8/04/00 Viking David Lynch's compassionate side 4 stars
7/09/00 Narf Slow to develop, but a great low-key payoff ending. Richard Farnsworth rocks. 4 stars
7/08/00 Gluke So Good! 5 stars
6/08/00 Monday Morning Outstanding "touch" by Lynch. Says so much, so quietly. 5 stars
5/28/00 Belinda I was totally absorbed. 5 stars
5/19/00 The Hunter good 5 stars
1/30/00 Adam This is a Lynch movie? 4 stars
12/07/99 Ralf Behet Pure cinematic poetry. Farnsworth delivers a superlative performance. One of Lynch's best. 5 stars
11/18/99 The Furtive Ventriliquist Lynch keeps on gettin' better! 5 stars
11/17/99 Krasker Wonderful. Beautiful and poetic and life-affirming. 5 stars
11/14/99 MANGAN C. Loved it! 5 stars
11/09/99 Heather Simple, beautiful, funny, moving, David Lynch takes a gamble and pulls it off 5 stars
11/09/99 Kirsten I hope I am never too cynical to appreciate something so beautiful in its simplicity. 5 stars
10/16/99 Mr Showbiz David Lynch get sback to basics with a simpe story of human dignity. 4 stars
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Directed by
  David Lynch

Written by
  John Roach
  Mary Sweeney

  Harry Dean Stanton

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