Dec 24, 2007

Men at the Movies

Last night’s outing to see Into the Wild let us appreciate 1) the dinner we ate beforehand, and 2) the self-restraint that tempers our most anti-social impulses. Larry’s son, Eric, commented afterwards that he felt Chris McCandless “did it for others.” As I drove away I found myself in agreement with Eric, which is not how I felt after reading the book. Sean Penn’s film makes McCandless into more of a reactionary (against family) than a true soloist. So, Eric, take Garth's and John's advice and remember to love your father after you leave home!

The movie was nicely unsettling, if a little long at 2 1/2 hours. Peter felt the movie lagged in the middle as it hewed too closely to Krakauer's account. But John disagreed (easy for him with his large capacity bladder). We all seemed to like the Eddie Vedder soundtrack. Just the right haunting notes and aching melodies for a (non) survival story like this.

It’s too bad that two of our group showed up for beverages but skipped the main event. Jeff, at least, had proof that he was on a mission: his spreadsheet would have made Santa blush! But Roy’s protests were unpersuasive. His shopping story dissolved into sheer homophobia when he adamantly refused to be seen watching movies with other men.

But we reserve most of our opprobrium for Dan, who promised us free drinks but wouldn't join us out of a sense of obligation to his wife AND his in-laws! Dan, for the sake of half our species, we ask that you turn in your man card NOW!

The evening was a nice respite from the craziness of the holidays. Tom, we missed you but thanks again for the Krakauer recommendation.


  1. Good write up about your Into the Wild outing. I liked that movie a lot, but not as much as the book; then again I am more of a book guy. Sean Penn definitely had an idea and tried to prove why Chris headed off to Alaska, whereas Krakauer left it more open ended by including all the other stories of solo-ists. I wonder if Krakauer has a more definite feel for the "whys" of Chris's story fifteen years after the fact.

    Good humor with that other book group's email. Jeeeeez . . .thirty five members . . .shorter books . . .no beer or single malt . . .I'm not even sure that qualifies as a book group, "reading circle" maybe! Ah well, to each his/her own!

    Hope you guys are all well and surviving the holidays. Be in touch when you can. How are you liking the Boyle book?

  2. Thanks, Jeff. I didn't love the movie, but only b/c I felt Penn didn't take enough risks with Krakauer's material. He had a few interesting takes on McCandless, and benefited from an all-star cast, but the editing was uneven and the movie felt ponderous. I have the same problem with the Harry Potter movies, but in their defense they have these iconic (hate that word) books to measure up to.

    As for the woman's email about her book group, I really had to restrain myself from responding more tartly. I guess the internet (and blogging )does that to people. They assume this is one big conversation and their breathless contributions are just as relevant as the next person's...

    Boyle's Tortilla Curtain is very satisfying. Am looking forward to our forthcoming debate b/w the tortured liberals in the group and the pragmatists (who can't admit to being Republican in Marin County).