I hadnt planned on wandering into a bar on that sunny afternoon over twenty years ago. I was a college junior (the drinking age was 18 back then) and starting to stress about my future. With one year left before graduation, I still had no idea who I was, what I wanted to do, or where I wanted to be. To make matters worse, I was dreading the idea that I would be spending another summer vacation painting houses six days a week in my hometown. And so, after buying a pair of jeans at a nearby store, I looked into my hand and realized I had just enough change for one cold beer. Why not? I crossed the street and headed into a popular collegiate watering hole; one beer, a little review of the days sports action, and then back to campus. That was all I planned or expected. Little did I know that serendipity was at work. Upon entering, I immediately recognized someone from my school sitting at the bar. We had lived on the same floor during freshman year and although we had been friendly, I would have hardly considered us friends. After a few casual comments about this and that, I inquired about his plans for the summer. He told me that he was going to drive to California and sublet his sisters apartment in Palo Alto for three months. Having rarely ventured outside of New England, I asked if he was nervous about driving across the country. Well, he said. Id rather do it with someone. You interested? Before I realized what I was saying, I had agreed to accompany him. It was probably good that I didnt have much time to think about the cross-country trip. If I had, I might have found too many reasons to call it off. But I stood by my word and threw together enough belongings to keep me alive. For some strange reason I had a deep feeling inside of me that I had to undertake this quest. We left three days after the spring semester concluded. Our plan was to take a roundabout route through the northern half of the United States, squeezing in as many important sites as we could. We saw things that I had only seen in magazines and met people that I had only seen parodied on television. While there were countless hours of incessant highway driving, the time was well spent on philosophical conversation (I imagine the subject of girls came up now and then as well). When we arrived in California, we picked up a couple of menial jobs at Stanford University. During our first day we met a coworker who encouraged us to join he and his friends at a party later that evening. That party basically lasted for the entire three months that we were there. Every weekday was an adventure; every weekend was a crusade. When the summer winded down, we packed up our car, said good-bye to our friends, and headed east. In the end, it was a road trip of grand proportions and one of the most memorable experiences of my life. I was changed by the adventure and to this day share a bond with my co-pilot. While my trek was tame in many ways (I always had a bathroom nearby), others have had decidedly more intense experiences. This weeks feature, Into the Wild, chronicles the two-year odyssey of a young man who sets out to discover the truth about life. What he finds brings him intense pleasure, but also puts his life into great jeopardy. This is a film of self-discovery and as such will appeal to viewers who enjoy quiet drama. It is a picture that unveils its worth through the interplay of character and realization of lifes most important attributes. The fact that it is based on actual events makes this picture that much more alluring. While films of this type can often be tedious and bland, Into the Wild demonstrates an ability to keep the viewer transfixed, even during the most mundane moments. Check this one out if you have ever dreamed of dropping it all and heading into the great unknown. A strangely inspirational B+ for Into the Wild. Cant decide what to watch?
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Anyone who is interested in the study of film needs to rent this video. Russian Ark contains the longest single take in cinematic history. In other words, the entire film is one continuous shot - no breaks, no different camera angles, no second takes for the actors. That may not sound like much to the average movie watcher, but trust me; it involves monumental planning, preparation, and execution. The story is set in St. Petersburg, Russia, at the famous Hermitage. The Hermitage is one of the largest and most beautiful museums in the world and has served as the focal point for many of Russia's most important historical events. During the 90-minute journey through the endless corridors, the viewer is whisked into a strange dream-like state where they see history unfold before their eyes. Definitely make it point to see this film, if only for the sheer magnitude and breadth of the project.