Monday, March 04, 2019

He Won't Get Far on Foot (movie review)

Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot is the full title of this movie, directed by Portland director Gus Van Sant.  The movie reeks of Portland, in a good way.  Glenn tells me Gus was editor of Willamette Week when Callahan was doing his one frame comics for them.  That would explain Gus, also the screenwriter, casting himself in exactly that role (Willamette Week editor).

John Callahan was a famous cartoonist in a region known for cartoonists.  Matt Groening of Simpsons and Futurama fame, Bill Plympton... the Oregon Historical Society did a whole exhibit on the cartoonists of Oregon, including political cartoonists.

My friend Gus Frederick has made a hobby career out of learning this history, fanning out from the colorful Homer Davenport of Silverton, an influential cartoonist if there ever was one.

This movie is a biography of Callahan.  I haven't read any of the reviews and don't know exactly how closely fiction follows fact.  The acting is top notch and heartfelt.  What we get is an empathetic and serious look at Alcoholics Anonymous and the Twelve Step Program.  For that reason alone it's a goldmine of memes.

For the first time in my many decades in Portland, I learned of the Alano Club of Portland only a few weeks ago.  Jimmy Lott, friend and former neighbor, was playing there.  I didn't know until I got there that this was a place for recovery from alcoholism and other substance addiction ailments.

And now here was Alano Club at the center of this movie.  I'm still just beginning to find out about my own time and history.

Callahan's sobriety coach Donnie, played by Jonah Hill, is really believable.  I feel like I know the guy.

Lots of archetypes haunt this story.  One could say cliches, but then we all follow templates.

Callahan was brave, and Portland remains proud of him, and of this movie.

Thanks Glenn.  Great soup.  I supplied the Terminal Gravity IPA.