Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini


A Walk in the Woods

A Walk in the Woods
Starring:
Robert Redford, Nick Nolte, Emma Thompson, Mary Steenburgen, Kristen Schaal and Susan McPhall


Rated: R for language and some sexual references.
Reviewed by: Frank  
Release date: September 2, 2015 Released by: Broad Green Pictures

Nick Nolte and Robert Redford embark on a comedy/adventure film taken from travel writer, Bill Bryson's book. 

Redford who plays Bill Bryson is in a static time with his writing little new has been produced recently and even with a happy family with wife Catherine (Emma Thompson) he is looking for something exciting, a new adventure.  When he comes up with the idea to hike the Appalachian Trail a 2200 mile spectacular and rough countryside from George to Maine there is little support for his adventure.  

After reaching out to many fiends we assume near his age he has no takers for a partner, until a call comes from Katz (Nick Nolte). Katz who was not on the call list learned of the trip from a mutual friend and decides to take the trip.  The were friends at one time but there is some baggage between the two from years before.  But if Katz is the only taker Bill is ready to begin the adventure, against the  a strong disagreement from his wife, friends and family.  

We must admit that Nolte has the best part as a foul mouth (that is why there is an ® rating), beat up drunk with baggy pants along with a scruffy beard golden ager.  His dialogue is colorful so say the least but it makes the journey a series of comical missteps which fill the film with humor and irony.  It could be summed up as: Bertha, Bears and Mary Steenburgen who plays Jeanne an innkeeper who they meet on the way.  Bertha is a large woman who Katz becomes interested in when her underwear is destroyed in a laundromat and Katz comes to her aid.  The problem so does her husband and Katz must run on his trick knee and the other one that is titanium.  The bears come upon the two adventures one night and the campers discover the best way to get rid of them.  Steenburgen clearly makes a play for Redford during his stay at her inn and she is quite seductive.  

They also run into Mary Ellen played by Kristen Schaal who has voice animated features and when she opens her mouth we understand why.  She is critical oaf the two elderly guys as they stumble along the trail.  It is not so much what she says and does it is her delivery and tone that has us laughing.  

The two men as would be expected resolve their past differences and begin to look to the sky particularly when they slip onto a ledge which they can't get off of.  Alpha Centauri, dying chestnut trees and the danger to Elm trees come into the conversation the scope of the stars bring focus to the importance or lack of it in the lives of the two men. But it never gets too serious.  

So the baggy pants womanizer and the straight thoughtful writer struggle along the trail being passed by many who are younger and in better shape but who probably don't get as much from the trip.  

Director Ken Kwapis takes time to display the beauty of the Appalachian Train from ground shots to aerial views of the landscape which significantly changes as they travel.  Even a winter storm comes along in May, I think they forgot that in the mountains the summer comes later some times.  

A Walk In The Woods is not profound in any way but it is satisfying and enjoyable

  Frank Chris Jim Dave Nina Dayra Howard Jennifer Kathleen  Avg. 
A Walk in the Woods  B      C+   C+            B   B-   B- 

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