T: I read Wild at the exact perfect moment. I, like Cheryl, was also suffering what could only be called a quarter-life crisis when I stumbled across this memoir. Although not nearly as much of (what I can only summarize as) a fuck-up as Cheryl (me=divorce; Cheryl=divorce, infidelity, drug abuse, abortions, etc), her story allowed me to evaluate my own life and the necessary steps one must take on the road to redemption. The movie is no different and in fact brings with it its own sense of color and vibrancy. The movie captures the loneliness of Cheryl’s 1000+ mile journey and the real dangers that were presented: predators (both animal and human); starvation, isolation, self-reflection. Part of the charm of the movie is the way the director is able to weave reoccurring images of Cheryl as a child and Cheryl as wild child, and how those two merged into the sweaty, sodden, PCT (code for Pacific Crest Trail) Cheryl. With that said, its difficult for me to fully praise the movie knowing how much better the book was (insert cliche’ lamentation of a book nerd). Side note: cheers to the person who decided Simon and Garfunkel’s El Condor Pasa (If I Could) should serve a prominent role in this film. It’s a rare thing when a song can thematically evoke feelings mirrored by the film itself. #madprops

RV: Over the summer, I did several camping trips with the local boy scout troop  (Disclaimer: I am no boy scout, nor will I ever be). They needed a mildly fit adult to do several 24 mile hikes with them. Having lived through the brutal hell of hiking and camping only those short distances, I have no idea how Cheryl did the PCT. It’s a gigantic undertaking that the film captures the best it can, but yet I know that there was absolutely no way the film could capture the real pain and tedium of those long marches in what amounts to several brief shots and montages. So by default, the film could never be more than just a blurry look at the actual picture of what she accomplished. Now, I know that the story was about more than just the hike, but it could have been more about the hike. The framing of the movie is both its strength and ultimately its weakness. Though the device works perfectly to tell this kind of story, Cheryl’s backstory is so heavy that it could have served as a film by itself. This results in a situation where it starts to feel like you are actually watching two separate movies.

4 Red Vines – 127 Hours meets Nymphomaniac.

3.5 Twizzlers – Not as good as the book, but as good as it should be.

Hey! While hiking the PCT, Cheryl was stuck eating mostly granola (or ‘mush’ as she so lovingly called it). Here’s a recipe for homemade granola that – I’m sure – tastes far better than what she had. Pack it for your next camping trip and you’ll be all set: Homemade Granola Recipe

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