Thursday, April 10, 2008

Alexander Supertramp

My husband and I rented Into The Wild last week and sat down to watch it. After about an hour I had enough and thought, "Just shut up and die already."
I glance at the clock and was surprised to find out only 25 to 30 minutes had passed. I turned to my husband and asked, "Can we turn it off?"
He nodded in reply.

In the entire history of my movie watching career I have only quit watching one other movie. That was Al Pacino's Bobby Deerfield, the story of a race car driver who loves a dying woman. Surprisingly, I also quit that movie at the point where I thought, "Just shut up and die already."

In case you do not know, Into The Wild is the true story of Chris McCandless who one day walked into the Alaska wilderness with a ten pound bag of rice, a rifle, and a reluctance to kill any animal for food. He was found dead of starvation a little over three months later. My husband and I were looking forward to seeing this movie since we had both enjoyed the book the movie was based on. Boy were we in for a surprise.

Although the film is beautifully photographed is strangely hollow at the core. The lead actor was terrible, almost a zombie, and the dialogue and narration badly written. The story is mostly narrated by the actor playing Chris's sister and her line reading was just like Linda Hamilton's in Terminator 2; especially the scene right after she (Linda Hamilton) shoots Dyson (Joe Morton) and tells him how men like him have screwed up the world.

We bailed out at the point where Chris finds the bus and a large piece of plywood. He takes a knife and starts carving the following word into the wood:

Two years he walks the earth. No phone, no pool, no pets, no cigarettes. Ultimate freedom. An extremist. An aesthetic voyager whose home is the road. Escaped from Atlanta. Thou shalt not return, 'cause "the West is the best." And now after two rambling years comes the final and greatest adventure. The climactic battle to kill the false being within and victoriously conclude the spiritual pilgrimage. Ten days and nights of freight trains and hitchhiking bring him to the Great White North. No longer to be poisoned by civilization he flees, and walks alone upon the land to become lost in the wild.

Alexander Supertramp
May 1992

That was it. I had enough of this kid's grandiose view of himself. Chris McCandless' death was tragic, senseless, and mostly foolish. I don't find that in anyway to be heroic, which may be the reason why this movie annoyed me so much.

John Krakauer's article in Outside Magazine which became a book and then this movie.

Matthew Power's The Cult Of Chris McCandless in Men's Journal.

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