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Movies - Across The Universe/Into The Wild


Although the movie pickings have been pretty slim lately, I have seen a couple of flicks that are worth bringing up…

Across the Universe. Ever since Momma Mia became a touring smash, any band with a whiff of popularity has had its back catalogue mined for a potential play/movie. The set up is pretty much the same: Use popular songs that everyone knows and loves as a skeleton from which to construct a (usually thin) story. Given that we love the songs so much it is hoped that we don’t notice things like plot holes and lousy acting. Across the Universe is the Beatles version of this trend.

Now Across the Universe is going to affect people either one of two ways: either you’re gonna love it or hate it. I fall in the kind of love it camp. I thought the use of some directions in the plot were a huge stretch just so the filmmakers could include an iconic Beatles song and some of the one liners that referenced a Beatle song were mostly groaners: “Where did she come from?? “She come from the bathroom window.? Plus there was one stretch in the middle of the movie that was completely unneeded as Bono played Dr. Robert, a Timothy Leary type character. The whole scene was only in the movie so that we could get our psychedelica on. It played really no other part of the movie.

However the movie was a winner in many ways. Of course any movie with Beatles songs is going to be fun to watch and Across the Universe was no different. There were a number of set pieces that were just stunning with creative choreography. Great scenes were Max at the draft review board and a football cheerleader singing I want to hold your hand as a lesbian tear jerker. One of my favorite scenes was early in the movie as we saw two dances, one in New Jersey and one in Liverpool using the same song (Hold Me Tight) as the Americans were all dressed up in poodle skirts and chinos while the Brits were in rolled up jeans and leather jackets. A great way to open the movie. If you like the Beatles you’re probably going to dig this movie and I would recommend going.

Into the Wild. Moving across the cinematic universe (sorry) we come to Into the Wild. Based on a true story and a beloved book of the same name, it’s the story about an upper-middle class kid who gives all his money to Oxfam and goes out looking for “reality.? After two years of travels he finds himself in the Alaskan wilderness where he lasts for nearly 4 months before dying of starvation due to ingesting the seeds of a poisonous plant.

Directed by Sean Penn who waited nearly 15 years to make the film before receiving the blessings of the McCandless family, the movie is both sympathetic to Chris/Alex while not deifying him. The movie holds pretty close to the book and is shot on location, including South Dakota, Nevada, and Alaska. I think we get a pretty good picture of where Chris/Alex was coming from while at the same time seeing that he had a lot to live for. One of the paradoxes of the entire story is that Chris/Alex was so alienated from modern society that he had to find reality living off the land in the Alaskan wilderness while at the same time was such an engaging character that he was able to befriend and positively impact just about anyone he came across. A great movie that is stunning to watch and thought provoking as well. Go. Now.

What did you think of these movies?


Okay. I saw Across the Universe. And I agree that the psychedelia was pushing the plot line a bit. And I loved the scene in the Draft building. With all the Uncle Sams. It was so creative.

I was hearing all these rave reviews about the movie and decided to finally check it out myself. Sitting the theater I thought to myself, Okay this movie is okay. But It wasn't really as outstanding as everyone hyped it up to be. I loved the irony and the fact that it made me want to lay around and smoke pot all the time. But It was just .. a good movie.

I do however find myself giving equally hyped up and ravey reviews about it to my other friends who haven't seen it.

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