Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

In January of 2012 my soul mate of 42 years passed away after nearly 12 years of living with severe disabilities due to a stroke. I survived the first year after Don’s death doing what most widows do---trying to make sense of my world turned upside down. The pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties are well documented in this blog.

Now that I’m a "seasoned widow" the focus of my writing has changed. I’m still a widow looking through that lens but I’m also a woman searching for contentment, friends and a voice in my restless world. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. I say I just write about whatever passes through my days---the good, bad and the ugly. Comments welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Revenant - Movie and Lunch Club Review



Considering The Revenant received twelve Oscar nominations including ones for best picture, best actor, best supporting actor and best director it didn’t surprise me that my Movie and Lunch Club chose it for our January outing. What did surprise me, though, was at noon the seats in the theater were nearly sold out. Usually our group of twelve to fifteen are the only ones viewing a film at that time of the day and for this two hour film even our group fleshed out to twenty-seven. Nominations apparently do drive ticket sales.

The Revenant---a French word that means to return---was based on a true story about a man who worked for the Rocky Mountain Fur Company, circa 1820, and while it was short on dialogue it long on action-packed tension with flying bullets, arrows and axes and bad-ass men in bloody hand-to-hand combat. Leonardo DiCaprio played a frontiersman/guide who got mauled by a grizzly bear early on in the film, then he was left for dead in a shallow grave. But he crawled out, and driven by revenge, he crossed the snowy, isolated landscape living off the land along the way on a quest to find his son’s murderer at an Army outpost. “It's epic poetry, an existential journey through nature,” DiCaprio said of the movie, “and this man finding a will to live against all odds."

The Rolling Stones reviewer wrote: “Note to movie pussies: The Revenant is not for you.” I read that after seeing the movie and I laughed out loud. Truer words were never spoken. Several woman in our group were constantly covering their eyes. Others were animated in their body language and to my deep embarrassment, I let out two choice swear words. I was thankful neither one was the F-word because I was sitting next to a very prime and proper woman. It was quite the adventure story if you can handle blood and guts and guys peeing. For some reason the director included several shots of guys watering trees. Maybe he wanted to be sure the audience knew there weren’t any Portia-Potties in the wilderness. I say that tongue-in-cheek but it begs the question: What did they do for Portia-Potties on location? It was quite a feat just getting the actors and cameramen to where they filmed let alone all their equipment. Most of the set locations took them 2-3 hours to get to each day and 2-3 hours to get back home to their base. The crew and actors even had to do a two week boot camp out in the wilderness before the filming began.

According to the New York Times the movie was shot “in outwardly unspoiled tracts in Canada and Argentina” and the photography was beautiful. I was happy that The Revenant also got Oscar nominations for cinematography, sound editing and sound mixing. All three of those elements added plenty of tension to the movie. If you’ve ever been in a deep woods when the wind was rubbing the trees tops against each other you’ll know what I mean. And when DiCaprio would climb up a hill the background “music” reminded me of a horror movie; you didn’t know if he’d find a band of hostile Indians, a herd of buffalo or a breath-taking vista view of nothingness. One of the best and most graphic scenes in the whole movie, the grizzly bear mauling, has the most interesting back story on how it was filmed. I won’t spoil it for anyone who wants to see the movie but I’ll give you a hint: Rubber trees. All and all it was worth the price of admission and then some. It also gave me a reason to call my brother after I found out he went to see the movie all by himself. 

Growing up, a good friend of my parents was big-time into reading about the American Frontier. He had a wonderful set of antique books that were reprints of true stories and journals written by people living during the 1800s---spelling errors and all. When he died, his widow gave me that set because none of her kids were into history or books and she knew I’d value those sixteen volumes. One volume is all about fur traders and I started reading it again last night. It impresses the heck out of me that someone can pick a story out of a book like that and turn it into an epic movie. In my next life time I want to work in the movie industry. I can see myself making rubber trees or repairing costumes on location but I would never, ever sign on to a film that takes place in so much snow, mud and icy water. If there was an Oscar for enduring hardships to make a movie, Leonardo DiCaprio would win it hands down. ©

DiCaprio's interview about the making of the movie.

An article about how the bear scene was made can be found here.

24 comments:

  1. I envy you the Seniors Club - ours just does boring gym classes and card games.

    The film is defn one to watch on the big screen. I would normally pass on a film with such gory scenes, but the rave reviews about the scenery have me intrigued. Your review was excellent (reminds me why I like reading your blog). I watched the interview and kept on admiring the lady's white teeth - not as eye catching as Biden's, but close - and her gorgeous hair/streaks. Man's willpower is amazing, as in a negative way is man's inhumanity.
    Libby

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Honesty,I think I would go daffy without the senior hall to spice up my life. I may not be making close friends there like I had hoped but it gives me a reason to get out of the house.

      I have a crush on Biden's smile, too. LOL

      Delete
  2. On my to see list, buy everyone I know who has seen it describes it as intense and harrowing. So my mood for that has to be right....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is intense and I would advice seeing it on the big screen rather than waiting for it to come out in other formats. The vista views and the stereo sounds just wouldn't be as good.

      Delete
  3. What a great movie review. I've not even heard of this movie before today. That shows you what I think of Hollyweird. I do love history though.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hollyweird. LOL They do put out some quality stuff along with the crap and fluff. I predict you'll hear a lot about this film as the Oscars get closer.

      Delete
  4. I will probably skip this one ... don't like the gory scenes or the intensity. I'd be up for days trying to slow down my heart! I go for light entertainment ... with a happy ending. I've read a few stories about his film and that was enough for me ... the scenes that are not true to the "true story" but everyone loves Leo's acting!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can handle the gory stuff in historical books and movies but I don't like it in modern day settings. Don't I live in a fairyland. LOL

      No one really knows the "true" story as they didn't have historians out on the frontier in the 1820s. They have to rely on folklore and journals. Plus artistic license always enters into movies made about that time frame which doesn't bother me unless they market it as a documentation. The script was great writing!

      Delete
  5. You are a stronger woman than I. Just the trailer for this movie was too violent for me. I'll take a pass on this one. -Jean

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's not my favorite genre but the violence really didn't bother me. It had a good story line and that's what I look for in a film. A movie club is like a book club---you learn to stretch your comfort zone and try things you wouldn't necessarily pick for yourself.

      Delete
  6. Replies
    1. Have you seen "13 Hours"? I hear that is action packed.

      Delete
    2. No and I don't plan to. If I'm going to see an action, shoot-them up movie I want it set in past centuries. I have not talked to anyone who has seen it and reviews are so split down the middle that you can't tell a thing from them.

      Delete
    3. By the people around me who have seen it, you wouldn't like it anyway. Shows just how negligent our government was.

      Delete
    4. Its director, Michael Bay, isn't known for actuate presentations so I would take this movie with a grain of salt.

      Delete
  7. It's probably a little too intense for me, but H will love this. I'm one of those who will watch it through my fingers. Thank you for the review. You are good at these reviews.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We have 3-4 women in our Movie and Lunch Club who often go to an alternate movie while the rest of us are seeing our happily-ever-after flicks and they love the action-packed movies. They were in 7th heaven during The Revenant. My brother loved it did too.

      Delete
  8. What an awesome interview with DiCaprio. Whew! Such an admirable crew, making this movie. What a great review you wrote.

    Without someone's arm to dig my nails into, I am unlikely to make the trip to a theatre. Or even watch it at home. I'm curious. Did it show up in any of your dreams afterwards? >>shudder<<<

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It didn't bother me afterward or in my dreams...really not much during the movie either other than it was suspenseful. Action movies rarely do bother me, especially those set in past centuries. Now, if it was filled with mental torture, then it would have.

      Delete
  9. I'm just not a movie-goer, I guess. I'm trying to remedy that, but after a few years of going and getting bored, I just stopped. If I'm watching at home and find myself thinking, "This is the worst, ever" I can turn it off or do something else while I wait for things to pick up.

    I have a friend who wants me to go with her to see Thirteen Hours. I just might, because I heard an interview with Mark Geist, who survived the Benghazi attack, and it was really interesting. There's a podcast of it here if you're interested. It's the Michael Berry show, January 19 -- the PM show.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like movies running in the background to other things I'm doing around the house. It's fun for me to figure out the storytelling technique, how they move the story along. Until I joined the Movie and Lunch Club I didn't go to the theaters often but I really enjoy talking about the films afterwards, to compare our various reactions.

      If you don't go to the movies often 13 Hours might be a shocker for you because, I hear, it's very bloody and gratuitous. I've seen a couple of interviews on it and the previews---one with Mark Geist---and know I won't go see it.

      Delete
  10. I'm not sure that my wife would enjoy this movie. To be honest Jean, I prefer comedies, horror or science fiction.
    I'm surprised that you went to see it. Good for you you tough lady. ha,ha,ha.

    Have a great day my friend in Michigan. See ya.


    Cruisin Paul

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It wasn't a hard decision to go. I like historical settings, especially stories based on true events and I've seen all kinds of films in my life with a lot more gorge than this one (like Saving Private Ryan). Plus the whole point of a Movie and Lunch Club (like book clubs) is to stretch you outside of your comfort zone. In three years of going to movies with the club I've only seen one movie I thought was a waste of money. I knew any film with 12 Oscar nominations would be good.

      Delete