I remembered seeing the 2000 movie “CAST AWAY” and marveling how the Tom Hanks character (Chuck Noland) used his wits to cope with desperation after a plane crash.
|THE TITLE IS TWO WORDS BECAUSE NOLAND (GET IT...NO LAND) HAS BEEN 'CAST AWAY' FROM SOCIETY AS OPPOSED TO BEING A 'CASTAWAY' ON A DOT IN THE PACIFIC.|
From plane wreckage, Noland uses creativity to make fire without matches, build a shelter and find food. I have zero survival skills, so the old slogan; need is the mother of invention...might work in my favor…but I doubt it.
We find out even with the comforts of home, that four years of isolation takes an enormous emotional toll. But the small successes that allowed Noland to physically persevere for so long eventually fade. Hope is replaced by despair and soon into resignation. The audience learns that Noland was prepared to jump off a cliff.
In his shoes, I would NEVER have considered suicide because it would be obvious to me that I'd have a short shelf-life, on my own, under horrific conditions. A nervous breakdown wouldn't have had time to fester because I would have died from exposure, starvation, dehydration or hyperthermia by day-three. However, under far less brutal conditions, I think I could last four years of being alone...because, when I talk to myself, I've been told that I can be rather entertaining.
The documentary-style TV show “SURVIVORMAN” must've been influenced by that movie.
Before "Cast Away" and "Survivorman," I remember KURUDAVE used to play a board game that was based upon answering survival skill questions. He bragged about being able to apply a tourniquet, treat a venomous snake bite and convert his own urine into drinking water. My reaction always was…trust me, I know a moot point when I see one…I know how to keep safe…by not going camping in the Amazon, picnicking in Antarctica or hunting scorpions in the Sahara.
Hypothetical, one-in-a-million survival scenarios are too abstract. I have a deeper appreciation for how ordinary people protect them self when a normal situation spirals out of control.
I developed part of that appreciation from a *1971 movie, (spoiler alert). The ultra-violent, psychological thriller, “STRAW DOGS,” has a more realistic approach to how your average Joe Schmo rises up to survive acute danger. * Don't get roped into the 2010 re-make.
|STRAW DOGS IS A MAN'S MOVIE. I SAW IT IN THE THEATER WHEN I WAS SIXTEEN AND IT MADE MY HAIR STAND ON END. I SAW IT ONCE MORE A FEW YEARS AGO...ALTHOUGH MY HAIR DIDN'T STAND ON END...I THINK IT WOULD HAVE IF I HAD ANY.|
Dustin Hoffman plays David Sumner, a nerdy mathematician who is disturbed by the violence that has disintegrated American society. Together with his hot, English wife Amy, (Susan George), they move back to the serenity of her small, peaceful, (fictional) coastal village Wakely, in Cornwall.
|IN ENGLAND'S SOUTHWEST CORNER, CORNWALL IS A PENINSULA-SHAPED COUNTY SURROUNDED BY THE CELTIC SEA, THE ENGLISH CHANNEL AND THE COUNTY DOVER.|
The Sumner's move into a farmhouse in need of repairs. While wimpy Hoffman craves quiet to do his work, his wife hires some local handymen. Unfortunately primitive savagery can exist beneath any surface. This is especially true because the workers selected include her ex-lover and his less than genteel friends.
In a combination of being bored and angry with her husband, she flirts with the repair gang. She even parades past an open curtain to haughtily expose her self. The workmen don't appreciate the teasing and begin a campaign of petty harrassment. Amy wants her timid husband to stand-up to the goons. But his naive diplomacy nets him a friendly nighttime hunting trip with them. They set-up Sumner to wait in the woods and go back and gang rape Amy.
Days go by and gullable Sumner has no idea he was deceived into staying behind or that the hooligans had their way with his now withdrawn wife. One night, the drunken workmen return to the farmhouse. In an odd set of circumstances, Sumner must defend his house against them...but for the wrong reason. In the mini-war that follows, unprepared Sumner "mans-up" in a life-or-death struggle to survive.
I couldn’t imagine doing well under these circumstances. I’ve been so brow-beaten from my childhood till now by controlling neat-freaks, (like the highly punishable necessity of wiping my feet before coming in the house), that the idea of actually throwing the kitchen sink at attackers is beyond the scope of what my well-trained mind can handle.
Another example of survival techniques is the current TV show, “THE MENTALIST.”
|THE MENTALIST IS A POLICE PROCEDURAL TV DRAMA THAT DEBUTED IN SEPTEMBER 2008. IT FEATURES SIMON BAKER AS PATRICK JANE, A CONSULTANT FOR THE CALIFORNIA BUREAU OF INVESTIGATIONS (CBI).|
I have been duped by this show for six years. My strong attraction is based on the psychological survival skills of Patrick Jane.
His back-story includes being brought up by his coniving father, in a carnival. In that atmosphere, young Patrick learned the craft of mind reading and other parlor tricks to become a con man. He then parlayed those abilities to become a more lucrative psychic. Unfortunately, his grandstanding antics resulted in the barbaric murder of his wife and child, by serial killer, "Red John."
Jane is hired by to CBI to use his sharpened observational abilities, perceptive powers and understanding of human nature to solve murders. But he uses his position to camouflage his hidden agenda...revenge on mysterious Red John.
The show's cleverness is confined to when the crime solving ensemble cast tip-toes through its normal (yaddy-yadda) cases while injecting clues about Red John. The typical viewer (such as myself) is teased by these clues to continue following the story. Along the way, we see past the mask of Jane’s upbeat façade. Thus making him more sympathetic as his inner angst deteriorates into inconsolable remorse. When that happens, the usually unflappable crime consultant becomes crippled by his crazed, stubborn determination to both identify this anti-Christ-like villain and wreak wrathful justice on him.
The Mentalist got off to a great start in the ratings. I would like to think the huge fan base was curious to how the story was to play-out...specifically who is Red John and what will Patrick Jane do to him.
Until Red John is caught, the audience relates to troubled Jane. If the viewer has a heart, they must wonder, how far we would go, to mentally survive under such grave circumstances. But something tells me that most viewers just like watching because lead actor Simon Baker is so good-looking.
|TV's "PERRY MASON" AND THE BOARD GAME "CLUE" WERE MY EARLIEST EXPOSURE TO CRIME SOLVING. BUT CONTEMPORARY VIEWERS ARE MORE SOPHISTICATED AND NEED GREATER DEPTH TO THEIR MYSTERIES.|
Lord help me, starting tonight and extending for two more Sundays, I will finally be freed from my perceived Mentalist torment. While on the other side of the earth the real survivors of the Philippine typhoon face the life time struggle of honoring the dead, repairing their lives and dealing with trauma of out-living their family, friends and neighbors.