Lynch follows the straight and narrow

Anne Lindsay

The third feature in the Fall 2002 Cultural Film and Lecture Series is David Lynch’s “The Straight Story.” Although it is one of Lynch’s most straightforward films, “The Straight Story” is a multilevel work that allows the audience to ponder what Lynch is really trying to say in a way that only Lynch can.

Based on a true story, the film begins in Laurens, Iowa, and focuses on a man and his daughter. Alvin and Rose Straight live together in a small farmhouse in a small town where everyone knows each other’s business. Alvin is getting older and has begun to lose his vision and use of his hips. He soon receives the news that his estranged brother, Lyle, has fallen ill with a stroke. Although Alvin has not seen his brother in 10 years, he decides to go to Wisconsin to see him despite the fact that he cannot drive.

This film focuses on Alvin’s journey on a tractor-lawnmower to see his brother. Alvin meets many people on this odyssey and shares his life experiences with all of them, touching their lives forever. Ultimately, this movie is a demonstration of humanity and one man’s brotherly love.

Lynch is known for many things as a director, but playing it safe is not one of them. Creating such enigmatic films as “Blue Velvet” and “The Lost Highway,” Lynch is known for being obscure. Some might even say his name is synonymous with weirdness. However, he strayed from his usual path when he created “The Straight Story.” This G-rated Disney movie is touted as Lynch’s most accessible piece and a far cry from his other works.

“This is David Lynch’s view of the wisdom of life when you are 73 years old,” said Peter Schneider, president of Walt Disney Studios. “It’s an ode to America, to human values.”

The film is unlike any of Lynch’s previous films, whereas it lacks the dark and twisted images for which he is famous.

Schneider sees Lynch’s film as “a journey of redemption…that celebrates the aging of America.”

However, Lynch’s unusual cinematic flair is not entirely left out of the movie; the film does remain mildly ambiguous and hardly adheres to strict Hollywod standards.

“The Straight Story” will be shown four times in the Connelly Cinema: Saturday at 7 p.m., Sunday at 3:30 and 7 p.m. and Monday at 7 p.m. Admission is $3 for students and $4 for others.

The Monday evening screening will feature speaker Rich Worland, who teaches at Sputhern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.

Dr. Worland will both introduce the film and lead a discussion.

For further information, students can call the Communication Department at x9-4750, or consult the Cultural Film Series website at