View Full Version : A Walk in The Woods

11-22-2020, 21:26
In case anyone hasn't seen AWITW yet, It is free right now on Tubi TV (also Free online or via Smart TV).

11-23-2020, 00:04
Thanks for the heads up.
I've been able to make it work by installing the App on my Android device and from there watch it thru my ChromeCast

Gambit McCrae
11-23-2020, 09:07
One of my favorite movies. I dont look at it like an accurate documentary, but a comedy/ drama that takes place on the AT.

11-23-2020, 09:49
Maybe, but I consider it fiction. I've read the book and living it by doing the trail myself was better. That book was probably meant for armchair hikers.

11-23-2020, 09:56
I read the book while out for a "walk in the woods " , local hike.
And seen the movie a couple times so funny!

I like when katz gets off the plane and runs straight for the snack machine and starts eating donuts, saying i have to eat every hour. And then he meets that lady in the laundry mat and she's married and her husband comes looking for Katz
And when annoying Marry Ellen comes along and the way they had to ditch her....

I think we've all met her on one of our hikes, right.

11-23-2020, 10:45
Loved the book; it was light-hearted and fun (Bryson's wry and self-deprecating humor still makes me double over laughing), and I learned a lot. I was so excited when I heard it would be a movie. But then Redford cast himself as Bryson, and the rest of the movie just spiraled down from that point. I HATED the movie, and felt bad that so much of the book was lost. I realize that adapting the screenplay was pretty challenging, but nearly everything about the script and production was awful!

I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who has read the book, or anyone who has a passing knowledge of the trail at all. On the other hand, if what you are looking for is a mind-break Buddy Movie, then you'll get some laughs.

I'm all for mind breaks right now.

11-23-2020, 11:35
Not a serious hiking movie by any means, but I think there are a couple small life lessons one can take away.

Like rehashing old friendships.

Going on a adventure before you can't. Yeah they only made x-amount of miles but it was an adventure.

Katz and his sobriety, profound scene when he poured that whiskey out onto the rocks!

That last scene when they had to spend the night out on that cliff was kind of a profound moment.

And the biggest life lesson learnt watch who you hook up with in a laundry mat :eek:!!

11-23-2020, 11:48
They were filming just up the trail from us when we were hiking in 2014.

11-23-2020, 11:51
One of my favorite movies. I dont look at it like an accurate documentary, but a comedy/ drama that takes place on the AT.
I re-watched it last night and now remember some of the silly things "Hollywood" did.
1. Both leading characters have hiking poles, but they were sticking up out of their back pack the entire movie. They never used them even when hiking with others that were.
2. By the camp fire was a 2Qt coffee pot... for two guys. It's like some scene dresser looked at an old wagon train western to see what a campfire should look like.
3. The bears were grizzly bears

But I will give the movie kudos for prominently showing the hikers utilizing a trowel... even if it was the most useless trowel.

Far too many times I've seen people posting things like "I just use the heel of my boot". But based on my experience in GSMNP, that's pretty much saying "I just cover it with leaves", because you ain't digging a proper 6" cat hole with the heel of your boot... Not when I have troubles doing so with a sharpened metal trowel.

I'll admit that for my very first camping trip, I bought one of those orange plastic trowels... and immediately learned how terrible they are trying to dig thru the conditions found in GSMNP.

11-23-2020, 14:22
I seen this thread made me want to go re-watch as well this morning.
I noticed that about the hiking poles, I thought for sure they would break them out on that creek crossing but nope in they both go.
Didn't notice the coffee pot.
I did notice the two 500 lb + grizzlies 20 ft away.
And how about the rei guy recommended a 85 liter expedition pack for a 70 year old through hiker.

Dan Roper
11-23-2020, 15:24
Edited to: Ne'er mind.

11-23-2020, 17:28
I decided to remove my post.

11-23-2020, 18:00
I decided to remove my post.

Pm me his response please, it's been awhile.

11-23-2020, 18:22
Maybe, but I consider it fiction. I've read the book and living it by doing the trail myself was better. That book was probably meant for armchair hikers.
It was meant to be humorous, not a serious AT hiking book.

11-23-2020, 21:57
And how about the rei guy recommended a 85 liter expedition pack for a 70 year old through hiker.
Bigger the pack the more stuff he can sell the guy and improve his commission :)

{JK... don't think REI employees work on commission}

11-24-2020, 08:46
As with most things there's a history to the AWITW movie. The book was an auto-biography of Bryson's attempt to thru hike the AT, and like most thru attempts he did not complete it. Along the way however, there were several bits of the journey that lent well to Bryson's homespun humor that made the book rather popular. The book itself brought many readers to his other works like "Notes from a Small Island" and later books like "The Thunderbolt Kid", a must read for anyone growing up in the 1950s-1960s.

Redford purchased rights to the book, meaning he could/can do whatever he wants with the movie screenplay based on the book content and use the book title to market the film. Redford's intent was to cast Paul Newman as Katz and make it the last buddy film for the two of them. Unfortunately, Newman died prior to filming start and the project lay fallow for a time. Bryson did not have anything to do with the film or the screenplay, which was written by Michael Arnt (I believe he used his pseudonym of Rick Kerb for this film) when Nolte was cast. Bryson was only mentioned in the end credits "adapted from A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson".

Suffice to say, the screenplay was considerably different from the book, though many of the adventure and character interaction scenes remained. Because movies have difficulty in "aside conversations" and reading minds, other techniques are used to reinforce various points. For example, the book goes into some detail about many things like gear choices, setting up tents, rain miseries and other common issues first time LD hikers deal with. Since this information is difficult to put into a movie without consuming a considerable amount of time reading thoughts, visual cues were used. Trekking poles that were never used, a coffee pot inappropriate for any group less than 5, camp chairs, pajamas, and flannel shirts, the list goes on. For those who know something about long distance hiking, we have seen this play out watching people deal with equipment they do not understand or need (like crampons strapped to a pack in July). The visiting bears were, of course, identified by the Bryson character as "Grizzlies" the bears took on a far larger size than the average black bear, which is in-line with someone who has never seen a bear and only heard tall tales about them. Overall, the characters were woefully ill-prepared for the journey which sets the tone for clumsy adventures and eventual epiphanies that occur.

Essentially, like most movies based on real events, one has to watch it from two perspectives; as someone who has not ventured into the back country much and the adventures/misadventures that can occur, which most of us here have endured starting out, right down to the parasitic characters we have all run into; and from the perspective of experience and ability to see what won't end well on a trail. The movie is not a travelog with do's and don'ts, or a how-to film on comporting oneself on an AT thru, which apparently greatly annoyed or offended some experienced hikers, much as the movie "Chisum" portrayal by John Wayne must've really pissed off people who know better. Though like AWITW movie, both are enjoyable if one allows for some artistic license and disregards historical inaccuracies or props that need interpretation which most all movies have due to viewing time constraints.

I enjoyed both the book and the movie, finding each of them very different as they traveled the same ground, each of them fun to experience in their own right.

11-24-2020, 10:35
...Redford's intent was to cast Paul Newman as Katz and make it the last buddy film for the two of them....
And from what I saw... people went to go see this film strictly because it was a Redford film...
My wife and I were about 50 when we went to see it and we were the youngest ones in the theater.
And despite the inaccuracies (as there are with all Hollywood movies) it was an entertaining movie

11-24-2020, 11:45
Expedition packs..... I was doing my 8+ mile hike at LBJ National Grasslands (it's about 80 percent forest where I hike) this past Saturday. At lunch at the truck, two guys pulled up and went off in the woods with their machete's. They came back out and went across the road (Into an area where I do orienteering and have a map showing every deer track) but they missed the one trail. Up rolled the Grasslands Volunteer (whose ranch is right off the property and he and I talk about every week). They come back out and ask him about if parking such and so is OK as they have a campsite picked out. Volunteer glances and me and says to them "Well you park like this, no more than 20 feet off the FS roads.....and there isn't a campsite over there....(glances at me) is there?". They say "oh, we found a flat spot". OK. They reach into their Jeep and haul out HUGE expedition packs, they got machete's, boots, hanging off these monster packs are a set of trail runners AND also "camp shoes". They can barely hoist these packs but off they go. I head out on my 3 mile afternoon hike. I come back an hour and a half later and can HEAR THEM TALKING while I'm sitting at my truck on the road, next to their Jeep! They are camped about 40 feet from their car! Prime example of "packing your fears". I'd been impressed if they hiked 4 or 5 miles and THEN set up camp. But their packs reminded me of AWITW's.

11-24-2020, 13:01
Never seen the movie, but my favorite parts of the book are where Bryson goes on asides with factual information (and a healthy dose of sarcasm) on various aspects of the trail (e.g. the Forest Service). I absolutely loved his description of Gatlinburg, TN - it was hilarious and also spot-on. These finer points in the book are undoubtedly lost in the movie.