Slightly Outdated Movie Commentary

I think Ross is basically right about Michael Clayton and basically right about Into the Wild but I wouldn't join him in lumping the two together as films I liked "more than [they] deserved." The problems with Into the Wild are of an ethical or philosophical nature.

Jon Krakauer's book versionbook version of the story is already far too kind to Christopher McCandless and his antics and the film erred even further in that direction. But if you believe -- as Sean Penn seems to -- that McCandless' recklessness and cruelty toward his immediate family were, in fact, a noble spiritual journey worthy of celebration, then Penn's done a brilliant job of transforming the story into a film that sees what Penn sees. I feel like that's a bit of an irresponsible thing to do, but it's good filmmaking; a very good movie, just one promoting a weird and wrongheaded point of view.

Clayton, by contrast, I was super-enthusiastic about while watching and immediately after leaving the theater, but thinking back the preposterousness of the underlying plot seems like a big problem. It didn't bother me at the time, but I have a hard time believing it wouldn't bother me if I watched it again.