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Thread: Walk in the Woods - the movie

  1. #16
    Senior Member Grey J's Avatar
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    I saw it yesterday and would give it 2 stars. It's really more in the buddy movie genre than anything else. One's enjoyment of the film hinges on whether or not you think Nolte's Katz is charming and funny and believable as an AT hiker. Redford is just the straight man but then Redford is only capable of playing Redford anyway. I thought they would use the majesty of the trail and the mountains to greater advantage but there are only a few frames expressing the glory of, shall we say, the views from the top.
    "I am a pilgrim and a stranger"

  2. #17
    Senior Member 1SlowHiker's Avatar
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    I read the book and was in stitches for the first half and will probably read it again. Started a few other Bryson books (the Australia one and? ?) but they just didn’t quite do it for me – too much historical/geographical trivia for me. Still have to try "A short history of everythin"g which is suppose to be his best.
    Saw the movie yesterday. Sorry but I just didn’t care for it. Got a few laughs out of me though it did get a lot out of the rest of the audience which was surprisingly sparse. I liked Nick Nolte’s performance (though the script went overboard on his crassness) but it actually hurt to watch Redford.
    Wish Newman had made it with Redford 10 years ago like originally planned.
    I don’t think there should be any concern about increased use of the AT because this movie. In fact, it may have dulled any slim hopes of mine of ever doing it. - JMHO
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  3. #18
    Senior Member Raymond's Avatar
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    I would like to see it, but I’m skeptical because I never heard of any filming actually taking place around here. Supposedly it was shot in Georgia, but surely they hike further than that. Right??? I also doubt that the movie will have anything about the once sprawling chestnut forests, the endangered fish that were killed, or Bill’s visit to Centralia, Pennsylvania, but who knows. (A few of you above, that’s who.)

    The audio version of the book read by Ron McLarty is the best. His drawling, ‘‘I took the opportunity to switch pillows with Katz’’ always makes me laugh.

    Based on one review that I read, it looks like they even blew it with Mary Ellen, although Kristen Schaal seems like perfect casting.

  4. #19
    Senior Member Peppersass's Avatar
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    I loved the book! I am admittedly a "book about hiking" snob - Into the Wild, Into Thin Air, and Wild all left me irritated that someone would glorify stupidity. (Oddly, Between a Rock and a Hard Place was enjoyable - I think because right from the beginning Aaron Ralston discusses how his reckless behavior endangered others and caused him to lose friends and ultimately got him in hot water. I liked that he acknowledged that).

    Anyway, saw the movie. Redford as Bill Bryson? Stodgy, roundish, big glasses, a helluva lot younger - I don't think Bill Bryson would approve if not for it being THE Redford. IMO he wasn't right for the character.

    I got bored of the dialogue but that's just me. I came for information - how the southern terminus of the AT looked, the people they met, the jar of peanut butter and snacks being thrown out. I came for scenery. I liked the ditzy know-it-all-hiker though. And I enjoyed the whole idea of it. Very funny book.

    I saw Bryson at the UU church in Portsmouth NH years ago and someone asked him if there were any books he never finished. He said yes, one. A Walk in the Woods.

    Apparently he was supposed to write about his adventures as he lived them but he was too exhausted to do that each night and hey, he didn't finish the AT so he told his publishers that he would not be doing this book (this is what he told the crowd). They replied, no, no, you have a contract with us, write the book. So he had to revisit places and recall things and do the research and make stuff up. I was mortified but got over it - its still a very funny book!

    BTW the opening shot of his car has too many numbers on the license plate. If we are going to be picky.
    Peppersass - NEHH, NHW-13/48, NE111-91/115, State HPs-29/50

  5. #20
    Senior Member Raymond's Avatar
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    David Roberts addressed the knack of writing adventure books long ago, and I bet he would not disapprove of ‘‘A Walk in the Woods’’ (the book). I remember he quoted a passage from a book in which the author claimed to be on a rope on a cliff, and a rock fell from above and knocked the cigarette from his mouth. Roberts wrote that he doubted that such a thing had actually happened, but he approved of including it anyway, I think because it read more truthfully than the mundane truth may have. Or something like that.

    We saw Bill Bryson at the Groton, Massachusetts, Public Library in February 2000. Someone asked if he had heard from any of the people he met along the Trail, and he told us that he met the wife and mother of the man and boy who were in the lean-to down south that Bill and Katz took refuge in during a bad snowstorm, the ones who had a cloth rigged up to keep the snow and wind out. So that must have happened, at least. Unless he made up the encounter with the woman, I guess.

    He also told us that it really bothered him that they hadn’t made it to Katahdin, so (he said) Katz was going to join him that summer and they were going to do the last part of the trail together. Never heard any more about that, though. He was also supposed to be doing a book about Cuba, but that must have fallen through as well.

    James Herriot’s books were pretty great, too, but I don’t think he spent each night writing down the conversations he had had during the day so that he could accurately recall them decades later when he was writing his books. He was just getting the sense of various incidents and assembling them in such a way that they would be entertaining to his readers.

    I don’t think it’s fair to characterize ‘‘A Walk in the Woods’’ as a novel, as some recent articles have.

  6. #21
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    When the book came out there were several long term AT folks who searched registers and checked with Hostel owners, they reported that they could easily track Bryson but didn't find any evidence for Katz or anyone else actually hiking with Bryson. I really couldn't care but I know that the controversy raged for awhile.

    I generally regard the book as work of fiction written by an amusing author that knew that his target audience were urban elites who wanted reasons why they would never want to hike the AT.

  7. #22
    Senior Member hikerbrian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peppersass View Post
    I loved the book! I am admittedly a "book about hiking" snob - Into the Wild, Into Thin Air, and Wild all left me irritated that someone would glorify stupidity. (Oddly, Between a Rock and a Hard Place was enjoyable - I think because right from the beginning Aaron Ralston discusses how his reckless behavior endangered others and caused him to lose friends and ultimately got him in hot water. I liked that he acknowledged that).
    Hahaha, funny, I LOVE Into the Wild, Into Thin Air, and Wild because they DON'T glorify stupidity, they present a realistic picture of the very real consequences of stupidity, while Ralston, I feel, DOES glorify stupidity! It's so remarkable that two people, presumably both hikers/outdoorspeople, can read the same set of books and come to wildly different viewpoints about them. I'm sure we could debate into the wee hours whose viewpoint is actually "right" but who cares, it takes all types, as they say. And I value differing viewpoints and have no desire to "convert" anyone to mine. Too funny though, how polar opposite our impressions are!

    So I regard your review as COMPLETELY unreliable. Might go see the movie anyway, there are worse ways to spend a couple of hours...
    Sure. Why not.

  8. #23
    Senior Member Peppersass's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hikerbrian View Post
    Hahaha, funny, I LOVE Into the Wild, Into Thin Air, and Wild because they DON'T glorify stupidity, they present a realistic picture of the very real consequences of stupidity, while Ralston, I feel, DOES glorify stupidity! It's so remarkable that two people, presumably both hikers/outdoorspeople, can read the same set of books and come to wildly different viewpoints about them. I'm sure we could debate into the wee hours whose viewpoint is actually "right" but who cares, it takes all types, as they say. And I value differing viewpoints and have no desire to "convert" anyone to mine. Too funny though, how polar opposite our impressions are!

    So I regard your review as COMPLETELY unreliable. Might go see the movie anyway, there are worse ways to spend a couple of hours...
    My point being that I turned my nose up at other books but loved "Walk in the Woods" - go figure. It appealed to the silly in me. Terribly disappointed they didn't show him tossing the jar of peanut butter. Didn't Katz smoke?
    Peppersass - NEHH, NHW-13/48, NE111-91/115, State HPs-29/50

  9. #24
    Senior Member Grey J's Avatar
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    Real or not, Katz' line in the movie, "I spent half my life drinking and chasing pussy and I wasted the other half" was pretty funny.
    "I am a pilgrim and a stranger"

  10. #25
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    There was a comment that ATC encouraged the movie to downplay non LNT principles thus ditching gear in the woods was downplayed.

  11. #26
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    That's too bad, because in the book, that was some funny stuff

  12. #27
    Senior Member Puma concolor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hikerbrian View Post
    while Ralston, I feel, DOES glorify stupidity!
    This.

    You just moved to the top of my list of favorite VFTTers.

  13. #28
    Senior Member Mike P.'s Avatar
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    May see "Walk" because my wife wants to. Can't decide if I am going to see Everest or not. The special effects of the storm make me feel like they will go way overboard. This wasn't the Blizzard of 88 or 78, it was a storm at the roof of the world. The location is epic, typical weather is a problem but how do you sell that to people. Assume we'll miss the weeks of boring planning that go into a trip like this too and they'll focus on Jon K.'s thoughts that the guides may have been competing to get people up for their own publicity. Competition, (real or inferred) large egos and monster storms make movies the general public may watch. Triple checking ropes not so much.

    Wonder how quickly they will gloss over the small town on the way to base camp that had a few toilets with excrement overflowing and sick westerners just vacating their bowels outside the buildings.....(Was going to grab the book and quote the page but I think you get the picture.... People paid $70K for that kind of experience....)
    Have fun & be safe
    Mike P.

  14. #29
    Senior Member Peppersass's Avatar
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    "while Ralston, I feel, DOES glorify stupidity!"

    No argument that Ralston was living large and stupid but unlike "Wild" there wasn't a happy ending - in reality or in the book, just a very bad outcome. And as I understand it Aaron Ralston is still dealing with infection in that arm.

    I was hooked on "Wild" from page 1 as I liked her writing but wondered if unprepared people were going to venture out hoping they will learn on the trail like she did - the source of my irritation (did not see the movie). I was captivated by Into the Wild and Into Thin Air and yes they too had unhappy endings too but perhaps it was because I felt the allure of those places reading it - I wondered if others were going to go to Alaska looking for a bus to live in.

    It is difficult not feel negative toward the reckless and grossly unprepared and I struggle with that (in spirit I too am a bit like the judgmental hiker that Kristin Schaal plays, though I would never dis your tent!). There are two hiking books I really liked and they are "Just Passin Thru" and AWOL on the Appalachian Trail. Perhaps it's just the mood I am in when I read them.
    Peppersass - NEHH, NHW-13/48, NE111-91/115, State HPs-29/50

  15. #30
    Senior Member Brambor's Avatar
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    I was apprehensive of Wild (the movie) and was pleasantly surprised that I liked it.

    (did not read the book)

    Quote Originally Posted by Peppersass View Post
    "while Ralston, I feel, DOES glorify stupidity!"

    No argument that Ralston was living large and stupid but unlike "Wild" there wasn't a happy ending - in reality or in the book, just a very bad outcome. And as I understand it Aaron Ralston is still dealing with infection in that arm.

    I was hooked on "Wild" from page 1 as I liked her writing but wondered if unprepared people were going to venture out hoping they will learn on the trail like she did - the source of my irritation (did not see the movie). I was captivated by Into the Wild and Into Thin Air and yes they too had unhappy endings too but perhaps it was because I felt the allure of those places reading it - I wondered if others were going to go to Alaska looking for a bus to live in.

    It is difficult not feel negative toward the reckless and grossly unprepared and I struggle with that (in spirit I too am a bit like the judgmental hiker that Kristin Schaal plays, though I would never dis your tent!). There are two hiking books I really liked and they are "Just Passin Thru" and AWOL on the Appalachian Trail. Perhaps it's just the mood I am in when I read them.
    Luck is where preparation meets opportunity.

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