Everyone needs to go for a walk — if only to clear their minds and get their circulation going. Reese Witherspoon walked 1,610 kilometers on the Pacific Crest Trail in "Wild" because her character (real-life author Cheryl Strayed) needed to clean her head of the mess that had become her life. In "A Walk in the Woods," Robert Redford and Nick Nolte take on the 3,380-km-plus Appalachian Trail for more casual reasons, namely to embark on one last adventure before, you know, they kick the bucket.
The big difference is that Witherspoon is cute as hell, even without makeup, and the sight of her in trail wear brings on an overwhelming urge to shop at Patagonia. The Redford/Nolte pair sport another kind of charm entirely: vintage, leathery, deeply creased with experience and age. If you're in the mood for guys who resemble old furniture or aged whisky, bickering incessantly as they trek through miles of forest, "A Walk in the Woods" is just the thing. For cuteness and female empowerment inspiration, turn back to "Wild."
Like "Wild," "A Walk in the Woods" is based on an autobiographical account, this time Bill Bryson's 1998 best-seller that remains a must-read among American environmentalist hipsters. It's a splendid piece of writing triggered by a massive case of wanderlust, strewn with liberal doses of hilarity. Iowa-born Bryson returned to the U.S. in his 40s, after working as a writer in the U.K. for many years, and initially he was enthralled to be back in convenient, consumer-driven America. But after a while, he felt an itch to travel, coupled with a desperate need to lose weight. The Appalachian Trail seemed to offer the solution — what could be better than going on a long, long hike?