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Escape Old Man Winter with an ‘outdoors’ film

February 10, 2012 at 07:45 AM

The State Journal-Register

No matter what Punxsutawney Phil saw when he was removed from his climate-controlled burrow to venture forth in search of his shadow, February is still the dead of winter. It can slam us to the mat with blowing snow and subzero temperatures.

Remember last year’s blizzard-of-the-decade?

When you’re tired of fishing show reruns or watching your favorite celebrity hunter pull down yet another monster buck, there are some “outdoor” feature films that can take the sting out of a chilly, football-less winter afternoon.

Good movies about the outdoors don’t grow on trees, but there are some. To qualify, the movie must be a live-action picture. Bambi and any of his little animated friends don’t count. Nature and the elements must take center stage as dramatic features. The stories center on characters engaged in something that’s at least a first cousin to an outdoor pursuit, including, but not limited to, survival.

There are several mountain man or fur trapper movies that are worth a look.

The pick of the litter for me is “Jeremiah Johnson.” The story is compelling, the scenery is spectacular, and with just a handful of characters, the solitude of that way of life is always in the forefront.

“Jaws” is the granddaddy of all hunting trips, even if it is technically fishing. When the real hunter finally surfaces, it’s too late to get a bigger boat. Being swimming-challenged like Police Chief Brody, life aboard the Orca is uncomfortable for me. It gets worse when she starts taking on water.

“A River Runs Through It,” “The Edge,” even a young Arnold fighting an alien in “Predator,” all are pretty good outdoor adventures.

John Wayne stars in “Hatari!” an African yarn about people who capture animals for zoos. Fill the big popcorn bucket because “Hatari!” is almost three hours long.

If you’re planning a float trip, watch “Deliverance” after you get back.

“The Perfect Storm” reinforces the notion that ignoring Mother Nature is a terrible decision.

“Eight Below” is a story about sled dogs left behind in Antarctica. This is no “101 Dalmations.” “Eight Below” features some pretty good real-life canine actors that will keep you on the edge of your seat while your high-powered hunting dog is sawing logs in front of the fire.

“The Grey,” is in theaters right now. It’s a harsh look at a group of rough characters who survive a plane crash in the Alaskan wilderness. Deep snow and howling wind are merely inconveniences compared to the pack of wolves hunting the survivors.

Yes, I know, I left off some of your favorites. Hey, I probably forgot to mention some of mine. Still, when Ol’ Man Winter slaps us down one more time, a movie can show us some new country, spin a good yarn, and make us forget for a couple of hours that stupid groundhog that may have led us astray.

Contact George Little at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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Or even better yet… Review the movies that we have made from our own hunts & traplines. If you folks get tired of that, watch some real life film footage of Dick Proenneke who traveled up to Alaska and lived in the wild on his own. He hand built his own cabin, hunted, trapped, fished,shot countless photos & film footage and was self-reliant and never got sick. He was a true outdoorsman and far from fiction. 

  I’m really shocked that you didnt even mention Dick Proenneke but yet was so willing to mention some movies about make believe characters.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/10 at 12:23 PM

I too have that dvd and his book.It never gets old watching it.His craftsmanship is incredable.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/10 at 05:52 PM

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