50 Movies for 50 States Part Two: The `80s — #15 – Iowa, Film – Miles From Home

#15 – Iowa, Miles From Home

Miles From Home (1988), produced by Braveworld Productions and J&M Entertainment, directed by Gary Sinise, written by Chris Gerolmo, with Richard Gere, Kevin Anderson, Penelope Ann Miller, Brian Dennehy, Helen Hunt and Laurie Metcalf, cinematography by Elliot Davis and Robert Levi, original music by Robert Folk, editing by Jane Schwartz Jaffe, filmed in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Worthington, Iowa and the surrounding area

I’m desperately trying to find something to say about Miles From Home. I’m failing miserably.

I watched Miles From Home three weeks ago before my little holiday hiatus — or at least I think I did because I barely remember it. Perhaps extra terrestrials abducted me some time between Christmas and New Year’s and selectively wiped my memory of anything having to do with this film. Or perhaps — and this is probably more likely the case — it just wasn’t a very memorable movie.

I could re-watch it, but it was hard enough gathering the strength to watch it the first time. Richard Gere has never excited me as an actor and farming isn’t a topic that interests me. A good movie is a good movie, regardless of its subject matter or leading man. The Straight Story, another Iowa movie, is about an old man riding to Wisconsin on a tractor to visit his estranged brother. That’s it and it’s STILL an incredible movie. Regardless, I need at least some coercing factors to motivate me to watch a film, let alone RE-watch it. (The Straight Story‘s coercing factor being that it was directed by one of my favorite filmmakers, David Lynch.) That Miles From Home is “the movie where Richard Gere plays a farmer” is not enough to make me jump up off of the couch and throw on the DVD. Of course, I could always watch it again for the benefit of the Web site — “taking a hit for the team,” as they say.

Or not.

Here’s what I can remember about Miles From Home.

It’s fairly well acted. Although Gere is an exception, much of the cast had been members of Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theater Company, of which director Gary Sinise is a co-founder. Performance-wise, for better or worse, it does feel very “theatrical”, although this may have as much to do with the script as the ability of the actors and actresses. Essentially, Miles From Home is a melodrama. Within those constraints, everyone does a pretty good job.

It’s well filmed. Everything is by the book. Everything is lit properly. No visible boom mics. It feels authentic.

Script-wise, the pacing is good. There are no real lulls. It moves. It’s never boring.

So I’m at a loss why I found this movie so unmemorable. I’m almost sure that someone else will take something away from this movie that I did not. For me, a complete inability to identify with Miles From Home hindered my ability to retain anything significant from it.

Miles From Home, it’s not you. It’s me.

Next week: Kansas


50 Movies for 50 States Contest Scoreboard

@iceybloop – 2

@ZeekZombieMan – 1

@DraconicVerses – 2

@VicarOfVHS – 2

@ghwalters – 4

@lowdudgeon – 2

@unclegeeky – 2

@LCosgrove – 4

@GCDB – 2

Every Tuesday, a new screenshot. Guess the movie, win 2 points. Remember: Only dirty cheaters use IMDb to play the 50 Movies for 50 States guessing game. If you’re a cheater, I will find you out and scold you.

Want to play? Follow Matt on Twitter at @CM_MattDunn.

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