Witherspoon and Dern’s Oscar-Nominated Outing Released on DVD



DVD Review by Kam Williams

Witherspoon and Dern’s Oscar-Nominated Outing Released on DVD



Cheryl Strayed’s (Reese Witherspoon) life went into a tailspin right after the untimely death of her mother (Laura Dern). The grief-stricken 22 year-old subsequently became emotionally estranged from the people closest to her, including her husband, Paul (Thomas Sadowski), and her brother, Leif (Keene Wild,  DVD Review by Kam WilliamsMcRae).

And by the time she had finally bottomed out several years later, she was all alone and addicted to heroin. Yet she somehow summoned up the strength to set out on a transformational, solo trek along the Pacific Coast Trail that would take her from the Mojave Desert in California all the way north to the border of Washington and Oregon.

The perilous, 1,100 mile journey would prove to be Cheryl’s salvation, as it afforded her an opportunity to purge her demons while conquering the elements. That magical metamorphosis would also become the subject of her best-selling memoir, “Wild: From Lost to Wild,  DVD Review by Kam WilliamsFound on the Pacific Trail,” an Oprah Book Club selection.

Adapted to the screen by scriptwriter Nick Hornby (An Education) this touching tale of female empowerment landed Academy Award nominations for Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern in the Best Lead and Best Supporting Actress categories, respectively. The picture was directed by another Oscar nominee, Jean-Marc Vallee, whose Dallas Buyers Club netted Oscars for both Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto just a year ago.

Unfortunately, this flashback flick fails to generate the same sort of sobering gravitas which made Dallas so effectively gripping. Consequently, it unfolds less like the similarly-themed Into the Wild (2007), a riveting survival saga, than Eat Pray Love (2010), another relatively-lighthearted romp about a woman finding herself.

118484_oriWild is an uneven endeavor which undercuts its own cause by including intermittent interludes of comic relief, such as when Cheryl’s overstuffed backpack repeatedly causes her to topple over. Hence, rather than ratcheting up the tension of a harrowing ordeal, the film merely recounts the assorted highs and lows of a poorly-planned camping trip run amuck.

Reese Witherspoon nevertheless delivers a decent enough performance to singlehandedly elevate an otherwise mediocre adventure to an entertaining one worth recommending.


Very Good (3 stars)

Rated R for sexuality, nudity, profanity and drug use

Running time: 115 minutes

Distributor: Fox Home Entertainment

Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Extras: The Real Cheryl Strayed; The Real Location Is the Best Location; How Much Does a Monster Weigh?; The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) Interactive Map; deleted scenes with optional commentary by director Jean-Marc Vallée; 7 promotional featurettes; audio commentary by Jean-Marc Vallée, and producers Bruna Papandrea and David Greenbaum; Experiencing the PCT: A Special Message From Cheryl Strayed; stills gallery: and the theatrical trailer.



To order Wild on Blu-ray/DVD combo pack, visit:


For movies opening October 28, 2016

  OPENING THIS WEEK Kam's Kapsules Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun by Kam Williams For movies opening October 28, 2016 BIG BUDGET FILMS Inferno (PG-13 for action, violence, profanity, disturbing images, mature themes and brief sensuality) Third installment of The Da Vinci Code franchise finds symbologist Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) suffering from amnesia and on the run with his physician (Felicity Jones) from a billionaire geneticist (Ben Foster) with a … [Read More its Good for You...]


Nat Turner’s Mental and Military Motivations

  Nat Turner's Mental and Military Motivations By Ezrah Aharone   Nate Parker's movie  has revived the question: What caused Nat Turner's 1831 uprising? Turner, first of all, was not a deranged misfit who acted outside of a historical context of previous African freedom fighters.  Throughout slavery's duration, resistance was not only constant and fatal, but twofold . . . Africans equally resisted both slavery and … [Read More its Good for You...]


ART EXHIBITION: 150 Years After The Civil War

  Cynthia Groya 150 Years After The Civil War: A Contemporary Perspective January 10 - March 6, 2016 Artist's Reception: Sunday, January 24, 3:00 - 5:00 pm Nassau Club 6 Mercer Street  Princeton, NJ 08540 The ideas reflected in Groya's paintings express a conversation about struggle for equal rights in our culture, in our time. The origin of this struggle can be traced to The Civil War in our country, which ended 150 years ago. The … [Read More its Good for You...]

Real Estate

Castles in America

  Castles in America by Amy Lignor   Robin Leach and his “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” taught us all long ago that we absolutely love to sit and view ridiculous luxury (usually owned by people who inherited all of it and didn’t work a day in their lives). See that? We had to complain about something as we were beguiled by the amount of money people would send to own or create the “best of the best.” Even though some things were referred to as the “gaudiest of … [Read More its Good for You...]


It’s Not Your “Grandma’s” Pumpkin Anymore

  It’s Not Your “Grandma’s” Pumpkin Anymore by Amy Lignor   As times move forward, technology expands. However, so does the imagination. No, I’m not talking about a new cell phone or animatronic device that creates pumpkins; I’m talking about some seriously cool ways to carve pumpkins that are popping up all over the internet. Unique, awesome, colorful – people across the U.S. have used their imaginations during the 21st century to create some of the most stunning … [Read More it Good for You...]


Finally, a Boat Shoe You Can Get Wet

  Finally, a boat shoe you can get wet   By Craig Lamb   I am happiest with wet feet. For me, that means wading a shallow saltwater flat, casting for tailing redfish. Or paddling aboard my sit-on-top kayak, cruising a river in search of smallmouth bass. Not my favorite, but when the fish are biting, fishing in the rain.   Yep, I do like getting my feet wet, but it can get downright annoying when my shoes stay wet. Footing is a challenge when shoes … [Read More its Good for You...]


Saying Goodbye to Legends…

    Saying Goodbye to Legends… by Amy Lignor   When someone you admire departs the Earth, it is extremely sad to come to terms with. In the days just passed, people and fans had to deal with the departure of two men from the world of sports. Although one perhaps was not a surprise, seeing as that the gentleman lived a good, long life, the other departure was shocking. One was a legend, while the other was on the road to becoming just that.    When … [Read More its Good for You...]


The Business of “Fear” Brings in $8 Billion a Year

  The Business of “Fear” Brings in $8 Billion a Year by Amy Lignor   There are aspects of Halloween everyone knows about. From the scary boogeyman to the haunted houses set up in cities and counties from sea to shining sea, the world certainly understands that the “frightening” is also the “entertaining” when it comes to All Hallows Eve. What most may not know, however, is the fact that Halloween is a billion (yes, BILLION) dollar industry. People are more than … [Read More its Good for You...]


I Double Dare You!

  I Double Dare You! by Amy Lignor   Haunted houses, zombie-filled corn fields, small towns that like to get together and light up the night with scary-faced pumpkins – there are all different types of Halloween events and haunts you can take the kids to and have a good time. And we’ve researched and reported on the best of them. But if you’re one of those…those who like the macabre…there are places around the globe that offer far more than just a “spooky” … [Read More its Good for You...]