Archive for the ‘Les Stroud’ Category

MOVIE: Survival Quest (1989)

August 6, 2008

If you’ve read my write-up on Les Stroud and Bear Grylls, you already know I’m somewhat obsessed with learning how to survive in the wild. My obsession has even gotten to the point where I just shelled out fourteen bucks to subscribe to Backpacker Magazine simply because I so thoroughly enjoy its frequent articles (and usually even a full issue a year!) about wilderness survival. That might not sound that odd, until I point out that A) I don’t backpack; B) I don’t hike; and C) I don’t particularly enjoy camping all that much. (To paraphrase comedian Drake Witham, I try to avoid activities where the primary goal is to live through them.)

There are two explanations for why I seek out books, movies, magazines, or TV shows about survival. The first is because a lot of survival stuff is SCIENCE stuff, and I’m a total nerd. And the second is because I love stories about people overcoming adversity using their brains. What I lack in brawn, I tooootally make up for in gray matter, and it’s nice to know that can come in handy from time to time.

Anyway, this movie is one of the “Watch Instantly” selections on Netflix, and now that I have a Roku Netflix Player, I’m watching a LOT of stuff I never would’ve seen otherwise. I LOVE that gadget — it was practically designed for me, as a matter of fact, as I’d estimate that a good 90% of what’s available on “Watch Instantly” is bad movies and 80’s TV.

Which is, in turn, about 80% of what I watch routinely anyway.

HEAVEN, people!

This movie is a prime example of the “Watch Instantly” options, too. By which I mean, WOW, is it ever bad. And WOW, is that ever some 80’s hair in it! It’s like the most perfect combination of awesome awfulness ever. The only downside is that Lance Henriksen is in it and there’s nary a Sasquatch or Yeti to be seen. More’s the pity.

Alas, I digress.

This flick is about a group of people (ages ranging from about 17 to 60) who have signed up for a several-weeks-long course on wilderness survival called “Survival Quest.” Led by expert Hank (Lance “I Love Bigfoot Movies” Henriksen), the group starts with some trust-building exercises and then quickly heads out into the woods to learn how to build fires, evade bears, and forage for protein-rich edibles (insert ubiquitous worm-eating scene here).

One of the group’s members is a sullen young prisoner (played by Dermot Mulroney, who I barely recognized because of his mullet), and everybody else in the group fears him at first, assuming that he is a nasty, mean, sonovabeeyotch juvenile delinquent, even though the reality is he’s just super misunderstood, you know?

Sullen Young Prisoner gets a chance to redeem himself, though, when the group encounters a bunch of crazy soldiers out on a training exercise who decide nothing could be more fun than tormenting the cute li’l campers. When one of them goes nuts and starts a-killin’, our group of intrepid Survival Questers must band together to get out of the woods alive.

Oh, the dialogue! Oh, the hair! Oh, the outfits! Oh. . . my God, is that CATHERINE KEENER? IT IS! THAT’S CATHERINE KEENER!

Seriously, this movie is totally dope.

I can’t believe I just said that.

[Netflix me | Buy me]

Genre: Drama
Cast: Lance Henriksen, Catherine Keener (!), Dermot Mulroney (!), Paul Provenza, Steve “YOU GOONIE!” Antin, Mark Rolston

On TV This Week: Meerkat Manor, Survivorman, and Flash Gordon

August 8, 2007

This Friday looks to be an EXCELLENT night for television, my friends. First, the return of one of my all-time favorite reality shows, Meerkat Manor, which begins its new season Friday night at 8:30pm on Animal Planet. Looks like the season will focus on the same family as before, the Whiskers, led by bossy matriarch Flower and her charmingly macho husband Zaphod. Alas, as many of you know, ex-Boyfriend Shakespeare did not survive Season One, so we won’t have his brave li’l self to root for anymore. Shakespeare, you were an inspiration to meerkats and mongeese (mongooses?) everywhere. You will be missed, my friend. And remembered.

On a cheerier note, also returning Friday is Les Stroud’s awesome series Survivorman. If you’ve been reading the comments on my post from last week about Bear Grylls, you know that I’ve forgiven Bear now for the error of his ways (he’s promised to be a lot more honest when the next season of Man vs. Wild rolls around). Nevertheless, Les still rocks my survival world, so if you haven’t had a chance to see him in action, tune in Friday night at 9pm on Discovery Channel. Maybe we’ll get lucky and he’ll play his harmonica! Man, I love it when Les plays his harmonica!

Capping the night off is a promising new series on Sci-Fi (9-10:30pm), Flash Gordon, which will be about. . . um. . . Flash Gordon. I assume, anyway. I don’t know the actor who’s been cast in the title role (Eric Johnson), but he sure is cute (see his IMDb page here). Early reviews of the series have been fairly promising, so we’ll see. My DVR is groaning from the weight of all the shows this summer I still haven’t had time to watch (Kill Point and The Company being two notables), so we’ll hope Flash doesn’t push it right over the edge.

I used to complain about how there was never anything on television in the summers — now I confess I kind of miss having the break! (Not that I couldn’t just NOT WATCH TV and take a break that way, I suppose, but somehow, that just doesn’t seem right.)

Nevertheless, I can’t wait for the Fall Season to start up, and trust me, I’ll be outlining all the shows I’m excited about for you guys here come September, so stay tuned!

Three More Reasons Why I Love Les Stroud.

July 31, 2007

As if you needed any more Les Stroud Lovefest inspiration, here are three reasons why I have been experiencing a major upswing in my affections for him this week. MAJOR upswing. In fact, my adoration for Les Stroud right now is so intense it feels like, at any moment, actual FLAMES might shoot out of my chest.

Or else, maybe that’s the spicy Thai food I just had for dinner. . . Actually, yeah, that might be a little more likely than adoration so intense it *poofs* into spontaneous combustion, right? But hey, they don’t call it HEARTburn for nothing, people.

Reasons I Love Les Stroud, Part Two (for part one, read the old write-up)

1. He’s the host of Shark Week this week on the Discovery Channel! How cool is that? Man, I LOVE Shark Week! While I’m on the subject, though, I confess to major disappointment regarding the much-hyped USS Indianapolis special that aired Sunday night (“Ocean of Fear”). I had been telling people to tune in for weeks because I was expecting it to be the mother of all episodes of I Shouldn’t Be Alive. How they managed to take an incredible story like that one and turn it into two hours of tedium so dry that both me AND my mother nodded off DURING A SHARK ATTACK SCENE, I have no idea. But they did. Gah. If you missed it and want to see just how amazingly they botched it up, “Ocean of Fear” reruns this coming Saturday (check your local TV guide for times).

2. His show, Survivorman, returns August 10th at 9pm on Discovery. YES!

3. According to The Times of London, Bear Grylls is a fake (note: this article refers to Bear’s show Born Survivor, which I gather is just the name Man vs. Wild takes when airing in England)! Here’s the scoop: You know how, at the beginning of every episode of Man vs. Wild, Bear has himself dropped into the middle of nowhere, telling us his plan is to spend the next several days making his way back to civilization with nothing but the clothes and minimal equipment on his back? Well, guess what! After he roasts that snake over his flint-sparked fire, he sometimes turns the cameras off and hightails it to the nearest Motel 6 (or its local equivalent, I suppose). There, he soaks in the hot tub, checks his email, raids the mini-bar, snoozes off to the soothing background sounds of free HBO, and, I suppose, snickers at his cleverness in managing to dupe his entire audience into thinking he’s actually spending the night in a hammock made out of dirty water reeds and buggy leaves, strung up between two soggy trees in a man-eating-reptile-infested swamp.

You know who would never do that? Les Stroud. And that’s why I love him sooooo much this week. The End.