Friday, October 19, 2007


Friday Movie Review

Went with Kit to the Mayan to see Into the Wild, a long and very sad movie about the years of a strange but likable young man's life after graduation from Emory University through his trip to Alaska, which looked pretty beautiful, in the early 90s. The lead, who renames himself Alexander Supertramp, was played by Emile Hirsch, a new face for me, but only because he looked a lot different in his earlier work, including the well done The Dangerous Lives of Alter Boys. He was great, but I left feeling I didn't get the real, whole deal about Alex.

The movie was directed by disappointing actor and political pundit Sean Penn. He did fine as a director. It is based on yet another Jon Krakauer book (Into Thin Air, Under the Banner of Heaven), and I believe I read a few chapters or a shortened version many years ago in Rolling Stone or somewhere. So I knew the end. I think it's better if you don't.

I recall bumming around with little money, a backpack and the youthful ability to sleep nearly anywhere, but I did it in Europe. Not the same. We really do live in a big and beautiful country.
That's what Alex wants to do rather than go to Harvard Law School. He thinks being a back pack bum is authentic and he's serving the Truth. I can't tell if he's suffering from some sort of mental illness which prevents him from making lasting human connections (but he is a hit with a lot of people, so it's clearly a difficult question). He ends with the journal entry: Happiness is only real when it's shared. Hmmm? Odd entry for a dedicated loner.

I'm impressed that the real Alex brought down a moose with a Remington nylon semi-automatic .22 (Model 66?). Must have put one through the eye. I'm disappointed in the real Alex that he didn't do more to get fish for his larder, such as it was. There had to have been a ton of fish all in waking distance. He speared a small one, once. Note to survivalists in Alaska--fish weirs. Look it up.

We're left with the waste of it all, rash youth, full of zest and an apparent infinite capability to stoically take anything, well, almost anything life has to offer and it all goes horribly wrong. He couldn't get past his hatred of his parents and the 'insight' he has about some people not feeling worthy of love, which he tells the large hippy on the Oregon beach, is clearly about himself. Stoics were indifferent to love and happiness as well as privation, after all.

The movie sticks with you. That's not necessarily a good thing. Did I tell you it was sad already?


"The movie was directed by disappointing actor and political pundit Sean Penn."

Disappointing actor? Whats that supposed to mean? If this is a dig at Penn's acting work I suggest you go back and review Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Mystic River, The Falcon and the Snowman, Dead Man Walking, ect, ect
and then reconsider this statement.

I guess you can mix your politics with your critical opinions about art but let's not be rediculous.
I admit that he was a promising young actor and I like Fast Times at Ridgement High a lot and he is about the star of the show, but he's been in a ton of movies and only a few are good and he good in them. The other three mentioned are either not that good or he's not that good. I was disappointed that he didn't make more good films. Show me how my taste in movies is objectively wrong. He certainly is a disappointing political pundit unless you like your commentary disjointed and shallow although his taste in proto dictators is spot on.
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