A Walk in the Woods – Movie 2015

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Just the other day I had the privilege of watching A Walk in the Woods, the movie adaptation of the book by the same name.  I managed to rack up $5 in library fines in the process, but by gum, I did it!  Another aside — I had to find a time to watch it when little ears wouldn’t be around to hear all of the f-bombs that I knew I’d be hearing.

For those of you who have never read the book, this is a story about an older man’s quest to hike the Appalachian Trail.  He and a friend use the opportunity to have one last hurrah, as it were.  If you want to know more about what I thought of the book, check out my book review.

My thoughts:

First, you should know that I absolutely loved the book!  That means that I was starting from a place of already being in love with the story and the author.  When following a beloved story with a movie, it can be difficult to live up to the high expectations that the reader/viewer already has.

As you know, something is lost when you translate a book into film, and this was no exception.  The movie left out the charm and wit of Bryson’s storytelling, as well as his asides on topics such as the National Forest Service, etc.  If you’ve read the book, this is a nice way to visualize the story and see the embodiment of the characters.  If you watch the movie without reading the book, just know that you are getting the short end of the stick.  The book is so much more complex, nuanced, clever and lovely.  Another thing that just doesn’t come through in the movie is the stink, sweat, toil, fatigue and monotony that was a part of the trail life.  For all of those juicy details you’ll have to pick up the book.

I didn’t care for the way Bill’s wife was portrayed in the movie as being unsupportive.  In reality she was actually very supportive and helped Bill with many aspects of the journey.  However, I think they may have changed her character to give the story some conflict.  On the other side of the coin, we have Katz whose character was magical.  Nick Nolte was a wonderfully grizzled, unsophisticated and crass Katz.  I loved his way of talking and that he threw in the expletives in an unobtrusive manner.  Katz’s dry, sardonic sense of humor comes through really well, too.

There are a few objectionable aspects to the film which you should know about.  In one scene we briefly see Nick Nolte’s derrière from afar.  There’s also regular talk about things of a sexual nature, including a short scene with implied fellatio.  Other than that, the foul language is the most pervasive objectionable aspect.

I recommend this movie to adults who enjoy a low-key, humorous movie about aging.  While the story isn’t anything to write home about, the delivery is amusing.  I feel like a group of older friends would get a kick out of watching this together.

Possible Objections:

  • Brief partial nudity
  • Sexual references
  • Lots of foul language (mostly from Katz)

Rated: R

Rating: 4 Stars

Until next time…




A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson

Walk in the Woods

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Title: A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson


This is a humorous memoir about Bill’s quest to hike the Appalachian Trail, a good portion of it with his friend Katz.  Additionally, Bill shares his observations and opinions on topics which are pertinent to the story, such as, the National Parks Service, invasive species, conservation, mining, etc.

My thoughts:

It would not be an understatement to say that I LOVED this book!  It wasn’t a page-turner that I just couldn’t put down, but more like an old friend that I would return to for shared jokes and just to appreciate being together.  I wanted to savor my time with this book.  Bill’s wry humor really suits me and I appreciate the way he uses it to draw attention to and poke at issues he cares about.  Sometimes it’s more effective to criticize something through sardonic humor than by railing against it in an angry tirade.

When I picked up the book, I didn’t really think it would be all that exciting.  How can you make an exceptionally long walk entertaining?  Well, Bill figured it out and delivered beautifully.  His comedic timing is like strawberries and whipped cream: perfect.  Let me state again that I am in love with his writing style and I look forward to reading more of his works.  How can I have gone so long without reading any of his books?

The last thing I wanted to comment on was how Bill brought little nuggets of history into his story.  I love history when it’s presented in an engaging manner, and Bill incorporated it seamlessly.  I was particularly intrigued by the opulent hotels which once existed in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, and the sad history of the town of Centralia in Pennsylvania.  I had previously studied Centralia when I was on a kick about ghost towns, and it is a haunting setting to be sure.  If you’ve never heard of it, do a bit of research.  It’s fascinating.

I recommend A Walk in the Woods to adults and mature teenagers who enjoy a humorous adventure story.  If you like wry humor, you’ll especially appreciate Bryson’s writing.

A couple of favorite quotes:

“’Daniel Boone, who not only wrestled bears but tried to date their sisters, described corners of the southern Appalachians as so wild and horrid that it is impossible to behold them without terror.’  When Daniel Boone is uneasy, you know it’s time to watch your step.”  (p. 63-64)

“The forest we walked through now was really just a strapping adolescent.  In 1890, a railroad man from Cincinnati named Henry C. Bagley came to this part of Georgia, saw the stately white pines and poplars, and was so moved by their towering majesty and abundance that he decided to chop them all down.  They were worth a lot of money.”  (p. 68)

Possible Objections:

  • a decent amount of swearing

Rating: 5 Stars

Until next time…


A Walk in the Woods Book Giveaway — CLOSED

My Bookshelf Giveaway: A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson (Sorry, the teddy bear doesn’t come with the book.)

Read my review here

Enter by following the link below.  It’s open internationally to participants 18 years and older and will end on June 30, 2017.  The winner will be announced on my blog and contacted through email.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway