Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Health Update and Movie Review

This is my 494th Post! (What should I do for my 500th?)

I’m back. My temperature was normal this morning and after being secluded for most of the past few days, I’m re-entering the world. I don’t exactly feel like I’ve experienced a resurrection (I always had an image of Lazarus dancing a jig after his recall from the grave, but my legs are so tired it feels like I did a double work out with heavier than normal weights). But I’m back. I haven’t slept this much in a long while. With a fever of 102.2, I went to bed on Sunday at 1 PM, and stayed there till Monday at 3 PM (only getting up because there was a meeting I felt I had to be present in order to bless people with my germs—my office was Lysoled before and after). I went back to bed at 7 PM on Monday and slept till mid-morning on Tuesday and then mostly hung out, working on a puzzle and watching a movie (see below) before going in to the office for two late afternoon meetings… I’m glad this was going to be an easy week, but so much for me being able to catch up on things… Thanks for the well wishes.

Off the Map, 2003, 110 minutes, PG-13

Thanks you to who ever recommended this film! I’ve had it for a month (I haven’t been watching many movies lately), and wasn’t very excited about watching it, but it was the only movie I had. From the moment it started and I saw that high desert landscape of Northern New Mexico, like William Gibbs in the film, I was enchanted. This is a quirky movie, somewhat of a fairytale, but I loved it.

It’s the early 70s and the eleventh summer for Bo Groden (Valentina d”Angelis), a daughter of parents who have escaped to the wilds where they live on her father’s VA disability check and what little they make from selling crafts and junk. Her father Charlie Groden (Sam Elliott) believes in working for no one but himself. He’s a master handyman who can fix anything and has a dream of being self-sufficient. He’s also going through a deep depression and speaks very little during the first half of the movie and only gradually comes out of it as the movie unfolds. Her mother, Arlene (Joan Allen), holds the movie together with her grace. A strong woman, she struggles to keep the family together while dealing with her husband’s depression. Arlene, who is part Hopi, connects to nature in a way that appears to come from her Native American ancestry. The story is told through Bo’s eyes. She is a Tom Sawyer-type character, hunting squirrels with a rifle and a bow and arrow, giving thanks to each animal for the nourishment they’ll provide her family before she hangs them on her belt. She dreams of living a normal life and having a MasterCharge Card. She writes companies complaining about defective products, a scam that results in her regularly receiving token products and samples in the mail.

There are two other main characters in the film. George is Sam’s best friend. Arlene mentions at one point in the movie that he had saved Charlie in Korea, giving a hint of where his depression came. The other character is William Gibbs, an IRS agent who comes to investigate the family’s lack of tax filings. He’s spent four days trying to locate the family and after abandoning his car, walks up to the family compound, only to find Arlene nude in garden. He’s stung by a bee and has a reaction and is ill for several days. When he awakes, his car has been stripped and he’s in love with Arlene. He asks to stay for a few days and moves in. He takes up watercolors and does a 41 foot long painting of the horizon over the ocean for Bo—the two of them place the painting around her walls so she can lay in bed and see the horizon regardless of the way she’s facing. The movie ends with Charlie coming out of a depression. Bo has managed to get herself a MasterCharge Card and purchased him a sailboat. The boat is delivered in one of the funniest scenes in the movie—a boat being pulled through the desert. Although Arlene is horrified at the thought of having to repay the bill, the gift is enough to snap Charlie out of his funk as he laughs at his daughter having brought him a sailboat… Everything quickly comes together as Gibbs becomes a famous painter and all is well on the Groden homestead.

First of all, I would have watched this movie just for the scenery. It made me homesick for sagebrush and the high desert and the way the light paints the land. But I also loved the view of the world from an eleven year old and the way the movie dealt with depression (both Charlie and Gibbs suffer from it). It was also wonderful to see how father/daughter relationships. I love it that Bo knows something seriously wrong with her dad because he no longer takes her to the dump to shoot bottles. Although they are not a very traditional family, all the adults showed concern for Bo’s well-being. And even though Gibbs fell in love with Arlene, there was no hint of the relationship going any further as he becomes entranced with the landscape and focuses his creativity in his artwork.


  1. Glad you're feeling better. A sailboat in the desert, I like that.

  2. I am glad you are feeling better. Those jig dancing legs will be up to speed soon I hope!

  3. Oh my, that awful flu thing is going around and now they tell us, if you got the flu shot, which I did, it's not effective.

    Glad you're feeling better. The key to =trying= not to get it in the first place, is to =try= to keep your hands off your face unless you've just washed them. Hard to do without constantly thinking about it.

    btw, when you wash your hands, count to twenty or sing ♫happy birthday♫, that's how long you're supposed to scrub before rinsing.

    Okay, now you've received your 'Dr. Karen' advice for the day... that should help. {grin}

  4. Glad you are feeling better!

    Have you seen Into the Wild? I loved that movie on many levels, not the least of which is the magnificent scenery.

  5. Forget the scenes of northern New Mexico, the heartwarming father/daughter relationships and all that other stars Sam Elliott! Other than hearing it in the Coors commercial (what exactly is a banquet beer?), I loooooooooovvve his voice. I'm glad I read this shortly before going to bed. Sweet dreams for Murf tonight!

  6. Pat--I knew folks out West who parked a houseboat in the desert and lived it while they built their house... suppose Noah did something similar...

    Deana, I wasn't expecting that I'd be dancing a jig--but moving a little easier would be nice

    Karen, I almost always get a flu shot, but didn't this year and got the flu, but the first several folks I knew who got the flu had the shot! Now let me go wash my hands...

    Diane, I haven't yet seen Into the Wilds (is it on DVD yet?)

    Murf, although Sam doesn't exactly turn me on normally, he does depression really well and I can't see how anyone would be turned on him in this movie. Be careful watching it, it might be like when I saw one of my favorite actresses (Andie MacDowell) play white trash in Shadrach. I was heartbroken (even thought it is a good movie).

  7. Glad your up and going! Don't overdo it!!!

  8. Quirky families can be the warmest, funniest, sentimental people. Trust me, I know. :)

    I, too, like father/daughter relationships and stories of triumph over adversity w/ humor and nice scenery.

    Now what's this about a boat in the desert? Now I HAVE TO watch this film.

    I'm glad you're feeling better.

  9. Makes me happy to know that you're feeling better, Sage. I will look for that movie.

  10. Girl gets credit card and buys boat for guy living in desert. Sounds like one of those commercials for identity theft that you see on television.

    Glad to here you are back to a more normal state of health.

  11. Glad to hear that you are feeling better.

  12. Sage, glad your feeling better. I was under the waether myself Monday, but, I feel...Above the weather today.

  13. Greetings.

    This post got me psyched for a hiking trip out west (Chiricahua & Peloncillo Mountains) in two weeks. Sounds like a great movie; I'll see if I can find it at the bargain bin at Barnes & Noble.

    Cheers via Michelle.

  14. It's great you're feeling better Sage! Now, don't over do it, ok? We don't want you to get sick again.


    ps: michele sent me