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Something Wild

Every now and then something slips in under my radar.

Such was the case with Into the Wild. I'd never heard of the book, and the film's just been released over here. I think I saw a blog post or Twitter tweet about it ("stunning" or "spectacular" or f"ilm of a lifetime" or somesuch. One of the teachers at school told me it was a must-see as well.

So we went to see it yesterday. I knew nothing about it (much to Larry's surprise), save that Sean Penn had directed it (so it probably wasn't the Sondheimian twist on fairy tales that I kept mistaking it for in my mind) and the poster showed a boy on a bus.

Spoilers ahead ...

It was, without question, a beautifully made film. It made me miss (and appreciate) living in Yellowstone that summer so long ago. It made me grateful for relationships and literature and the thrill of all the adventures I've taken and long to take more of.

But it made me so angry. I hope no one thinks this boy was a hero. Tossing aside all logic and sensiblity to prove his illplanned thought-process ... well, I just wanted to slap him. If he'd kept a fration of that $24k, gotten a bit of therapy and worked through his issues, he could have had a much more meaningful and

I know, coulda woulda shoulda ... and it's all subjective, and it's easy to be a Monday morning quarterback.

But still, I wonder why all those he encountered on his journey didn't whack some sense into him. Or at least notifiy the authorities. Was he really that stubborn (I guess he was). Was he really that likeable, or did the movie go out of its way to romanticize the nobility of the righteous loner (and maybe that's how Mr. Penn fancies himself?)?

Yes, by all means, follow your bliss. Yes, be true to your flights of fancy ... but, people, for heaven's sake, do it within (at least a modicum) of reason.

Perhaps this is one of me "oh, I'm just getting old" moments? I dunno. But clearly this guy was bright. What the hell was he thinking? I guess one could argue that, after a point, he wasn't thinking at all. If you're going to idolize Jack London ... pay attention to the people who die in his stories.

On a positve note, the film is stunning, and we both were in tears more than once. Emile Hirsch was brilliant, and I wouldn't be surprised to see Hal Holbrook getting an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.

Oh, and if you want to enjoy a more light-hearted Alaskan search for self, why not give Selfish and Perverse a go? It's funny, warm, and full of wonderful characters.