S.O.C.: Sheep in Wolves’ Clothing (contains movie spoilers)

Once more into the fray.
Into the last good fight I’ll ever know.
Live and die on this day.
Live and die on this day.
– Joe Carnahan, from The Grey (2011)
I.
I know this poem has been floating around the media since Carnahan’s The Grey was released in theaters.  A few days ago, I finally had a chance to watch the movie.  I originally wanted to see it when it was in the theater; speculating during the movie as some scenes played out, I shook my head with regret, realizing this would have been that much better on the big screen.  However, watching the film in the theater, considering the already cold environment of a theater, the environment of the film would have made me feel that much colder. 
I felt the film is magnificent.  There were some controversial issues with the film, but I’ll touch upon those soon.  The plot, although very simple, played out brilliantly by Liam Neeson and the supporting cast.  In a literary aspect, I love the complication of relationships:  man versus man, man versus self, man versus nature (wolves), and man versus nature (Herself).  The relationship exposition really defined the movie from beginning to end.  You sympathize with all of the characters, wishing them the best when you know they are all in deep shit.  Even Frank Grillo’s character, the stubborn “antagonist” amongst the men, accepts his fate, mending his issues with Neeson and Hendrick, accepting and confessing his flaws, before abandoning the two. Grillo acknowledges the mystic aura of peace within the Alaskan landscape, thinking this is the best thing that could have happened to him.
Then you hear the snapping of twigs in the background, announcing the wolves’ approach.
Without stressing the various relationships, evenly tapping into each character’s persona, the movie watcher can easily relate and get attached to the characters smoothly.  There is an artistic approach to the plane crash, so you never see it happen.  Everyone then is struggling to survive, helping others as well.  There is no initial confrontation amongst the survivors, but desperation draws out the egos and inadvertently pits the survivors “against” each other. 

After the movie, I had a serious revelation to be positive, a humanitarian, and a more positive outlook on life. There was, also, a spark to get me writing more. 

I, also, really would like to travel to Alaska.

I (1/4).

Yes, I totally did that.  I decided to add this section in after everything else was written.  I didn’t feel like changing the section numbers, so call me lazy.  I consider it a creative annex. 

There really isn’t much to say, in all honesty.  I felt like I wanted to continue on with a little humor, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. My stream of thoughts–

(eyes darting, left to right and repeat)

Sorry.  I was waiting for the Monty Python segue to pop in.  It seemed like an appropriate time to do so since I am–

GET ON WITH IT!

There we go. 

I (3/4).

We do need to stress the relationship factor in fiction, and in non-fiction.  How else are we to show and not tell what is going on.  The vocal tones and the physical advances, focusing on the eyes and hand gestures amongst others, really show an audience (or a reader, for that matter) what exactly a character is feeling.

When Neeson’s character is staring at the alpha in the closing minutes, you see the ferocity in his eyes, his life and death, his love and hate, his destiny and fearlessness. Sure, the makeup helped; but as my mother put it (she watched the movie with my dad and I) his eyes “were like the wolf’s.”  I gave my mom a lot of props for picking up that parallel.

Carnahan did a great job with the film. I can’t say it enough. Sure, many of you may not agree, but everyone has their opinion.  I, also, never said this was a flawless movie.

I (1/2).

The relationships should never be put on the back burner.  That’s why I love plays.  There are no special effects to heighten the drama.  What you have are actors and words.  There are backdrops and minimal props.  Why?  Because we all have imagination!

I often look at movies as plays.  Could I see this on stage?  Could this be played out even more simplistically?  Is this believable enough. 

You must look at dialogue and physicality when shining up the relationship aspect.  We have seen it all.

Man vs. Nature
Man vs. Man
Man vs. Self

Man to woman, woman to man. (Wo)Man to baby/child, baby/child to (wo)man. Child to child. (Wo)Man to animal, animal to (wo)man.  (Wo)Man looks as self in mirror, reflection stares back. (Wo)Man versus illness.  (Wo)Man versus being lost. (Wo)Man versus extremes.

(SANITY) I (LOVE) could (HATE) go (SADNESS) on (HAPPINESS), but (RESENT) that (ACCEPTANCE) would (APPRECIATE) be (NEGLECTFUL) a (SICKNESS) bit (HEALTHY) ridiculous (INSANITY).

Enjoy.

II.
I have read articles regarding PETA and other organizations, attempting to boycott the film due to the portrayal of the wolves.
So, the wolves are looked at negatively?  Hold on one moment.
I love nature in every way, shape, or form.  I am environmentally conservative, because I feel preservation and sustained biodiversity will only benefit life on Earth. I even slow down for squirrels.
First, wolves were not harmed in the making of this film.  Secondly, this movie’s purpose is to portray nature.  It is nature.  Do you think National Geographic documentaries portray certain animals in certain lights?  No!  They are objective about it.  Look at the film from a documentary perspective.  We have two packs, struggling to survive.  Man “kills” wolf.  Wolf “kills” man.  It is as simplistic as that.  The setting is bitter cold Alaska, and everyone is hungry.  Everyone is thirsty. Everyone is looking for shelter and warmth in order to avoid death by exposure. 
What about the snowshoe hares?  Wolves gobble those little critters up similar to a child eating Pez. 
Joe Anderson is one of the first survivors to get eaten.  Why?  Natural selection.  Survival of the fittest.  Anderson’s character cannot keep up with the rest of the men and the wolf pack is able to zero in on him, taking him out.  You wonder why?  The slowest is the easiest target.  The wolves aren’t to blame; they are hungry, too, and these humans are intruding on their land.  
Fair game.
When the one wolf entered the survivor’s camp ground, it was outnumbered.  It was purposeful of the wolves to send that wolf in.
I question PETA sometimes.  I think it may stand for Pull Everything Through Ass:  like sticks.  Pull the sticks out of your asses.  It takes just one subjectively-minded person to stir up controversy amongst others, creating a gathering of aggressive actors:  sheep in wolves’ clothing.  Everyone is going along, because there is a smidgen of uncertainty, picking at that zit to only make the blemish worse.
The buying of wolf carcasses:  I don’t really know the truth/false facts behind that ordeal, but it does make me a little wary.
There is little to no originality, for the predecessors–all of them, no matter the cause–have already plowed the way.  We have taken the ideas for ourselves, tweaking them for our advantage, whether it is technology or media.  Everything is but a interpretation of a “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” for all we know.

PETA, why don’t you go after Golidlocks?  Who knew what her intentions were?  There was no hesitation with breaking and entering, eating the bears’ food, trying out their belongings to satisfy your comfort, contemplating stealing.  The only way to punish her is to burn the books. 

I’m totally against that, too:  do not burn books.  Please.

III.

Winter, cold temperatures, freezing:  these words have always fascinated me.  They are but a few amongst several, but they are intriguingly uncomfortable as the concept of death, or a sore tooth you love to play with due to its emitting a loving pain. 

I remember this first coming into play in my middle school years.  Having to travel to Camillus Middle School seemed to be a trip and a half when compared to the elementary school down the road and high school “in between.”  The area seemed more desolate and uninviting.  It would be the type of place to hide out in if the apocalypse did occur and zombies ran amok, crawling and staggering out of the wooded areas to the school.  However, the most haunting thoughts dawned when winter hit, and while I sat in a history class. 

I don’t know why I associate dreariness of winter with social studies.  I have and always will love learning about history.

Wait, yes I do.

Looking at pictures and learning about life during the winter months of the Civil War, the paintings doing justice to the eerie information, pertaining to death and illness especially, and the pained looks upon the soldiers’ faces and blood sprayed upon the ground from fallen soldiers.  Then we have the infamous Donners, and their traveling towards demise.  Aren’t we lucky, folks.  I would look out the window and just focus on a certain frame:  trees, rocks, and snow.  That’s it.  That’s what was ahead of the party.  There was little known guidance, but time and temperatures were factors.  It was similar to finding that one patch outside and walking around in circles.  They, unfortunately, did that for months, walking almost aimlessly.  Finally, out of desperation, they resorted to cannibalism. 

Shit happens.

If you don’t know what cannibalism is, if you have a slight clue as to what it may be about, and/or if you know exactly what is going down:  I suggest watching Cannibal! The Musical.  It’s not what you think folks.  Okay, maybe it is.  Just keep in mind, this was created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the South Park guys, so you know it’s not “serious.”  Secondly, the humor–subtle and blatant–are on target.  The songs and dance numbers are well done, especially when you consider the other scores they have produced.  Lastly, it’s just stupid and ridiculous, but enjoyable and put together well for low budget.

I wouldn’t lie to you. 

For a while, in high school, myself along with Brian and Matt, we would watch the movie almost daily.  The only competition the movie had, as far as sharing time went, was The Big Lebowski.  How could you not watch that on repeat?

I digress, but you should be used to my digressions by now.  Right?  Nod your heads… Theeeere we go.

IV.

The trips to CMS were just plain long during the winter.  There was nothing promising about it.  Due to global warming–::ahem::–

(eyes darting, left to right and repeat)

Due to global warming, our winters clearly aren’t as bad as they were.  Looking at several family videos, dating from the 50’s to the 90’s, our winters do not have anything on the winters of the past.  There seemed to be higher snow banks, for one. The air seemed colder as kids, and we double bundled as well as covered our mouths:  it was difficult to breathe no matter the temperature. 

It was the waiting for the bus in the early morning that seemed torturous.  Not only did we cross our fingers for delays or snow days, but we hoped the buses were late.  It gave us an automatic hall pass and extra time to get to homeroom and first period.  The office would be annoyed to deal with all the late buses, you could see it on their faces and hear it in their tones, but they couldn’t blame us.  We weren’t the late ones.  We’re just kids.  We can’t drive ourselves, nor did we get to enjoy coffee in the mornings.  We simply had to attend class.

However, it was the late bus that did me in.  If you stayed after school for help, sports, or whatnot:  you had to take the late bus home if you weren’t picked up.  There were three rules that pertained to the late bus:  don’t be late, don’t screw around (this was to be mindful of the drivers who had to stay), and don’t get angry due to the bus dropping you off down the road instead of in front of your house.  Especially during those winter months, the walk home after drop-off was a long one.  One hoped to get a milder evening.  Hey, folks, this is Syracuse; Old Man Winter makes no promises. 

Who knew what waited for you.  Anything could have:  jumped from behind a snow bank to gobble you up, abducted you into the sky, mounted you on a tree with a machete, or pulled you into a sewer as you were offered a balloon.

They all float down here.  When you’re down here with us, you’ll float, too!

Thank you, Stephen King, for writing It, one of the few novels that actually gave me nightmares, but inspired me all at the same time.

On cold to frigid/windy nights, the walked seemed to compare itself to The Green Mile; it was long and tiresome, especially after a long day, and death couldn’t have come fast enough.  This was especially true during late January through February.  During November and December, there was a sense of hope.  Winter would normally have hit give-or-take Halloween; after the hubbub of that was over, decorations and preparations for Thanksgiving and the following holidays would light up the area with hope and an aura of promise.

The walk would be lined with decorated houses, smoke and hickory odors spewing from chimneys, various food smells, people eating at tables or watching television together.  Then, you would arrive home.  It was a lot faster then.  I would come through the garage, kicking off the sludge and removing my shoes, and enter to some type of fantastic food simmering on the stove or baking in the oven.  As shitty of a day that I may have had at school, I forgot all about it with that decision to smile.

If it were any person, they would be happy to find their home and their family (pack), waiting for them for grace, a meal, and then settling down for some…

…homework. 

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