The Straight Story (1999)

(In theaters, January 2002) There are hundreds of jokes to make about an old guy driving a lawnmower across the country, but don’t worry; you will have time to tell them all during the interminable length of The Straight Story, the most conventional -and most lifeless- film ever directed by weirdmaster David Lynch. Here, however, the tepid pace of the film is announced in the very first scene and rarely lets up. You’ll be screaming “No! It can’t be this dull!” in pure futility, given that it is this dull. There’s a pretty good 80-minute film in these 130 minutes, but you’ll have to be severely narcoleptic to find any enjoyment in The Straight Story as it is. To be fair, Richard Farnsworth makes a sympathetic protagonist and the sheer odd nature of his endeavour is admirable. But you can only see so many unrelated scenes before screaming “enough!” and this film reaches that limit only thirty minutes in. I can’t wait to see a non-director’s cut in which the fat is trimmed away. In the meantime, I’ll stay home.

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