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Episode 58 · 3 months ago

Is The Straight Story David Lynch's Strangest Film?

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

The Straight Story is a film so straightforward that the fact that David Lynch is the man behind it feels almost surreal. In this episode, we dive into how and why the film engages and touches us as much as it does, ponder what made Lynch choose to pick this collaboration with Walt Disney Pictures to begin with, and marvel at just how wonderfully weird it is that this film, based on a real story, exists at all.

You are listening to talking images, the official podcast of I C M Forum Dot Com. Welcome back everyone, I'm Chris and in this episode we will talk about the film that, at least when it's directors demography, it's so quote unquote, normal, ordinary or shall we say, straightforward, that its existence in itself it's strange. I am, of course, talking about this straight story by the master of the surreal, David Lynch, here bizarrely teaming up with Walt Disney pictures, an idea that it is odd even to this day. But if you look at the type of live action films Disney has been producing up to that point, bordering on the surreal, it's hard to say what brought Lynch to this story and why he was so ready to leave behind his signature style. So perhaps it is because this true story of how one seventy three year old man, I'll win straight, traveled more than three hundred miles on a lawnmower to reconnect with his brother was so strange in itself that it needed no additional flourishes. Indeed, Lynch was, in two thousand one quoted as saying this was his most experimental film so far, and in some ways. Perhaps it is because you need a magnifying glass to find anything truly Lynch in this straight story is, if anything, straight to the point. It's earnest and heartfelt, as Alvin connects with strangers along the road and has revealing conversations sure to hit and then emotional chord. Is it too simplest? Lynch really the man to bring this material to life? And why is the film so emotionally resonant? In this episode will unpack it all. So let's me bring in my three absolutely wonderful co hosts, and I want to start with you, Adam, as you're really the person who made us through this episode in the first place with the the whole reason why we started talking about this is because you told me you were watching one of the scenes from the straight story over and over again. So I just love to hear what it was about this scene that just threw you in and made you click that replay button. Yeah, so I first watched the film must have been about ten years ago, and then probably probably every year since then, I we watched the one away girls in so that's the scene where there's a girl on the side of the road and she ends up staying with him that night and talks about how she is, how could run away, basically, and I guess the reason why I like it so much is basically because of the way Alvin is talking about family, and I think a lot of my favorite films, I spoke to Chris about this before, but I think a lot of my favorite films involved some kind of family idea and the whole scene with like the sticks and how you put them all together and you can't snap the sticks and that's family. I guess that's why I like it so much. But on top of that, I find it really interesting because the whole point is that Alvin has fallen out with his brother for ten years and yet Alvin is now the person who is telling someone else about family and how the importance of family. So there's a kind of I think there's a lot of contradictions in the film between the way Alvin has lived his life and the things he's done and how he's now kind of on the road to redemption and that particular scene with the sticks. Yeah, I was resonated with me very strongly. Thank you, Adam. I think those contradictions are some of the most interesting things...

...about the film and I love to get all of your general thoughts as well. But before that I just have to ask this question because even though it's based on the real story of a man named Al Win Straight, and what do you think Lynch was thinking when he decided to call this the straight story, because it's just so immediately like sarcastic, or at least you know, it has this clear win. You know, David Lynch presents at this straight story. Let let's start with material for that one, then the soul and then bring you back in Adam everyone. Yeah, I think the name is just funny, right. I mean that's something inherently funny about David Lynch presents the strage story, but I'm not sure he's aware of that. I guess I don't know. But yeah, I think it's just a funny name and it's obviously fitting in a very literal way. I don't think there's too much to read into it and in general this film, I don't think there's not much to read into. It's it's lovely for all the reasons, and I'm said it's it's a female like a lot. I guess I don't. I don't think it's that mysterious. He just made the thing he made. It's weird in his filmography. But yeah, I guess. I guess I don't have a particular interpretation of the title. What about you thought? Do you think the title's choice was intentional? I've always thought so because until I actually sat down and watched the film I didn't realize that the characters are surname was straight. I always had assumed that it was called the straight story because, you know, it was straightforward. It was presenting a fairly simple towel compared to the complex stuff that Lynch is best known for. And Yeah, like I think it's done on purpose. I mean there's obviously quite a few films out there with character names which are kind of interesting because they're also words, and I think he has a deliberate play on things because it is a straight story as well as beings straight story. What about the other yeah, I think it's Um some purpose as well, obviously in contrast to a lot of lynches other films. I think also I went straight is very like straight talking, very kind of straight to the point. So I think there's a lot there's quite a few elements of the film that are just very straightforward that that's really true as well. And I think there's Adea of straight lines, et CETERA, also really interesting because obviously it's the story of how he's driving straight to his brother, and not to mention all of these shots of, you know, very long, often straight roads. So there's just so many ways. There is a degree of very literal meaning in the title as well. Since I have to ask the second question, and I think mature kind of answered this already, but would you say the straight story lives up to its name? Well, since we have established that the film has called the straight story because his surname is straight, then yes, the film does left up to the title because there is a character in there who has called out of the strike. But I guess beyond that it's not really a straight order story as it sounds. Maybe it doesn't quite live up to the title. Maybe it's subverts in a bit of interesting way. I do also want to mention because I was going to mention it before, but I did come across a funny letter box review of the film recently which said, how do you feel if I released the film called the Gay Story? It's just to get another take on the word there all different meanings that can can be associated with it. But yeah, I'd say it. Look, it does live up to its title, but I guess in a lynching way, even though it's a straight story, it's not quite straightforward. Yeah, I don't think it's a straightforward story over, obviously it's a straight story for the reasons that we've already discussed, but I think the actual plot, I mean the basic idea of someone traveling all that distance on attractor to see the brother, all the interactions he has with different people, I wouldn't say it's a straightforward story at all. I do think the straight story leaves up to its name and that's it's a kind of movie that could put me out sentence any other year and it would be right at home right this kind of movie that's exploring the heart of...

America and with this protagonist with like an old wise man who doesn't talk much. I feel like you, you see that kind of film all the time in you know, an American, indeed drama, who is kind of a crowd pleaser because it's emotional story based on a true story as well. It's in many ways it's very one of the Middle American indie drama, except it's not right because, I mean I don't know how to say it. It's just very good and there are some surreal touches that lynnch wrings, which will discuss later. But it seems like a very typical in the drama film of the late Nineties and two thousand's, and so in that way it completely is that to his name and also in just the simplicity of the storytell think it's a old movie. There are some weird encounters and you get to the end, which is about what you'd expect. Right, that's very little provocative. Would like to reply to that, Adam. I mean I think the points they're fair on the surface. If you look at the plot, you know the basic idea of about movie. There probably are a lot of similar films and yeah, I didn't find the comments provided, but yeah, I think there are a lot of other films that are very similar. I think this one is just elevated by the basic plot, by the acting, by the music, the scenery, by various factors that kind of elevated above a standard world movie. Well, I feel very provoked right I feel very provoked right now. So you know exact really angry and these comments. So take it with a pinch of solve, Chris, you're not living up to this film right. You're you're trying to manufact your drama. Lynch would not be proud of you. You have to try and get those boxing glows out there. You know, when you say that this could open sometimes every other year, I was hoping and I would just be sitting there shaking, but no, damn it. So so I guess we can just get into talking about how this movie is actually affecting us, making us feeling get a little bit beyond its very straight surface. So what was your very first reaction to watching this ray story and did it feel like a linch film to you? It's an interesting question. Does the elephant man feel like a Lynch movie? I mean, you could really say the same thing right. It's both of those films. They don't have the quite as much of the surreal nature that we think of when we think of Lynch. Personally, I'm not a huge alic lynch but a not a huge fan of his most experimental stuff. Right. I don't love Mulon drive. So watching the straight story effect to me like a more grounded and less weird version of Blue Velvet, which is my favorite film that he did and that he's exploring against small town America. Right. I mean less small town here than straight up roar, but that's essentially what he's doing and there are some surreal touches there, right, the whole scene with the lady who keeps running into deer's that's that. That's quite strange and that feeds like a very lynch and touch. So yeah, I quite like I just quite liked it. It's my second favorite. It's David Lynch fream. I think it's interesting to find the ways in which it fits into his filmography, even though it seems like it wouldn't. It's very true. And let's also remember that this was made right in between loft highway and more and drive. The straight story is a film that I actually only watched for the first time four or five days ago. It's a film that I had been put us seeing for a number of years because, like mature I am not very big on Lynch. See now the publications are coming. Look, anybody who knows me that shouldn't be a surprise. Yeah, look, I haven't seen muholland drive or blue velvet in about twenty years. They did not do a lot for me at the time and just with the excess of the climate, some of his film scared here's other films have taken me a while to get around too. So, in terms of whether this feels like David Lynch film or not, it doesn't feel like a razorhead. I mean, I can...

...tell you that much. I do think, though, it does feel like a film the Director of wild at heart, and I was looking it up because, other than a Rais ahead, wild at heart is the only Lynch film I've seen the last ten years and I did actually watch it about nine or ten years ago. But yeah, I just got that sort of vibe from it because it's I guess it's a bit similar, because it's a bit of a road trip film and again you've got eccentric supporting characters, probably not quite as many, and straight story. But yeah, beyond the dear woman, you've got the twin brother mechanics. I've got a few other like widow characters in there. So for me it did feel a little bit like a David Lynch film and I guess my reaction to watching it. Well, I did like the fact that there was less surrealism in there than usual for Lynch, because I think that really helped bridgard Farnsworth really carve out a great performance, because he's not really held back by all the weirdness that tends to play lynches films. So I think that was good. But it was that, I guess, why the strike. Maybe others why before, because, you know, were those eccentric supporting characters in there. You know, I'm sort of like torn between all. Is this going to be like a drama, or was this going to be a bit of a Quirky Road movie comedy? So yeah, like my first reaction to it, I guess I look like my expectators were probably made. I wasn't expecting to be blown away by it and it wasn't blown away by it, but it was a solid film. I was affected to be well acted and it was well acted. But it was definitely quite interesting watching it for the first time after knowing about the film for around twenty years. But yeah, I've seen that. I've seen a few lynch films, not not for ages. There's a couple of his films I really like. I've got a mixed opinion. So, Um, maybe the more surreal the less. I generally like his films and I like twin peaks and everything as well. But yeah, I've got a mixed opinion on lynches films and when I first watched it I didn't really watch it thinking how it compared to other films. For me, there's certain films that I watched were like, after a few minutes I know that I'm gonna it's gonna be one of my favorites of our time and with the straight story, I just instantly, instantly liked it, imbought into it and I rewatched it a few days ago. I think that's the first time I've rewatched it and like, I probably liked it even more. So, yeah, I can. I find it difficult to compare it to the over Lynch films. I just see it as a standalone film. And Yeah, I think definitely the deer scene is one of the is always seen as one of the more surreal parts. Um, I like the twin brothers. You know they're not actually twins. I mean, I don't know what what that's all about. They don't actually he would identical. But yeah, I don't know. I think the fact that it's not surreal it's probably one of the reasons I like it so much. Well, at least I am provoked now. I see I seem to be the only person in this episode who actually loves lunch for his surrealness, with moblan drive and lost highway, the two films that kind of border the straight story being my two favorites. Generally speaking, the more through real lunch is, the better I like the film, which is almost a bit surprising I like the straight story as much as I do and I think it is a wonderful film and I think each of the time I've seen the toly seen it twice, I'm just really drawn in by, like Saul mentioned, the acting for this just spectacular. Here I also really want to give a shout out to city space as his daughter, and she's wonderful as well. The first time I saw it in particular, I was just, you know, almost a bit upset when obviously has to leave town on his low bower and she's no longer the focus there. She carries so much weight in the first quarter or so off that film and even it's a bit of a second protagonist. So I think the acting across is wonderful, but what really sucks you in with the straight story are these encounters he has where he sits down, or at least often sits down like literally, with usually one other person,...

...and he talks to them and they have this heart to heart and, like what you mention, there is a bit of this old man wisdom, but it's also the fact that it reveals a lot about himself, his own flaws, his own regrets and while he may be at times offering advice, it's also just a strong way of peering into his heart, emotional state, all of these thoughts about his brother and what went wrong and needing to make it right. So it's a very emotionally resident story because from beginning to end they really have his score, of him and his brother. His brother is, you know, not really seen for the majority of this film is just him traveling to see his brother and you have all of this momentum building up around this and I think that momentum you can get into the ending a little later and how strong and powerful that is, regards of how short it but I really think that across the board this film is beautiful. The dialogue is wonderful, fansfort is just fantastic holding it all together. And yes, there there are these quirky elements there and we had two different comparisons there. Mat You're compared to blue velvet soul. Compared it to wild at heart and at least in the beginning a little bit, I was thinking of twin peaks early on where, you know, we do have this village, you do have these kind of strange characters and it is a bit more tone down for Lynch and you you do kind of get into that slightly quirky, offbeat comedy feeling. But it is truly, at least for me, the drama that seals the deal here and I think the fact that Lynch managed to handle the drama in such again heartfelt and earnest way is just really incredible for him and it shows his range arrange he hasn't really used in other films. So I'm really happy he actually got to show that he can make not I don't really want to say ordinary film, because it really is so special in so many ways, but that he can make a film that had such a crowd appeal. Yeah, just touching on the drama and the actual plot, I find it very interesting how Alvin is clearly a flawed person who was an alcoholic, probably an alcoholic for a long time. You know, fell out with his brother to the point of not speaking for ten years, and I think one of the one of my favorite parts as well, is when he's talking about his daughter and how his daughter lost her children, returning that taken away, and I think it's pretty clear in that scene that Alvin was the person who caused his daughter to lose her children. I mean, they don't explicitly say it, but that's always that's always how I read it. I really like that aspect that he's obviously not being a great person and now he's kind of at the end of his life and has kind of wrote to redemption, to make up with his brother, to help other people along the way, basically give them advice some stuff that he's kind of messed up. That's my that's always been my reading of it. Yeah, I think generally what makes something so sentimental as this work is that there's a melancholy behind the film and you can feel right that that this main character. Yeah, he's he's a kindly old man, but he done some wrong in his life, right, and he's not a perfect guy. In his relationship with his brother is fractured. We don't get a very precise sense of it, but we get the idea right. We get the idea that they are very estranged and it's it's not all. I guess it's not. It's very sincere. I think that's actually Lynch as a filmmaker. I think is sincere. Chris, you mentioned twin peaks and there is some of that in tween peaks. In fact, to me it's kind of the fun of twin peaks is trying to figure out what is sincere, what is artificial, what is to five degrees of irony? And in this case you have no degree of irony, you just have what's there. But I think at the core of it, what makes it work is that sincerity, at the core of it's but also that willing nest to have all of these characters who are broken. Who It is? It's not. It's...

...not too simple right. I also get a kind of strong sense of nostalgia almost when I watched the film, which is another reason I like it. I think the scenery and the way the music and yeah, I can't really expand on that, but I definitely feel some kind of nostalgia, some kind of it feels like a different time from the past, basically. Yet I think the music and you have these scenes that are often away from the role to Alvin is traveling on and you see the scene and we around him, it's almost like a love letter to the American Midwest. You know these massive fields, you see tractors, you see fields being plowed. Do you have this beautiful music over there just capture the greenery and the kind of the wonder of the world around him. It's again very unusual for him to do this and it seems almost like a slight departure from the film they're watching as well. It's like this meditation on the Road Alwan is traveling and especially if you're, I guess, if you're from that area, it might be very romantic and wonderful feeling and I think for everyone else watching through it's, for some of it, my little bit Corny. I'm not sure. I had slightly mixed feelings about those things, but the music is wonderful, the image as are wonderful. It just seemed slightly, slightly, slightly off. Before we get to weaknesses with the film, because there is a couple of things on the Santa I do want to praise how well the film looks and the music does complimented quite well. But there are some just great majestic visuals in the film, just aerial shots traveling through the trees, you know, much hoper than he is on his lawnmowers. So there's some very interesting and I guess I'd say unusual shots he wouldn't expect in the average row maybe thrown in there. And passes that great shot early on where he is sitting and thinking by his window at night and just have lightning coming across his face from outside. It's illuminating space. So there are some really great visuals in there. If I'm going to talk about weaknesses or something which didn't quite work for me, what I was scratching my head around the whole time is, well, maybe laws are buit different America and maybe they're different where you guys lived to in Australia, but I didn't really understand the legal loophole which allows him to drive the lawn mower on this highway, because there's actually laws controlled that in Australia. Currently drive slow moving vehicles and I flow was really interesting, especially because he says in there that he's like he's not legally blind or whatever, but it's eyesights failing and he can't get his driver's license renewed because he can't see properly. And yet the system allows him to drive by Lawn Mower as long as he's Ben Drive by a car. So I guess I found that really intriguing. I thought I would have been really cool. Yeah, I know, and it's American, American can do what you want or whatever, but I thought it would be an extra point or, I don't know, comedy or whatever, but actually wants something interesting. If it was maybe stopped, but stopped by a cop along the way and it was pulled over and then he runs through it and says, Oh, I actually I've got this slave all advice. It says that I can do and he's put on his way. But I just thought it was a bit strange that it wasn't mentioned somewhere in there, that somebody didn't give advice, that it wasn't brought over. That's something didn't happen in there. It just gets this idea I can ride my lawn ARD. I mean I don't want America's white or whatever. I mean, can I you know, ride a shopping trolley along the highway across two states. I don't know. I mean I guess, as the saying goes, only in America, but in Australia. I'm just, you know, like this doesn't make sense to me. I mean I think it's slightly like that in order to but I'm not sure exactly what road safety obviously bicycles are around on allowed on the roads and if there's no other way, I think like elderly people's wheelsharees, etcetera work too. So I guess the classification of the lawnmower is just of such a type that that doesn't constitute a violation, though obviously it took me some dangerous there. Well, none of us Americans. I guess. It's hard to say, but I guess he's not on that big good woold. He's generally on relatively small country woods and it's very posible that it is actually illegal. But it's very yeah, it's very...

American. Right, it's very you don't have as many restrictions just in general. I don't know. I guess that that thought did not really enter my mind watching the film. Well, I was thinking about the safety, but I think it's also noting that this is a true story. This really happened and it's the exact distance as well. So if it wasn't stopped, it wasn't stopped. I get the showing there's not a lot of peace in that area either, that he was driving about in just a big empty area. And we get that action sequence right when his brakes fail. I mean it's the most exciting moment on the film that straight stories see is secretly a roadside safety propagamda piece. We've got a lot of a lot of money from their partner of motor vehicles or whichever. The part of it is that actually, you know, deal with with motor safety. Don't actually know that much about the American motor safety. Who would actually running that? Can we do another episode about a lot more laws? Maybe we can read that it can be the host a new podcast. It sounds like another episode. Yeah, each single episode they will go through the lawnmower regulations in the new country. But back to this grade story and to try to play my role as a harmful moderator and ignite the fire and hatred to this, you know, spur up that controversial discussion solved. You mentioned that you had some weaknesses to bring up. Let's see if you can finally get under Adam Skin. Well with with the weakness is the main thing that I was talking about was the whole the whole fact that it's not clarified what sort of legal loopholes allowing to go on the highway, because I think it's a fairly I don't know, I guess it's Viete as an outside or whatever. I think it's fairly pivotal and that's not really mentioned. So I thought that was a bit harder, I guess. Otherwise, the only weakness for me is just the fact that it just, you know, teach us so much and being a comedy or being a drama with his odd book Quirky Characters. I mean that's probably, you know, what I like, at least about David Lynch is, you know, it's a tendency to be weird, you know, for the sake of it, in inverted commas, and I guess I just thought with some of the characters that he's In'tcoed all the way. I wasn't sure so much if we're meant to be, you know, laughing at them, for them to be laughing with them. It's a bit of a distraction for me from the main plot of this guy trying to make his way across the country. So yeah, then, the comedy drama balance wasn't quite perfect for me. I don't think the film should have just been a complete drama because I think, you know, life has comedy and there should be laughs in there. But just the balance of comedy and drama probably wasn't quite what I'd be looking for in my sort of road movie. But then again, I'm not really big into rowing movies in the first place, so I look, I don't really have any strong things against the film. Just the whole legal loophole not being explained or probably the biggest things that knock down a little bit in my scene. I'm watching it for the first time four or five days ago. Would you consider that shops fired, Adam? I mean, if I'm being honest, I don't. I really can't care less about the law, more laws in America. I get. I get why I hadn't even thought of that. I get where that could be annoying, but like it's a true story and yeah, I don't. I don't. That part doesn't bother me. I guess in terms of the characters that you meet. I mean I probably prefer the ones and more more drama rather than comedy. So like the brothers seen. I like how he's, you know, give us this whole message about how he's fallen out with his brother and stuff. But those his characters are less appealing to me than some of the other characters. I really like the one away girl. I like the guy who's been in the war. That's one of my favorite scenes as well. Really Open up about what happened when they were in the war, and I definitely prefer the more serious traumatic kind of scenes than the comedy. But then again, I think it was quite nice to have a little bit of quirky humor in it as well. So I I quite like the mix, even if I do prefer probably the more...

...dramatic shade of things. Yeah, I have to take out of side here and say that I really wasn't bothered by the lack of extensive explanations about the American road laws. Um, I think that, at least to me, I was perfect hat with the fact that you know he doesn't have a driver's license, but you don't think the driver's license to drive a lawnmower. I didn't need more than that. So I I can understand that lawnmower law connoisseurs would want to know that little bit more. Just just to be clear, I'm not complained that there was an extensive time spent when explaining of what no laws. I just feel that it just was something that was constantly naggy in the back of my mind that it wasn't mentioned at all. There wasn't even a throwaway scene or something going we'll look what I can, you know, drive this or whatever, because I can't drive my car. Just a complete lack of it. And Yeah, I'm aware that's based on a true story, but it made me kept thinking about that and I guess when I'm watching a true story, feel won't want to be invested in the story. I don't want to be thinking should I be going on my phone and checking wikipedia during the film to find out how he was able to go on a lawn or so I don't know. I would recommend a de Luxe DVD version because they actually have a documentary alongside it which just focuses on one more laws in different states. So if you go into Amazon, I think opefously it's an a bit available in Australia as well. It's almost as good as the actual film itself. If you're into that kind of thing. I don't know, I can't help it. It's an honest reaction. Yeah, I would be lying if I say it. He said it didn't bug me, he didn't total knock the film down. I'm not getting in a one out of ten or whatever and saying we need more explanation. It's just something which just knocked it down a little bit for me which I just couldn't get out of my mind. I would actually say when I first side, I didn't know it was a true story. I think that's the same for most of us and actually, to be honest, and no point was I thinking this is unrealistic or this is ridiculous, even though, even without knowing it's a true story, obviously it's seen. That was the fact that he can drive a lot more that far, but that never bothered me at all. Actually that moment I was never thinking, Hey, this is stupid, this couldn't happen and I think it was just believable as part of the film. Yeah, the same, the same for me. and to re further, are a couple of things precess. I have to drive this because I don't have a driver's license. But no, it didn't involve the legalities of it. I think we're running into the issue that it's a hard for him to talk about because all of it, all of that Lynch does in this film, is mattering the tune right, and I guess that's what soul was getting out earlier, is that sometimes the balance was not quite right for him. But it's a thing that's not it's not flashy at all. It's it's not easy to find why it works so well. I mean Adam it's one of his favorite stream of all time and we all like it, all of it, depending on the degree, but it's hard to say why. Right, we can say the performances are great, you can say that there's maybe the patients that Lynch has with those shots of the guy on the Lomoa which really set up this mood. But why does this work when so many similar films don't? It's just I think, and it would hard to pin down. I don't know why, but I find the film kind of comforting. Like Um, I could watch it every year probably and still enjoy it. I just find it very, very comforting. You just go straight into his world and it's like this was completely natural. My point is not that there are many films about a guy on the lawnmower trying to find his longest strange brother right. It's more that there are many films about good movies going to America, right, what I was saying earlier with the sentence movie. I think there are. It is to me a pretty familiar kind of movie. Yeah, I think I don't normally have road movies in my top if I was to make a top like one hundred films, I don't think. I think that would be the only road movie in my top films. It's just something about it that elevates it for me. Pretty much everything, the acting, the interactions of the characters, the music, the scenery, all of it kind of comes together and I think there's a part of it we're like having the main actor, you know, he is at the end of his life as well,...

...so there's a bit of a kind of crossover between he's dying as well. Um, there's just a lot about it. The comveynes for me, pliny great and I think the Dactor, like Chrish said, you know, the daughter is excellent as well. I mean I transform my top ten. I just am not particularly strong articulating reasons why. But there's something about it that even on a rewatch I liked it as much or or more than before. Well, I think to me what is so powerful about it, it makes it different from so many of these other films, is that there is something at the end of the road, that it's very, very important, which is his brother, and that you have this clear line of guilt, of regret, of sadness and of this idea of families. We start up quite closely with his relationship with his daughter and across this road trip you also get something insight into his relationship with her, but you also, consistently to his dialogue, get a lot of insight into his relationship it is brother, how they grew up, how they were there for each other. You can feel the weight Um farns work throughout these conversations. You can see how much it has been weighing him down and you see from beginning how what a proud man is, how hard it is for him to change his mind. So you get this whole impression and I think, just trying all of this together, that the power of this film is the mixture of this sadness, disregret, this longing, but also the fact that it is a man traveling all of this way to try to make up for some of that and reconnect to someone that matters so much to him. And if we can spoil the ending, if you if it's possible to spoil the ending, Um uh, we can add the spoiler warding here. Spoiler warning. I think that the fact that when he arrives at his brother's home after this journey that's taken him months, and you just see him walking up into this tiny, desolate house, it looks and lived in. He stops, he calls his brother. You don't hear reply. You think that the brother might have died. At this point, of course, we all know that what started this was that his brother had a stroke. He heard about and it's just trying to travel there to make amends. And then suddenly his brother answers. He comes out with a walker. Alvin, of course, has two kanes. They're both similarly aged, they're both very frail and what happens next is essentially this this one minute sequence. There's fair little dialogue. It's just this little moment within him and his brother and his brother is, by the way, played by Herod in Stanton and it's just absolutely fantastic. In it it just when brother realizes that he actually traveled this whole way on the lawnmower for him. You can see how it affects him that share this moment and it's just beautiful. It's resonant, it's powerful, it's so short and I just want to give full credit to both forns word and Harrod in Stanton here for being able to pull off that moment, especially Stanton West as about one minute to make us care for him, and it does it. He managed to pull up completely in I mean that's just phenomenal, phenomenal acting, and I think that, like a film that Harodin Stanton was in Paris, Texas, which is also about one man battling with his past, trying to make amends and doing a very great journey, one of the things that really makes a straight story so wonderful is the fact that you have all of this build up, you get to this emotional climax and somehow it manages to truly truly deliver. Yeah, there's a couple of main things. For me. I think the ending is amazing. The ending is easily one of the best parts. The fact that Harridan Stanton is in it for such a tiny amount of time and makes such a huge impact when he looks over a lot more and she realizes open the traveled all...

...this way on it. I think that's the single best moment of the film. But I think a couple of things that I think of with the ending is the stars are obviously really important. The opening credits and the end credits have stars as the background and you get the impression that probably, like every time Alvin seen the stars for years he's thought of his brother or he's thought about how they've fallen out. And also, I think at the end when his brother tells Alvin to sit down and then it goes to the causing credit, like then credits with the stars, I get the impression they just sat in silence waiting for the stars to come. So they sat there for a few hours in silence, just waiting for that moment that takes them back to when they were children. And also I think it's very interesting that he was like an alcoholic at some point in his life. That's part of the reason, I think they said that's part of the reason they fell out. I can't remember exactly. So when Alvin meets the guy from the war, he has like milk, I think, to drink. He doesn't have alcohol, but once it gets to the end and he finally reaches the place, that's the first of me he's had alcohol in the years and years, and I think that's kind of his rewards are finally making up with his brother. But it's also kind of ironic that the thing that caused him all these problems is his kind of reward at the end. So there there are the two things I think of the most. But certainly the end C and I think is the most powerful in the film and it's one of the best performances were and actors in it for such a tiny amount of time, barely has a word of dialogue and somehow makes such a huge impact. I absolutely think it's worth noting too, that when he asked for the bear and he finishes at the bottom, asked if he wants more and he manages to stop at one bear and leave, showing that he's also gained that degree of self control. It shows how he perhaps has grown. and talking about the stars, you know the way stars are used throughout the films. It's the opening shot. You see I've been looking at stars throughout the film and throughout conversation. Quite late you realize that this is what they used to do when they were children and they were on this farm and they were very poor and he has used this designed they were talking themselves through growing up. There's these two young boys togetheritor looking at the stars and you just slowly start to contextualize what the stars have meant four elements throughout the film and what the stars mean in the narrative. And I think that's one of the things about the straight story that's just really beautiful, the way it just so few things and then feels it why it's important later on and leaves it to reflect on it. Also, maybe that explains why Disney wanted the movie rights. It's not about dreaming and stars. So I think we found what makes and Disney you go together. The ending of the straight story is definitely very interesting because it is not what I'd expected at all. There's a point towards the end, on the second half of the film, where he's stopped by some really kind neighborhood couples and they asked him how long he's been on the road for and he has to work it out or whatever, and it's been, I think five weeks. I think that's what he came up with, but it's anyway. It's been a number of weeks and knowing what had happened to his brother, and I thought, you know, he was going to get to the end of whatever, his brother is going to be dead. And the way that it's set up is actually quite interesting. So he gets to his brother's house, he calls out to him and then we hear his brother's voice, but it's all shot from a distance, at least initially. There's not like no close up of Harry Dean Standard as he's coming out. We just like to see the voice and then he appears. So I think it's an interesting way of twinning with our expectations, because I think Lynch and his team was sort of setting it up to convince us that the brother was dead. He's going to be going there in vain, it's going to end up being for nothing and really then they spend everything around on the end and actually and it actually ends up being quite positive and do get united and the stars. Is An excellent shot and of course the very first shot of the film is the shot of the stars in the sky and that's the same as the stars at the end there. So I think it's really a great way of book ending the film. This isn't Ann it's anything else, but I also like the music, some of the things. The music sounds a little bit like a train, you know,...

...with the violin playing in a sort of certain way. I also really like that part. I didn't notice that, but I'm sure it's at US seeing clips of the film much more often than we have. You guys were too busy thinking about a lot more laws to notice that. That's why. And before we close this up, there was one reading of the film that you had, Adam, that really blew me away. We just talked about how this whole during this also a form of allegory of redemption and and I would love to hear a little bit more about about your take on that then, because it really adds a lot to the movie. For me, to be honesty, was speaking to Christ before. I didn't rewatched it. I don't even know if what I'm saying was accurate, because this went just from rewatching brief scenes. I guess it's all kind of huge expansive roads, all these bright fields for ages and then when we get to the the end scene it becomes just this tiny little dark path that he goes and right at the end, I think he breaks down properly at the end, like right at the end and he has to get told to his brother. And Yeah, I saw the whole film as a kind of rote to redemptions. He's made out these mistakes throughout his life and I think so many of the characters that he encounters as part of that redemption. So He uh, the runaway girl, you know, he's telling her how important family is after he's messed up a lot of stuff in his own family and she decides to go back to her family after being on the run for for ages. The twin brothers, they're falling out all the time. He felt it his own brother. He gives them advice, which hopefully means they don't fall out. When he meets the veteran from the war, he finally opens up about the fact that he shot his own man accidentally. It's the first time and he's ever told that story after decades of keeping it in. He talks to the runaway girl, about how his daughter lost her children, and I think he's saying that it was his fault. So I think there's a lot of stuff where he's a meeting things for the first time that he's done wrong, or he's speaking to other people and trying to give them advice to avoid his mistakes, and I think most of the encounters are kind of like that. Him The deeming himself. And I also think at the end when he meets his brother, I found it really interesting because his brother. Maybe it's just because it's his brother's house, but it's quite I don't know, I get the sense to Alvin, Alvin probably did more wrong than his brother. And when he gets there he's very kind of his brothers, like ordering letting him sit down. His brothers like take a seat, his brother's telling him stuff. Just the way he's acting makes me think that he was the one that did more wrong and he's kind of making up to his brother. Now. Oh Yeah, you can take whatever you want from that rambling. I don't know, Chris, build it up into something incredible, but it's not just a couple of random points. I don't think the random point. I don't think you're throwing out the very clear and long road of redemption where at every point, every meeting, almost every meeting, perhaps except the dear lady Um, he is revealing something else about his past, something else he's done wrong, and he traveling down these large roads and, like you said, when he gets close with his brother, the roles becomes tighter, but there's also more more green and more trees. And it gets to that final house like, as all mentioned, you think the brother is genuinely dead. is taken so long, it looks so desolate and suddenly everything flips and his story actually has a final redemptive arc. So I do think that the film and the way it works really shows the man's long role to redemption and I think you summed it up quite beautifully, Adam. It's also worth nothing that this redemption happens through the heap of others, and I mentioned him being too at the end, and you know, people step up to help him repeatedly and the him. It's very, very optimistic about human nature in that way. I think I've really got much else to say about the film, but it's definitely a very pleasant and, I guess, rewarding experience going on this journey with Alvin and he's just he really is quite interesting character. I mean when we first meet him he's lying...

...on the floor of his kitchen and he can't get up and he's so calm about it when everybody else is so anxious and worried about it, and it's just got a really great thing, is down to Earth and realistic approach about life that it is genuinely interesting and engaging and following him on the journey. Even if Lynch can't really keep the comedy and drama separate enough for my own liking, I do think it is a compelling journey to go on because it is really just such a great character and such a great performance by Richard Farnsworth. Yeah, I think there's something very admirable about him, as well as this old man, and I think you see some of the characters, like there's a point where there's a couple the guy offers to drive him the rest of the way near the end of the film and you can kind of see him looking up Dalvin like a dad perhaps, and I think there's a scene where he's talking to a younger guy and the younger guys like what's talking to him about? Being old and he's saying like there's nothing good about being old and stuff. But I think despite him sort of giving the message that there's nothing good about being old, you kind of admire what he's doing and the fact that all these problems he's having, he's still able to have this journey, still able to have this impact on people. Um. So there's a lot of stuff that makes you kind of optimistic about your own future, that there's this old guy who managed to achieve so much and have an impact on people along the way, despite serious health problems and the speaking of P redemptive journeys. I do hope that these final notes currently why the film is so impactful and the way it's, you know, uplifting, admirable, even inspiring in some ways, have redeemed us from our very, very, very long and diversion into lawnmower laws. So I hope that we have made the episode worth it, even if we will not be checking out our new spinoff lawnmower laws across the world. I think we have a bit of a responsibility to say that, even though Alvin inspired everyone, if you are planning to drive in a lot more, please check the laws in your local area before you do that. We don't want to be responsible for any more illegal journeys. So disclaimer. Also, if anyone does find out the laws in that area genuine way, please post it on the forum. So anyone who's expert a lot more laws you know, please go to uh I C M Forum Dot Com and explain everything there. We did not take any responsibility for any illegal long lower journeys. Don't be very clear that we do not in any way encourage this type of behavior if it is indeed illegal. And with this disclaimer, thank you so much for listening and joint US again soon. You have been listening to the talking images, official podcast of I P M forums dot com.

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