Into the Wild
If you’re reading this site then hopefully you’re not the kind of person ashamed to admit it when a movie has a profound affect on you. There is something a little potentially cringe worthy about saying Into the Wild had such an affect, though, it conjures up images of pretentious psuedo intellectuals with little common sense, shunning society for a more primal lifestyle that they themselves are the least of anyone prepared to survive. In fact on my first time viewing the movie, that was my impression of Christopher McCandless himself, up until the point where he and Catherine Keener’s character are talking about her runaway son, they get called away for dinner, McCandless get up takes a few steps, stops, turns back and says “You want to come and eat? Or we’ll sit here. Because I will sit here with you all night.” It’s the first and one of the few times you see the real him, and not a defence mechanism of quotes and philosophical bullshit, just a decent guy showing compassion to another wounded human being.
There’s a lot of crap spewed by McCandless, and some small wisdoms, and those will vary from viewer to viewer, they’re the type of things that are simple and obvious, but we have a way of ignoring exactly that type of advice in favour of schemes and systems of making your life better. Anyway enough rambling, the things I took from Into The Wild were.
Decide what you want from life and go after it 100% don’t care if people think you’re crazy.
This seems to be a lesson I learn, forget and need retaught to me over, and over. Not the worrying about over people part, because other people tend to be boring dicks, whose opinions I couldn’t care less about, it’s the 100% thing I lack, I’ll start at 100% get distracted and distracted till I’m down at 0%, stall out, then get reinvigorated later. It’s something I’m working on, but I suck.
The other thing was to get outside and do things. You’ve all seen Lord of Rings, you know what my country fucking looks like, and yet I spent all my working life indoors in grimy butcheries, Grungy warehouses, or in front of a computer all day, My free time all spent in front of screens of varying sizes, where I could pretend I was doing something exciting or watch someone else’s memories played out in front of me. I saw Into the Wild and said to hell with this.
I had no aspiration or inclination to live off the land or test myself against Mother Nature, but I did want to be out in it, to see beauty with my own eye, not through someone else’s lens. I started off doing some fun things like visiting a place with lots of weird rock formations, and walked through river cave, That was a blast, it took about an hour and it was exactly what I wanted, an experience, a thing where I could say that was a thing I actually did and it was cool to do, which lead me immediately to…
Climbing a mountain. You’d think I might have taken a few steps in between gentle river cave journey and Climbing (I say climbing but more like hiking with some light clambering involved) a mountain, but I didn’t know which steps there were, so a mountain it was.
Here’s the weird thing about climbing a mountain, almost all of it sucks, 15 minutes in and my legs were on fire I couldn’t get enough air and on and on it was painful. Why do it then? Climbing a mountain gets used as a metaphor for accomplishing a really hard task a lot, so much so that it’s a total cliché, however it’s not until you’ve climbed one you realize how perfect a fit it is. Every step is painful, the mountain doesn’t want you to climb it, gravity doesn’t want you to climb it, but you take another step. You go beyond what your body was designed for and what you thought you were capable of. I’m an underachieving, lazy, procrastinating kind of guy, and found a way to not give up, to keep going and get to the top (this is where the metaphor falls apart because going back down again is probably even harder than going up).
That’s what sticks with you, more than the views (that were amazing), you feel like you just did something impossible, and it changes the way you see your surroundings, before mountains and hills were backdrops, matte paintings, things seen, but not interacted with, now they’ve become possibilities.
Which is why For this New Years I’m climbing a bigger one, in fact the first peak old Sir Edmund Hillary climbed, then I’m doing a 2 day walk followed by a 4 day walk through a rain-forest and up another mountain, a mountain with caves in it! I’m gonna smell so bad I can’t wait.
I hope this hasn’t come off as boastful or baggy, I just wanted to acknowledge how profound on impact on your life a movie can have if you let it, and maybe inspire some of you to not necessarily go climb a mountain but go do something that you’ve always kind of thought about doing but always found an excuse to avoid.
Time for the second Short movie, I know what you’re thinking, yeah the last one was fine but it needed more Lucky Nightsticks’ songs, and puppet mutilation. Asked and Answered.