The Straight Story (1999)
November 27, 2014 10:04 AM - Subscribe

THE SPIRIT OF 99 VIEWING CLUB - 73 Year old Alvin Straight has heard his brother is dying and goes on a cross-country trip on his riding mower/tractor to pay his respects. But in true Lynchian fashion, there is more going on....
posted by The Whelk (6 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I know the guy who cowrote this.

He drives me nuts.
posted by Madamina at 7:16 PM on November 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

I-what? Does he talk about it?
posted by The Whelk at 8:08 AM on November 28, 2014

Interview with Mary Sweeney, Editor, 'The Straight Story' [she is also the co-screenwriter with Madison video producer/columnist John Roach, who I presume is who Madamina knows). Sweeney, a Madison native, has a child with Lynch and was briefly married to him, in addition to creatively collaborating with him over nearly three decades. In any case, Straight was deceased by the time they acquired the rights to his story, so their retelling is based on interviews with people who knew him as well as traveling the route themselves.

I remember when this happened; it made the national news, but just the surface details which make it sound like a crazy stunt instead of a very practical adaptation to circumstances. In reality, which the film makes clear, it's almost like a real instance of how Forrest Gump was depicted as a progenitor of the running "fad" (as the movie frames it). Which is not to trivialize it, but to valorize it as a powerful depiction of humanity, something FG was only attempting to draw.

Anyway, I'm also fairly familiar with parts of the route, and I have family roots in Iowa (the Cedar Rapids area, though), so it felt very right to me in a lot of ways. One thing I notice being from the flyover is that people on the coasts rarely get us well enough to write about us properly.
posted by dhartung at 12:08 PM on November 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

I really loved this movie and see it as a true work of genius. When an artist says so much with so little, I count that as a success.

Reading the article from Film Quarterly now. Good, smart stuff.
posted by latkes at 11:51 AM on November 30, 2014

This movie is so dang pure.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:56 PM on November 28, 2017

Now streaming on Disney+.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 10:33 AM on April 4, 2020

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