The girlfriend and I saw this movie last weekend. It's been nominated for scads of awards and has already won a bunch.
"INTO THE WILD is based on a true story and the bestselling book by Jon Krakauer. After graduating from Emory University in 1992, top student and athlete Christopher McCandless (Hirsch) abandons his possessions, gave his entire $24,000 savings account to charity and hitchhiked to Alaska to live in the wilderness. Along the way, Christopher encounters a series of characters that shape his life"
What follows isn't a movie review, but it does contain a lot of SPOILERS. So if you haven't seen the movie yet, are planning to, and don't want me to ruin it for you, stop reading now!
Because it really is a good movie and deserves all of those awards. It's a great story, Emile Hirsch is fantastic as is Hal Holbrook, Vince Vaughn and the rest of the cast. Sean Penn did a great job with the material and it is worthy of your box office bucks.
You can always come back here after you have seen the movie and read what I have to say then.
One more time, SPOILER ALERT!!!
This movie, as stated above, is about neo-pseudo-hippy Christopher McCandless. He accidently discovered that the normal, white, upper-middle-class-suburban life that he had grown up with was built on a foundation of lies.
Wah. Wah. Wah.
According to Krakauer's book and Sean Penn's movie, this caused Chris to go on a Kerouacesque, soul searching voyage of self discovery, following his Thoreau-like dream to find himself and paradise in the stark wilderness of Alaska. Become the next Jack London.
How very romantic!
(the above is a picture of Chris McCandless taken from a roll of film found in his camera.)
Truth is, the guy was a total fucktard. He couldn't come to terms with the fact that his parents lied to him, he was all stressed out by the pressure that his asshole father put on him, and he straight up ran away.
He was a pussy.
He filled his head with all sorts of hippy ideas, and ran off into the wilderness.
This guy pissed away a college education and a trust fund. He shunned, the corporate rat race, but had no problem working at McDonalds or as an agricultural laborer when he needed money to continue his "spirtual" journey.
But this hippy-wannabe didn't bother to learn the skills that even the most radical, back-to-earth stoners learned 30 years before.
Instead of reading Thoreau, London and Kerouac, he should have read the Whole Earth Catalog.
Or even some Foxfire books.
He wandered into the Denali National Park, six million acres, 9,419 square miles of primitive wilderness, with a bag of rice, a .22 caliber rifle (which he had no experience with), and a head full of bullshit.
Not surprisingly, he died.
Cold, hungry, possibly poisened by his own stupidity about edible plants, and alone.
Ironically enough, he died in the shell of an abandoned Achorage city bus. Purposely left there by moose hunters as a shelter. Complete with a wood burning stove, some supplies and a matress.
Pretty cushy, if you ask me.
In all that vast wilderness, he managed to find the only rusted relic of the urban civilization he was supposedly fleeing. It was that very thrown-away husk of society that kept him alive for the rest of his short life.
Much has been made of his epic and heroic effort to survive in the wild by virtue of his wits and will.
No, he was an idiot. An idiot with issues, perhaps, but still an idiot.
Suicide by wilderness!
You should read an Alaskan Park Ranger's assesment of Chris McCandless.
"Some like McCandless, show up in Alaska, unprepared, unskilled and unwilling to take the time to learn the skills they need to be successful. These quickly get in trouble and either die by bears, by drowning, by freezing or they are rescued by park rangers or other rescue personnel–but often, not before risking their lives and/or spending a lot of government money on helicopters and overtime.
When you consider McCandless from my perspective, you quickly see that what he did
wasn’t even particularly daring, just stupid, tragic and inconsiderate.
First off, he spent very little time learning how to actually live in the wild. He arrived at the Stampede Trail without even a map of the area. If he had a good map he could have walked out of his predicament using one of several routes that could have been successful. Consider where he died. An abandoned bus. How did it get there? On a trail. If the bus could get into the place where it died, why couldn’t McCandless get out of the place where he died?
The fact that he had to live in an old bus in the first place tells you a lot. Why didn’t he have an adequate shelter from the beginning? What would he have done if he hadn’t found the bus? A bag of rice and a sleeping bag do not constitute adequate gear and provisions for a long stay in the wilderness.
No experienced backcountry person would travel during the month of April. It is a time of transition from winter’s frozen rivers and hard packed snow with good traveling conditions into spring’s quagmire of mud and raging waters where even small creeks become impassible. Hungry bears come out of their dens with just one thing in mind— eating.
Furthermore, Chris McCandless poached a moose and then wasted it. He killed a
magnificent animal superbly conditioned to survive the rigors of the Alaskan wild then, inexperienced in how to preserve meat without refrigeration (the Eskimos and Indians do it to this day), he watched 1500 pounds of meat rot away in front of him. He’s lucky the stench didn’t bring a grizzly bear to end his suffering earlier. And in the end, the moose died for nothing."
I'm just glad he died without producing any children.
This, my friends, is Natural Selection at work.