For those times you can't actually BE outdoors, these movies will inspire your next trip.
Watching movies about the outdoors on Netflix or Hulu may seem like a real contradiction - just get out there, already - but for those times you're stuck inside, it's just the ticket.
Instead of binge-watching Yellowstone again or yet another episode of Bob's Burgers, why not turn on one of these movies or documentaries about the great outdoors?
If you happened to miss this harrowing true story of mountain climber Aron Ralston when it came out, be forewarned - several people fainted during early screenings of it. Combining director Danny Boyle's caffeinated camerawork with an inspired performance by James Franco, it tells the story of Ralston's experience canyoning alone in Utah when a boulder falls, trapping his arm. In the ultimate peek-between-your-fingers moment, you can pretty much guess what he ends up doing. And let it be a lesson - don't trek into the wild alone without letting someone know where you're going.
Check your fear of heights at the door! Thankfully you already know the free climber this documentary follows is alive and well, so you can breathe a little easier during dizzying scenes of his ascent. Free Solo chronicles mountaineer Alex Honnold's 2017 climb up Yosemite's 3,000-foot El Capitan - using just his hands and feet, without ropes or backup. And he did it in under four hours. It won the Academy Award for Best Documentary in 2019, and for good reason.
This documentary takes the palm-dampening anxiety of Free Solo and cranks it up to 11 - while you're sweating watching a trio of mountain climbers tackle the Himalayas' deadly Shark's Fin (in the center of this picture), they're worrying about running out of cigarettes. Meru isn't just an insane adventure story of three daredevils trying to conquer Meru Peak after having failed once before, it's a character piece that gives insight into what makes them tick. Writer and mountaineer Jon Krakauer aptly serves as the narrator.
Into the Wild
Speaking of Jon Krakauer, he wrote the book on which this film was based. Emile Hirsch stars as 22-year-old Christopher McCandless (self-renamed "Alexander Supertramp"), who gives away his savings, destroys his credit cards and leaves his comfy life behind to experience the wilderness. Along the way he loses his car in a flood, kayaks down the Colorado River and winds up in Alaska. A series of poor decisions later, and he's holed up with no supplies in an abandoned bus. Sean Penn deftly directs this quintessential example of a tragedy that could completely have been avoided.
Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin star as two men hiking out of in the Alaskan wilderness after a freak plane crash who become involved in cat-and-mouse chase with a bear that leads to a run-in rivaling any in The Revenant. Though it contains all the hokey cliches about being lost in the outdoors you'd expect, screenwriter David Mamet's dialogue crackles and as an action adventure, it's more fun than it has any right to be.
A Walk in the Woods
A movie featuring Robert Redford and Nick Nolte hiking the Appalachian Trail on a whim shouldn't be as likable as this one is, mainly because of the charisma the two veterans have. It won't be remembered as a classic for either of them, but is worth it watching the curmudgeonly characters riff off of each other. And there is plenty of hiking wisdom for rookies throughout.
Emilio Estevez wrote this indie road movie for his father, Martin Sheen, an emotional and uplifting tale about a man named Tom who sets off on a days-long pilgrimage in Europe after his son dies attempting it. When Tom flies to France to retrieve his son's body, he begins to understand his son's free spirit and in his grief, grabs some gear and hits the ancient path from France to Spain known as El Camino de Santiago (The Way of St. James). What follows is funny, touching and sometimes heavy, while Estevez takes advantage of the gorgeous scenery.
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NEXT: STEVEN RINELLA POINTS OUT THE FLAWS IN MORE TERRIBLE HUNTING SCENES IN MOVIES
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