Into the Wild

Monday 26 May 2008

I'm glad I waited to see Into the Wild on DVD. That way I avoided the embarrassment of shrieking and bawling my eyes out in the cinema. Always a good thing.

I agree with Margaret Pomeranz; this movie is almost a masterpiece.

Christopher McCandless has been described in many places as a schizophrenic. It's an interesting summation. Who knows? Perhaps he was. He displays a few schizophrenic tendencies, but I doubt the diagnosis. Really, our society is apt to medicalise and diagnose anything anyone does which is not stock-standard docility (all the better to medicate you with). In another age he would have been considered courageous and brave - and he was. He was also obviously running away. But hey, running away isn't all bad and naughty and negative and irresponsible. Sometimes running away is good, 'cause oftentimes when you're running away you're also running to growth and new experiences and life. It's called having adventures. But really, if you're going to be very safe and sure, you could always have then packaged up by an approved company that will fit them into a nice little white-water-rafting two-week holiday for you. Just to be on the safe side.

I most certainly have a romantic turn of mind and so this guy appealed to me enormously, issues of mental health aside (I suggest we are all perilously close to mental illness at points in our lives, anyway and that's always been the case down through the ages).

I was daydreaming before while I was doing the dishes about the vegetable oil-powered campervan again. It's a recurring dream. I was wondering how I could grow my own vegetables if I was driving around in a van. I came up with the idea of bolting pots to the roof and growing them that way. Which would look really stupendously Devo-ishly Bill-and-Bennishly dumb. But at least I'd be eating healthy :)

I've got an urge to watch this movie again and I've just seen it. I highly recommend it if you haven't already seen it. Afterwards, I'll meet you on the road :) I'll be the one driving the vegetable oil-powered campervan with vegetables on its roof. You can call me Susie Rubbertramp.


  1. Here's a movie I could go on and on about. As for schizophrenic, I hadn't thought that as much as somewhat "tormented". Then again, the movie is not the book, and the book is not the person. I only know how the movie portrayed him. There is too much to his story to reduce it to medical terms. I'm sure Father sees it quite differently.

    I saw it twice. Once on the big screen, with my husband, 9 months ago and again on tv last month. Each time struck differently. The first time it all seemed so larger than life. The adventure, new places, people...and the ending. The second time I felt overwhelmed by the pain and loss in the lives of all those who came to love him. It seems many would have adopted him into their own family.

    It seems that he did come to a peace with God. Words are failing me to express more of how "the ending" affected me.

    Let's see, what else did I take with me from the movie: A new respect for Sean Penn and understanding why his marriage to Madonna was doomed. A love of the soundtrack (I had never paid much attention to Eddie Vedder/Pearl Jam before). The music was perfect for the movie. I also think that leatherworking might be interesting.

    I really could say so much more about this movie. But I think I've put enough in your comments already, Ms. Rubbertramp.

  2. I love your summation in the first paragraph. Yes, Father sees it all differently, doesn't he?

    Like I said, I was just bawling in the ending. There was just so much there. It was really very beautiful. I want to see it again already. It really quite profoundly affected me.

    Sean Penn. He's rather da bomb, isn't he? What an amazing actor, screenwriter and director he is. Have you seen Mystic River?

    Yeah, leatherworking, that looks good :)

  3. Yep yep yep. This was the first DVD I have bought in years (save for kiddie movies). I don't buy often because I find I don't usually watch movies again, but this one broke the mold. I can't even say how it impacted me, some part of my spirit understood his journey and am jealous for someone having a journey that I want.

    Life says I can no longer have adventures, for I have babies and a house and a marriage. I am a good, respectable almost-middle aged woman. I have no room for adventure.

    Then that part of me that says to hell with it all, I haven't seen everything I want to see yet, I am not done with adventure, not until I die.


  4. Im wondering what it is about this kind of journey that seems so appealing to so many people...not because I dont understand it, but it seems to touch some very delicate nerves in us. I wonder what those nerves are connected to?

  5. If you want to see a similar film (true story) in a more realistic and disturbing light, take a squiz at the grizzly man. Now that guy was a little nutty.

  6. Erin - no, I don't think you're done with adventures just yet :)

    Monk - I think the answer to why this resonates so strongly requires a post all its own. Have you seen it? His journey ended up being a great deal more than just about his own experience in the wild by himself, which is where it packed the most punch for me. Community and communion also. Very powerful.

    Grizzly Man - sounds good :)

  7. Erin - I can't help feeling that the answer to why this resonates so strongly with all of us would be very much along the same lines of what we are missing about the Church. Perhaps my Church Manifesto could be included in the same post?

  8. "He's a BIG BEAR."

    That is something Timothy Treadwell said in Grizzly Man and I will never forget it. I watched it a couple times and it is amazing he didn't get eaten sooner. I've wanted to watch Into The Wild but if it is similar to Grizzly Man I might skip it?

    I was just listening this weekend to Donnald Miller talking about the time he lived in the woods for a month with some buddies and how freeing of a feeling it was owning nothing. Interesting. I think if I did it I would choose to go somewhere there is no Grizzlies. :)

  9. That's what I was thinking the crux (or one of them) was for me personally for this movie on the way to work today - simplicity. The whittling down of everything to very little. The removal of so much choice so that suddenly you can see clearer, deeper into reality. The being forced to live in the moment, in the Now.

    I wanna go :)

  10. Kent, Into the wild is alot more sanitized that the grizzly man. Its a movie after all. Thats why I reckon seeing both is a good idea. Into the wild portrays the ideal and possibly romanticises the whole thing(you dont know how close a rendering Penn actually did to the reality - its still fantastic) a bit, where as coz grizzly man is real footage of the real deal, its much more disturbing and confronting.

  11. I loved this movie. I loved this movie. I loved the story. I loved his purity of personhood. I loved the rubbertramps. I loved that his parents came to the end of themselves and had the courage to allow the yuck in their lives to be exposed publicly.

    It was just plain profound.

  12. It is not romanticised, Monk, it's how it really happened ;)

    Jennifer - i loved his personhood too, and those rubbertramps - well, I aspire to be a rubbertramp :)

    I was wondering about his parents, how much of how it was portrayed how it really happened. When the father crumpled to the ground I was blubbering. but it was the old dude that wanted to adopt him as his grandfather that really got me blubbering.

    I loved this movie i loved this movie i loved this movie too too too

  13. I never saw Grizzly Man, because I heard it was gory..? Anyone testify to that?

  14. Sounds a bit gory if bears are ripping his guts out. Not a movie to be eating chicken parmagiana with :)

  15. no grizzly man is not gory.

  16. hi Sue
    the amount of comments here testifies to the original reviews I read when this movie first came out
    strong responses
    different responses
    but responses
    and any movie that can get people to respond is worth adding to the Webflicks list

  17. Hey Kel. Yep, definitely worth adding it to the list.

  18. Ok Ms. Rubbertramp, I found you a vehicle. All the leathertramps jaws will drop when they see you cruising up in this
    Though it isn't in the original design, I'm sure something can be worked out for your rooftop veggies. :)Of course the Hummer-esque price tag will probably require that you make the commitment to actually live in it.

  19. The commitment to actually live in it? For 69 grand I'd have to kill off my parents first AND live in it :) I wonder, what hippies can afford 69 grand? (unless they've avoided the cops and just sold a stinkin' giant crop :)

    Maybe they're marketing it to baby boomers who hopped off the hippy trail in the 80s, got greedy, hit the stockmarket, bought up big dot coms, got out in time to become hippies in the late 90s and now they're cashed up, they can go back to being hippies again :)

  20. Well...I used to work with a lady who had an old blue pickup truck that she built a wood house on. She sealed it well and lived in it for several years. She met people along her way who would allow her to used their bathroom and eat with them in exchange for light work and she floated like that for a long time.

    When I worked with her she'd settled down a bit and worked as a clown in Seattle while renting a studio apt. We worked at a "sprout farm" together and we were all fascinated by her. Sprout farms attract interesting people :)

  21. Wow - she sounds fascinating. Society would say she is a freak and irresponsible, but maybe she's just free, huh? Sounds like it to me :)

    Funny, years ago I did one of those career aptitude test things - yuk, I always hated doing those. The things I always scored well on were things that just felt way out of my league - like writer and movie director and stuff. Oh, and a clown. I remember one of my best jobs for me to do was as a clown. Everyone else thought it was hilarious (it was some church thing I did). I kinda laughed weakly but felt a bit insulted, really :) Still, I wish I had the guts to be a clown.

    I remember seeing a clown driving down the road a few years ago on his way to a children's party. It made me laugh :)

  22. The verdier van does come across as "Barbie's Eco Dream Bus". I can't really imagine anyone driving such a thing would allow a leathertramp into its interior without requiring the guest to have a solar powered shower first. It does get innovation points though. I have another idea for you. Actually, it's a interesting little video...more along the lines of simplicity.

  23. I wouldn't allow myself into the interior without having a solar powered shower. And it feels kinda like a Swedish sauna on wheels, or something.

    Now, this chick, this is really really cool :) We should, like, ALL live like this, and then we can drive over to each other's houses and just stay the night!

    Except that wouldn't work because if everyone owned one of these, no one would own land for us to put them on :)

    I really do love the whole campervan idea. I wonder if I will ever really do it? Thanks for the links. Very cool :)

  24. Heh my husband wants one of those Verdier things.

    Here. How about that? That's where you find the house that Dee Williams has (the link Cheryl put up).

  25. Oh, cool! But gee, they're pretty small, aren't they? I like a lot of space. But maybe, in that kind of place, your mindset would be different. Maybe it would be feeling much more like your world is your backyard (and your oyster) and so you wouldn't feel cramped? I don't know. But I know that in one way I have been forever spoiled by living in a totally cool house with giant rooms and massive ceilings and it just felt ... right :) Just maybe not environmentally.


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