Thursday, March 19, 2015

FUCK YEAH, BITCHES! LAST FUCKING REVIEW OF WILD!

I just watched "Wild" for the last time and I'm so excited about the fact that I will never have to watch this movie again that I'm genuinely tempted to post this whole fucking review in caps.

I will control myself.

For now.

Okay.  Let's do this shit.


We left off with the TYB worshipping Cheese and giving her the trail name she always wanted and blargh, fuck that noise.

In my original notes-- when I had actually watched this piece of shit all the way through-- my writing was nearly illegible even to me because I'd been writing so fast and I ultimately had to go back and take more notes with every viewing, partially because my original notes made little sense to me.  Today, before I started the last segment of the movie, I looked at my original notes and laughed aloud when I saw,

"Day 80.  OMG, THE LLAMA."

I had forgotten what a treat I was in for.

Holy fuck.  Here we go.

So, Cheese is walking through the wilderness when BLAM, llama.  What.  The fuck.  Nope.

Anyway, because sure, pffffft, whatever, yeah!  Llama!  Happens all the time!  Ask any hiker!

As Cheese is making friends with the random llama, an old lady and a little boy show up out of nowhere and the old lady is all, "You got him, thanks," and I gotta admit, I was Full WTF even though I knew this was coming.  This whole scene is just so random and crazy and weird and there's no chance in hell it ever really happened.

Old Lady and Little Boy introduce themselves as Vera and Kyle, respectively, and the llama's name is Shooting Star because that's totally what I would name a llama.  Anyway, get ready for the creepiest fucking movie scene that isn't in a horror movie.

It's drizzling and miserable and Cheese asks Kyle, "Are you enjoying your hike today?"  Creepiest fucking response ever, Kyle is all, yes I'm loving it what does your soul taste like "I'm having a wonderful time, thank you so much for asking," and I shift uncomfortably in my seat while wondering who the fuck was responsible for the casting in this movie (WAY TO FUCKING GO, DAVID RUBIN, THIS ISN'T FUCKING "CHILDREN OF THE CORN").  Little Damien says, "(mumble, gurgle) my grandmother is looking after me because I have some problems I'm not supposed to talk about with strangers," and holy fuck, how many dead bodies has this kid left in his wake.

Vera and Cheese share a meaningful look after Kyle says this because it's creepy as fucking hell apparently Kyle has experienced some sort of traumatic experience when he murdered his family with his mind and Cheese tries to make everything better by saying, "Everybody has problems."  The conversation goes downhill from there until the demon child offers to sing Cheese a song and this is what was happening on my end while this shit was going down:

Nothing about this is okay.
 
 
So, yeah, Kyle sings "Red River Valley" for Cheese and none of this is okay with me because I'm pretty sure that kid is the devil.  Cheese finally walks away, only to fall to her knees and cry for no apparent reason.  She looks up at the trees and says, "I miss you.  God, I miss you," and I can't even.  Not after what just went down.  Satan?  Do you miss Satan?  I'm not touching this.
 
Suddenly, nighttime.  Burning book pages.
 
HOLY SHIT, THIS IS IT, the big climax of the movie.  I will warn you now: it's one of those climaxes that you either fake or force when you're with someone with whom you're really not that into and the climax ends up being even more disappointing than if you had opted to spend your evening alone at home watching cat videos on Youtube.
 
Get ready.
 
And let me tell you now that I had to watch this last scene MULTIPLE TIMES in order to ensure I could quote it correctly, so, you know, recognize, bitches.
 
Cheese reaches the Bridge of the Gods and cue voiceover:
 
"It took me years to be the woman my mother raised.  It took me four years, seven months and three days to do it.   *Without her.*  After I lost myself in the wilderness and my grief, I found my own way out of the wilderness.  And I didn't even know where I was going until I got there on the last day of my hike.  'Thank you,' I thought, over and over again, for everything the trail had taught me, and everything I couldn't yet know."
 
Notes: "OMFG KILL ME, OH GOD, BLARGH"

She says some crap about how she would eventually meet her husband and have two kids and I seriously can't even begin to pretend to care anymore--
 
Notes: "TOO MUCH OVERWROUGHT BULLSHIT, CAN'T TAKE IT, BRAIN SHUTTING DOWN"
 
--and then the voiceover continues.
 
"I knew only that I didn't need to reach with my hands anymore, that seeing the fish beneath the surface of the water was enough--" (notes read: she is looking at the sky at this point)-- "that it was everything."  CGI FOX ON BRIDGE.  "My life, like all lives, mysterious, irrevocable and sacred, so very close, so very present, so very belonging to me.  How wild it was... to let it be."
 
SIMON AND GARFUNKEL, THE END.
 
 
FUCK THIS MOVIE RIGHT IN THE FACE.
 
 
Holy shit.  It's over.

 



27 comments:

  1. WTF? That's it? That's the end? That's how they chose to wrap it up?

    OMFG, I want to punch everyone involved in this film right square in the face.

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    1. I literally just clutched my chest, raised my face toward the sky and laughed so fucking hard.

      Yes, Good Cheryl, this is how the movie ended.

      I've been trying to tell all of you from the start that the movie was awful. DO YOU BELIEVE ME NOW?

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  2. I always believed you. No one could make this shit up.

    Except Cheryl Strayed.

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  3. Sweet Little Bits O' Shit! THAT'S IT?

    Even Stephen "Um, it was a giant spider or sumthin" King can end a story better than that.

    I shouldn't be surprised; the giant tapestry of dung she calls her "memoir" ends just as badly. For some reason I thought the Hollywood types would put a little more elbow-grease into their turd-polishing. No wonder Spoon and Strayed are all buddy-buddy; neither has a fucking clue how to tell a story.

    I'm going to start a screenplay tonight and call it "Clueless: Duo, the Adventures of Peas Withaspoon and Her Slutkick, Feral Spayed" subtitled "How to Bore and Whore Your Way to Mediocrity"

    Ugh, my bits are all in a tizzy.

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    1. Oh! I realized I could have gone with "The Bore and the Whore"
      DOH!

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    2. The *only* change I would make is to refer to Reese as "Poon," courtesy of Alison from the caption contest. She almost got my overall vote just for that nickname.

      Speaking of, THE T-SHIRTS ARRIVED TODAY!!!!!!! I'll be sending yours out tomorrow. Tori is still hiding in a cave somewhere; Imma have to air-drop hers on the PCT and then call in a rescue for her to receive it, apparently.

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    3. Poon and the Goon?

      Flaked and Baked?

      Yay! Tshirts!!! Im so profoundly excited!!!

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  4. Yeah. Wtf was up with the llama? Napoleon Dynamite was sort of big when she was writing this piece of shit book and I always imagine Cheryl sitting at her computer thinking, "A llama! Yes, we need a Llama." Insert an old lady, a socially inept boy with curly hair and "Tina of The Trails." If she could've worked throwing ham at the llama, she probably would've tried.

    Come to think of it, we should be grateful that she didn't hand out boondoggle keychains and do a seminal dance sequence to Jamaraquai on the Bridge of the Gods.
    Vote for Paco!

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    1. "If she could've worked throwing ham at the llama, she probably would've tried."

      OMGROFLMFAO

      Tori, you're my hero.

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  5. "Flaked and Baked" <<----- I think I love you!

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  6. still laughing at "giant tapestry of dung" with embedded bits o' shit... Holy crap cairn, Mercer, you've NAILED it!

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  7. //...she is looking at the sky at this point...// - Of course! Because she's unclear on the concept of how fishes work.

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  8. So glad I didn't see the movie. So glad I didn't finish reading the book. So glad I went onto Goodreads to tell them how much I hated the book and that is how I found "Califohioan", this blog and all of you. It still boggles my mind, how many stupid people there are. I just don't get why the whole country isn't laughing their asses off about this stupid movie and the stupid book. "Too much overwrought bullshit"...that is exactly what it is. It is kind of like waking up from a scary nightmare, saying "WTF" & being afraid to fall back to sleep because the nightmare goes on. So weird!

    Erin, you must really be a sane & balanced person to not be damaged by this...I can't imagine watching it over & over. Thank you for doing it, though. You're such a great writer! I can hardly wait for The Tiny Beautiful Things review!

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    1. Oh, Cindi. Bless your heart for assuming that I'm a sane and balanced person when it's so amazingly clear that I am anything but. Much love to you, and I can't wait to see you on the Tiny Beautiful Things review.

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  9. Thank you, Califohioan, for being the much-needed antidote after we pirated Wild (because fuck you Cheryl)

    Truthfully, we pirate because there's not a single movie theatre in Belize, nor are there any video rental places. Yes, you have a reader in the jungle.

    After the closing credits (and the retching) three days ago, I hit the ol' Google, and found you, while searching for someone who despised that SHITSTORM as much as I did...

    It took me three days to read the entirety of your wonderful snarkfest, plus all the comments, and visit the links... (thanks to all the great commenters too!)

    At first, I was angry because our heroine (NOT!) skipped all the territory I'm familiar with...

    I was only watching the damn movie to catch a glimpse of my old stompin' grounds ... I lived in California for 47 yrs... backpacked the Emigrant Wilderness loop, Devil's Postpile, Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite and the Carson-Iceberg Wilderness in my youth (30 yrs ago)

    But fuck no, what I watched was a deeply disturbing (cremains - FUCK!), self-absorbed ("Mommy!"), narcissistic ("Hey good-lookin'"), waste of time (honey-drenched sand-fuckery) which left me feeling mighty peeved.

    Again, thank you for your deconstructions, which cheered me immensely.

    I now baptize thee Erin the Antivenin!

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    1. Kayo: isn't she (Erin) awesome? I needed someone to commiserate with and an outlet for my anger. I had started reading the book, thinking it would be about a "real" hike and real experiences on the trail and I couldn't get beyond the 2nd page of chapter 4 because I was so pissed off. I was so sick of Cheryl at that point and knew she was a damn liar. I found "cherylstrayedisaliar" while looking for reviews from people who were as pissed as me (on Goodreads) and this blog turned out to be nirvana! Look at all the cool people, here, too! I'm so glad you found it, too :)

      Btw, I've never been to Belize but my husband has been fly-fishing there twice. Looks & sounds so beautiful! I hope to travel there sometime in the not so distant future.

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    2. Holy shit, kayo is in Belize!

      ...sorry, binge reader here, way after the party is over. I visited a few years ago and can't wait to go back.

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  10. This was so much fun. Thanks Erin for putting your sanity/health on the line for us. I can't wait for Tiny. This time I am going to read the book as you do your review, all the better to savor it. "It" being what you write, not whats her name.

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  11. So my dirty confession is that I actually quite liked the movie. It might just be because I have a huge 'Poon crush. Casting her kind of makes sense because while in the book, I have learnt from this blog, Strayed lies about how everyone totally loves her and that's unbelievable because she a fat ankled narcissist with pig-like features, its believable in the movie because she's played by the 'Poonerator who is quite gorgeous and capable of acting charming, even if like many celebrities she is not in actuality.

    Searching for answers to all the other plots holes and ludicrousness in the movie, however, led me to this blog —its been epic and far more enjoyable than the movie by the way. You've addressed much of this nonsense already - the fuel thing (I first though - why didn't she just make a fire?), the shoe thing, the product placement thing etc... but the thing that bothered me the most was the casting of the Dern and the 'Poon (gorgeous as she is). How the hell can Dern be the 'Poon's mum? They are only about 10 years apart in age - and the 'Poon may look youngish but she doesn't look 26, much less 18 or whatever she's meant to be in the school scene. How is the viewer meant to resolve that the mum died the age of 45, yet the PCT hike/road trip is a response to her death 4 years later? Its weird to me.

    Liked the llama scene, liked the frog scene, liked the creepy singing boy, liked the Hobo Times scene. For sure a lot of it is probably exaggerated, or entirely made up, or stories stolen from others, but on the other hand weird shit does happen.

    I also don't care that she did heroin, nor judge her for sleeping with loads of men and can still defend her decision to not sleep with other men or be afraid of being raped by bears or bow hunters —though it was clear to me that the bow hunter scene was total BS, as has been pointed out here on this blog, because bow hunters are very savvy in the wilderness.

    I get that its galling that Strayed makes up shit or exaggerates stuff she claims is truthful, but I understand it because she's a writer. It seems to me she is actually a fiction writer, but one without a very good imagination, so she has to use her own experiences as material and then (laboriously) manipulate that material into fiction. This suits her just fine, of course, because she's a self-obsessed narcissist who loves examining and reworking her memories to pretend she's much cooler and sexier than she is.

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    1. cont...

      So yes she should stop pretending her work is non-fiction. The best way to call her up on that and obtain a James Frey like admission, goes beyond poking holes in her millage or discrepancies in her story that can be argued are just artefacts of mistaken memory, but uncovering the very specific examples that don't try to prove her work is not-fact, but rather prove her work is definitively fiction. The Lolita/monkey drawing passage is a compelling example. Another is that comment made by someone many posts back about a hiking forum user researching conditions on the PCT the specific year Strayed hiked it. Was that Strayed herself then? She's not super intelligent its seems so there are probably many other cases where she has unintentionally done or said something online that leads to the realisation her work is fictional.

      In the real world back in 95, by the way, my guess is that the reason there are so few pictures is that she sold her camera in order to pay for booze, food and transport as she mostly hitch-hiked or bussed her way towards the Bridge of the Gods, with occasional day hikes that coincided with her need to collect her care parcels (that contained money!) Its a beatnik road trip story more than a hiking story, about a young woman without any money who wants to have fun hooking up with strangers AND simultaneously pseudo-punish herself for fucking up her marriage.

      I don't think her mum's death had much do with it at all really - its a retrospective connivance to legitimise her lack of personal responsibility and ambition. That's why she didn't write the story for some time. She needed time to perform the mental gymnastics that transformed her youthful, and quite normal, experimentation and happenstance rambling into something with a life-affirming poetic appealing to her audience. I bet her actual diaries from the time are mind-numbingly boring ~my feet hurt, that guy was cute, boo hoo I've run out of money~ etc, with absolutely nothing about her "love affair" with her mother or ruminations about spiritually finding herself.

      Oops, sorry for the essay.

      Well, like any good Cheryl ready to give it all up and grab a Snapple, I think I'm done with Cheryl. Back to the real world, thanks for the laughs!

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    3. Well if you had read the book written by Cheryl you would know she had lost 6 of her toe nails while doing this hike and as you saying if she did so many hitchhiking she wouldn't be losing toe nails!!! And just so you don't have balls to do something don't argue that someone else who do the same thing is fake or stolen memories or whatever!!! Get your fatcs straight and then talk

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  12. Erin, you are amazing! So, quickly: I'm 26, from NY, received wild for Xmas, just read it, basically only read every other line of the second half and skipped whole paragraphs of inner fucking whine-y shitheadedness.

    I quickly realized Cheryl's story was fishy. I'm not an avid long hiker or anything but I've done a few Adirondack peaks and Catskills peaks and had to turn back once on slide mountain. At that time I was only 19 but fresh out of HS track and also waitressing, so about the same fitness level as Cheryl.( let's be honest I was in better shape than Cheryl) The only thing in my pack on that hike was water, granola bars, and a sandwich for lunch. This made me realize what nonsense the idea of Cheryl just going out and actually making it more than 3 feet with the asinine pack on was. Multiple times out loud I commented to my boyfriend about pack weight, new shoes on the trail, etc, etc. Just the everyday newbie shit hikers do. I was sure eventually Cheryl would have to take a week or two off to heal her feet. I don't care how strong your immune system is you CAN NOT walk for three fucking months on shredded feet. I agree with mercer, she hitch hiked the whole way, walking day hikes to get to her re supply boxes. Which would have made a pretty decent memoir so idk why she decided to go so fucked up. Well, I guess I do, as has been said before, that bitch is nuts. I have written your blog address inside the cover and I was going to leave it at the laundromat but then I thought that might be considered torture for the poor soul who picks it up. Either way, I'm really glad my doubts were justified.

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    1. I'm so late to this blog. I'm sure everyone has moved on. But I keep discovering observations from more astute readers -- like the fuel in the stove (and, like Guy said, why not build a fire?) and now this comment about having to get to the stations where she had re-supply boxes sent. Oh my God. That's hilarious to me. It would explain why, in that one picture with one of the Three Young Bucks she clearly has a fresh haircut. I don't think this is an original observation. I'm sure I read that in one of the comments here, but when a UK newspaper included that photo in the story about the ex-husband, it was so obvious. I looked up the nearest highway and motel to where that photo was taken and it was only a 5 hour walk from a motel.

      What's so maddening is that crazy Cheryl Stayed still would have credibility for her *spirit journey* doing what she did. I'd have been impressed with a single woman hitchhiking and day hiking alone. I didn't need to have her carry an unduly large pack or get thrashed feet to be impressed. But, if you strip those obvious fabrications then she would have needed to write with more art and skill than she was/is capable of to convey her inner journey. So she embellished the tale. And, I think embellishment -- to a point -- is fine. I think good memoirists do this. I think David Sedaris does this, and he owns up to it. But Strayed went to far with the reams of lies. Heroin dalliance/addiction that required an intervention from her ex but she was able to detox on a hike, alone? Nopey nope. Not buying it. I have a friend who experimented with heroin, became an addict in short order, and was able to get off of it but it sucks like it was very difficult. Strayed does a disservice to actual addicts who have successfully kicked an addiction.

      I'm glad I discovered this blog so that I have a place to vent about my frustration with Wild. I am surprised that Vice has not asked you (Erin) to do some edited version of this extended review for them, or interviewed you at the very least.

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  13. I am late to the party here and I don't know if you are still reading comments. Your blog has been cracking me up for days now.

    I hate that I know this - but there has been at least one llama on the PCT. My brain is such a treasure trove of useless facts, I store stuff away and then they pop out later. I have a cookbook called "lipsmacking backpacking" which features recipes submitted by actual backpackers and one woman named Sandy Lee Burns of Prospect OR claims to hike with her llama "Dancing Cloud." According to her blurb she hiked the WA section of the PCT 3 times, the OR section once, and various parts of CA. Supposedly performs trail maintenance in Crater Lake Park. The book is copyright 2000. When I got to the llama part in Wild I thought for sure that would be Dancing Cloud - so I don't know if that lady had another llama, if there are other people who hike with llamas, or if the whole thing was made up.

    If I had not had this cookbook, I probably would have thought the same thing about the llama - yeah right a llama. I can just imagine the crap cairns a llama would leave.

    Burns might be a fun person to track down to ask about other llamas in the area.

    Just one other thing that drives me crazy about this book - the water filter incident with the rapey hikers. I don't understand how earlier, she claims to have filtered and drank sludge - but then her she claims the hunters wrecked her filter by letter the intake sink too far below the float. What is it, can you filter sludge or can't you? And why on earth would you just give up and use iodine, and then fix the filter in your hotel later? At least try to take it apart in the field, swish, scrap off sludge, whatever? At that time when I was backpacking I had 2 types of filters, one with a paper cartridge, one with a ceramic - I am reasonably sure I could have gotten either working again in that situation.

    Anyway - sad to see this blog end. I have enjoyed it immensely. I agree 100% that is is largely a complete fabrication.

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    1. "recipes submitted by actual backpackers" = supposedly trail tested stuff that real people cook when they go backpacking... as opposed to weird random stuff that seems good in the theoretical. I feel like I should clarify what that means for some reason. ;-)

      This is the owner of Dancing Cloud and a reference to the book I mentioned. http://www.backpacker.com/skills/cooking/recipes/recipe-bread-on-a-branch/

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