(The Disneycember logo is shown, before showing clips from The Straight Story)
Doug (vo): Last year, I ended Disneycember with Infinity War, one of the biggest Marvel movies, if not, biggest movies that was ever made at the time. This year, I'm finishing it with something that's the exact opposite in every way possible, The Straight Story. Chances are, you never even heard of it. It's a David Lynch movie unlike any David Lynch movie, and I wanted to end Disneycember on it because...it honestly changed the way I look at cinema. I know that sounds strange, and honestly, it'll sound even stranger if you've seen the film. But this really was a movie that kind of forced me to watch other movies in a new light.
Doug (vo): The story, based on real-life events, is about as simple as you can imagine. There's an old farmer who's been estranged from his brother for years. News reaches him, though, that he's deathly ill, and there's a chance he may never see him again. The farmer is very old and doesn't have good enough eyesight to have a driver's license, so he does the only thing he can think of. He gets on his little lawn tractor and he drives days and days and days to go see his brother.
Doug (vo): And, I'll be brutally honest, it's as boring as it sounds. This movie, in many respects, is insufferable. When I saw the trailer and I heard all the good things said about it, I thought the idea was, "Oh, he's gonna come across all these people, whose lives he changed and really touched their hearts." And, yeah, there's one or two, but a lot of it is just him on this goddamn little machine. He doesn't really talk to himself, there's no inner monologue, it's not exactly like he's the most complicated guy, he's actually very simple. We just see him on this stupid thing, see where he takes breaks and relaxes for the night or eats or whatever, once in a while, and I do mean a while, come across a person, and then he's back on the road. It is relentlessly monotonous. Most of the time, I was asking myself, "Why am I watching this? Why did this get rave reviews? Why was everyone saying this is really, really great?" In fact, how is this even a David Lynch movie? I remember his films have all this weird shit and abstract imagery, and it's always left really vague what they're about. But this, I don't know, are we supposed to imagine the abstract imagery there, like maybe he's hallucinating? I just...none of this seems to be adding up to me.
(As various clips continue to show, we are shown several clips focusing on the film's final scenes)
Doug (vo): But then, we get to the ending, and I won't ruin it, though, honestly, there's not a ton to ruin. When he finally gets there, everything made sense. And to some, maybe it won't. Maybe you'll just be like, "I just watched this damn movie of this guy on this stupid-ass little tractor for, like, an hour-and-a-half. I want my friggin' money back." And I would totally understand that. I wouldn't be like, "Oh, I'm above you, I get the secret meaning or anything." It's like...no, I get it. There's people that are just not gonna get into this at all, and I completely sympathize. But for me, I realized this film was all about the journey, it was all about showing how boring, how slow, how monotonous, and how long this took just to see his brother. It's kind of like those movies where people go through these terrible things and they suffer, but they make it at the end, and they're like, "Wow, now I see the value of life. I see the importance of our actions." In this very strange, super, super, super-simple film, I got a similar feeling. The reason this changed the way I look at movies is because it made me realize an entire movie can completely transform literally in the last minute. I've never seen a film do that before, go from something that was so annoying, so boring, so hard to sit through, and then suddenly, at the end, you're like, "Oh, my God, I get it. I get everything that this person went through." It challenges me in both a complex but also very simple way, which I think David Lynch is all about. I like how he takes the medium and he tries to do things that aren't conventional, he doesn't always have to go beginning, middle and end, it doesn't always have to be a character arc, it doesn't always have to be something that's been done a million times. It feels like he always tries to go to that realm of being half-awake and half-asleep, that weird in-between that's hard to explain, but exists, that world in-between being conscious and unconscious. And even in a movie like this with him just driving on this road, it kinda works that way. Whether he's going in and out of focus or even you're going in and out of focus, it creates a unique experience.
Final thought Edit
Doug (vo): And like I said before, it may not be your experience, and I really want to emphasize that's totally relatable. This is not one of those movies where if you like it, you understand the meaning of life or something, you're suddenly a lot deeper. All I can say is, it changed the way I looked at film as an art form, in the most simple, different, and aggravating way that I feel only David Lynch could do. The Straight Story is both exactly that and anything but. It even has a G rating. How often do you see that in a film that's not meant for kids? The unconventional yet clever way it tells this simple story, I think is just brilliant. And if it's not something you get into, fair enough. But I do say it is worth taking a chance to see if you do. Maybe it'll leave a major impact, maybe it'll leave no impact. But I adored it for everything it did and everything it didn't do.
(Footage of various Disney movies, TV shows, and shorts play out)
Doug (vo): And, folks, that's it for this year's Disneycember. I think I'm gonna keep doing this where I just kind of review everything that Disney does over the years, there's no real theme or connection, but I kind of like adding to it every year as well. So next year, I'll still look over their movies, modern and old, animated and live-action, and I'll also throw in their TV shows. But I think every year, I'll add a different element to it, too, some new angle or genre I haven't looked at yet. I love doing this every year and I'm so thankful that everybody comes back and listens to what I have to say, it's just the nicest feeling knowing that people share the same love for cinema, and Disney, and hand-drawn animation, CG animation, live-action, whatever. It's always a ton of fun to talk about, and I can't wait to talk about it next year. Thanks once more, and I'll see you then.
(The Disneycember logo is shown once more)