Given that the days are so long (which I looove), John and I opted for the long, 2.5 hour "Into the Wild" after dinner. After "Grizzly Man" I thought I'd had my fill of Alaska "survival" movies (sorry: spoiler). And now I really have. I mean, I guess the character in Wild was somewhat more compelling, and definitely a lot more sympathetic than the wild-eyed freako bear lover in GM. And Sean Penn gets a few extra degree-of-difficulty points for dramatizing severe hunger. Frankly I expected more scenes like the one 3/4 of the way through of the kid running around going "I'm hungry! I'm hungry!" because goodness knows that is what I would do. Hell, I do it just about every day around 4:30. This is why I am afraid to go backpacking.
But. Having not read the Krakauer book, but doubting that Krakauer is quite as self-seriously introspective as the movie, I wonder to what extent Penn was trying to portray this kid as some sort of hero/victim. And if he was a victim, then of what? His youth? "Society" (one of the Eddie Vedder original track titles, insert rolling eyes here)? Chance? Nature? After the movie I had the vague sense that Penn was all "I can't go to Alaska? Because I'm in Hollywood? But if I could, I'd be pretty tragic and shit too." Sigh. JM made the excellent point that this is where Grizzly Man was tons better: when Werner Herzog does the voiceover at the end and tells us, in his thick german accent, that people probably shouldn't fuck with nature, we know exactly where the director/producer guy stands. But with "Wild" all we really know is that Penn likes to make his cuts jumpy.
Oh, and Christian Bale's weight loss for "The Machinist" was far more impressive. So impressive that his weight loss is all I could remember about that movie; JM had to remind me what the plot was.