Weekly Review : Journey to the Midwest

Documentary: Troublesome Creek: A Midwestern (1995)
Reviewer: Becky B


This week I picked another snooze-fest for doc and a drink. I can only promise to improve the quality next time…..

This film is a journey to the Midwest – more specifically a journey to a large farm in the Midwest. A farm with a full and interesting history seeded in one family since the 1800s. Today – the farm is on the brink of foreclosure. The Midwest was beautiful – the snow – the crops – the cows. I ate up the cinematography even though it was simple. A simplicity that was mirrored in the main character’s interviews and lifestyle. My secret enjoyment was the use of “old black and white” photos.

The story is narrated by the “daughter”. I found her to be the most annoying part of the film. I was slightly bothered by the extreme sentiment through out the film but severely irritated by her voice! More Character — Less Narrator. Doc and a Drink went form one extreme last week – no narrator – to this week – a bossy overzealous narrator. ISO a healthy median.

On the other hand – My favorite part of the film was the “Grey Garden-esque” moments captured when the family relaxed and interacted among themselves. It seemed honestly full of drama. After all – the family did have to sell everything not nailed down on the farm in order to keep the farm in the family.

Solid but not Exceptional.

3 out of 5 Cheers


One Reply to “Weekly Review : Journey to the Midwest”

  1. I decided that as a case history this film works pretty well – the author/narrator gives a pretty good idea of where this family fits in the history of the United States, Iowa, farming and how the farm crisis affects them.

    As a film though, listening to the narrator talk for 88 minutes straight does get tiresome. The most irritating part is that she kept referring to how most people “idealize” farm-life…and then kept doing it herself.

    When she let her family speak for themselves it was charming. And I did like her “realization” moment at the bank when she interviewed the banker destroying her parents and it dawned on her that (1) he wasn’t going to be sympathetic and (2) there wasn’t really any reason for him to be. He’s going to think like a banker.

    And, as you say, it was darn pretty. The Aschers clearly spent a lot of time and love in the filming of the program. I’d watch it again…with the sound off.


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