Journey to the Edge of Your Seat

A shamelessly hedonistic celebration of the movies that feed our fantasies, explore the DNA of adventure and wild fun, and nourish our rambling, freewheeling, risk-loving souls

Jun 1, 2005
Outside Magazine
Outside Movies

There's nothing like a great adventure, especially when it comes with a cold soda, cool A/C, and popcorn. Join our armchair expedition through Hollywood's most exciting tales, from sea to summit and back. Plus: This summer's hot releases; an inspired conversation with James Cameron; the evolution of the action hero; Outside Classics; five films of heinous, hilarious fun; the future of Everest in action films, and critter flicks we love.

1. Jaws (1975)

There are more than 460 species of shark, but only one Jaws. This monster will forever haunt our favorite ocean sports, and for that we're still a little ungrateful. But as cinematic fright trips go, Jaws remains the most gripping. It's perfectly paced to provide maximum buildup for every electric shock, luring you into occasional laughter but never letting you relax.

For better or worse, Jaws also upended Hollywood. Directed by a young Steven Spielberg and based on the best-selling book by Peter Benchley, this is the film that launched the summer blockbuster. Made for just $12 million, it grossed an unprecedented $100 million in its first three months, and it succeeded wildly because it was a horror movie with a believable beast that reminded us of our proper place in the food chain. As ichthyologist Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) announces after examining the film's first victim, a young woman who died while skinny-dipping at night, the thing that killed her "wasn't any propeller, it wasn't any coral reef, and it wasn't Jack the Ripper. It was a shark."

And it was a lunker, too. As the movie unfolds, we learn that a 25-foot "rogue" great white has set up chomping grounds in the waters off a popular East Coast vacation island. It's up to Hooper, the embittered shark hunter Quint (Robert Shaw), and Police Chief Brody (Roy Scheider) to destroy it. By not even showing us the shark for the first hour, then rarely showing it again until the finale, Spielberg cultivates the primal terror in our imaginations, teasing it to a climax with John Williams's menacing score. We're so cranked up that by the time the monster fully emerges, it's almost a relief.

2. Breaking Away (1979)

Cycling as the route to transcendence? Convinced us! Plus it's funny as hell.

Four blue-collar guys from Bloomington, Indiana, struggling to sort out life after high school, rise above their dim career prospects by forming a bike team to take on the fraternity louts at the local campus. The group's spinner in chief is Dave Stohler (Dennis Christopher), who blocks out his dreary surroundings by going Italian—that is, shaving his legs to ride faster, serenading a girl with opera, and feeding his cat out of a Cinzano ashtray. The dream crashes hard when real Italian riders cheat past him in a race. Shaken but determined, Stohler is convinced by his pals—including Mike (Dennis Quaid) and the wisecracking Cyril (Daniel Stern)—to compete in Indiana University's Little 500 race.

Director Peter Yates shot the movie entirely in Bloomington, and Steve Tesich's Oscar-winning screenplay has a heartland sensibility but avoids the corny pep talks that drag down most "uplifting" sports films. Released seven years before Greg LeMond became the first American to win the Tour de France, this was our first chance to cheer for a guy on a bike—and dream about racing our own.

3. Touching the Void (2003)

"We didn't give a damn about anyone else or anything else and we wanted to climb the world. And it was fun; it was just brilliant fun. And every now and then it went wildly wrong. Then it wasn't."

So says the real-world Joe Simpson at the opening of what is, hands down, the best movie ever made about survival—and the only feature film that's gotten mountaineering right. Based on Simpson's best-selling 1998 book, the film details Simpson and climbing partner Simon Yates's 1985 ascent of Peru's 20,853-foot Siula Grande. Using studio interviews with the two Brits and a dialogue-free reenactment shot in the Alps, director Kevin Macdonald recounts their story with penetrating authenticity. On the descent, Simpson slides off a cliff. Yates, believing his partner dead and struggling against being pulled over the edge, cuts their connecting rope. The aftermath—Simpson's plummet into a deep crevasse and miraculous crawl to safety, and Yates's tormenting guilt—is agonizing to witness. Even when they reunite, there's no triumph, just an acknowledgment that the pain of the experience will dull but never vanish.

4. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

Interviewed in 1989, Lawrence costar Omar Sharif was blunt about the chutzpah it took to make this stunning epic: "If you are the man with the money and somebody . . . says he wants to make a film that's four hours long, with no stars, and no women, and no love story, and not much action either, and he wants to spend a huge amount of money to go film it in the desert, what would you say?"

Thankfully, producer Sam Spiegel said yes, and the result is cinema's grandest poem to sand and sky and the perverse joys of killing strangers in a strange land. Shot on location in Jordan, Spain, Morocco, and the UK, the film makes exceptional use of the big screen, scaling characters against landscapes with such precision and flair that you're sucked into the center of the dizzying spectacle of camels and sheiks and guns and desert. Granted, director David Lean does an incomplete and sometimes messy job of recounting the campaign by British soldier/adventurer T. E. Lawrence (Peter O'Toole) to unite warring Arab tribes against the Turks, but that hardly matters. Lawrence never falters as a visually triumphant masterpiece.

5. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Archaeology as blood sport! Who doesn't want to live (at least for 115 minutes) in a world where ancient treasure is hidden in a tropical cave booby-trapped with auto-firing poison darts, bottomless pits, and a giant stone ball? Almost 25 years later, Spielberg's Raiders still has us dashing off to the Andes, Nepal, or Cairo.

Writer George Lucas set out to pay homage to 1930s adventure-pulp heroes like Doc Savage and the Phantom but ended up transforming the genre into a modern pastiche of fun and ever wilder and more perilous exploits. At the onset of World War II, booty-hunting professor Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) races against the Nazis to find the Ark of the Covenant—resting place of the Ten Commandments and, supposedly, the power of God. Dr. Jones is a master in extreme environments, but his charm comes from the same reluctant-hero gene pool as that of Ford's Han Solo, in Star Wars. He'll rappel into a den of poisonous snakes and chase down a military convoy on a horse—but only because he has to. Plus, there's something about the badass simplicity of making a bullwhip your multitool.

6. The African Queen (1951)

In no other film is the transformative power of adventure realized with such clarity. Adapted from C. S. Forester's 1935 novel, this genre-bending picture—is it a comedy, love story, or travel epic?—follows hard-drinking steamboat captain Charlie Allnut (Humphrey Bogart) and stiff lady missionary Rose Sayer (Katharine Hepburn) on a journey through the backwaters of German East Africa, at the start of World War I.

Partnered by chance, they battle Class V whitewater, leeches, and each other in a quest to sink a German gunboat. Along the way they fall in love (natch), and Hepburn morphs into a hardened and enthusiastic river warrior. ("I never dreamed that any mere physical experience could be so stimulating!" she crows after a particularly hairy set of rapids.) More shocking still, Bogie turns into a gentleman. Under the guidance of powerhouse director John Huston, the lady-and-tramp interplay is flawless. Bogie's ability to broadcast onscreen frailty, which movie fans hadn't seen from him before, garnered the actor his only Oscar.

7. Aliens (1986)

Ridley Scott's Alien (1979) is a gothic, arty masterpiece, but James Cameron's Aliens is an even better ride. Marine private Hudson (Bill Paxton) descends through the atmosphere of planet LV-426 and articulates Cameron's ambition for the film pretty neatly, saying, "We're on an express elevator to hell." Not only did Cameron ratchet up the tempo with a parade of futuristic weapons and a relentless supply of slime-dripping, extendo-teeth space insectoids; he keenly picked up the predator-prey thread where Jaws left off. In the shark tale, a handful of humans lost their spot in the food chain. This time, our entire species has been demoted.

And who better to save us than Sigourney Weaver? Reprising her role as Ellen Ripley, the sole survivor of the spaceship crew that got munched in Alien, she signs on to consult a squad of marines dispatched to investigate what happened to the suddenly radio-silent settlers of LV-426. (Take a wild guess.) Ripley doesn't want to be there, but when the crew discovers an orphaned colonist named Newt (Carrie Henn), her fires are reignited. From that point on, she's the toughest mother figure since Mommie Dearest and one of the baddest and bravest action heroes Hollywood has ever produced.

8. Point Break (1991)

Yeah, it's ridiculous, but we love it anyway. Rookie FBI agent Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves) and his grizzled partner, Angelo Pappas (Gary Busey), are assigned to infiltrate an elusive crew of surfing criminals led by a Zen bad boy named Bodhi (Patrick Swayze). Reeves's monosyllabic dudespeak makes you wonder if he swallowed a Bill & Ted pill, but who cares? Director Kathryn Bigelow borrows a page from producer James Cameron (her husband at the time), eschewing plot logic to bring us uncomplicated adrenaline in the form of ass-kicking, skydiving shortboarders who, as Pappas puts it, "rip off banks to finance their endless summer."

The action alone makes Point Break exhilarating—the sight of pro surfer Matt Archbold (Swayze's double) dragging his shoulder blades across the curl of a cresting wave is one of the sweetest surf shots in Hollywood history. But underneath the pyrotechnics, it's Utah's evolution from former Corn Belt quarterback to SoCal soul surfer that—we blush to admit—got to us. Thirty minutes in, when Utah and Pappas's boss screams, "Do either of you have anything even remotely interesting to tell me?!" Utah doesn't flinch: "Caught my first tube this morning, sir."

We laughed. But we also understood.

9. The Black Stallion (1979)

Director Carroll Ballard has made a career out of examining relationships between humans and animals, but this, his first feature, is still his best. Adapted from Walter Farley's classic 1941 children's book, the movie starts as a twist on the classic Crusoe tale: 11-year-old Alec Ramsey (Kelly Reno), shipwrecked on a deserted island off North Africa, earns the friendship of a wild stallion. Shot on a beach in Sardinia, with no dialogue for some 25 minutes, Reno's patient courting of "the Black" works just as well on us—we're lured back into that imaginary world we occupied as children, and we don't want to leave.

Fortunately, the initial riding sequences, in which the Black and Ramsey charge through the surf, set us up for the Seabiscuit-esque fairy tale that follows, once they return to the United States. Mickey Rooney earned a supporting-actor Oscar nomination for his portrayal of veteran horse trainer Henry Dailey, but it's the elegantly crafted images of a boy playing with a horse that stick with you—and have you reveling in a mythic space hours after the story ends.

10. Blazing Saddles (1974)

If ever a genre needed levity, it was the Hollywood western, and only Mel Brooks is twisted enough to stock a riotous parody with Yiddish-speaking Indians and still make it work. Sinister developers, hoping to push a railroad line through the middle of a frontier town, try to run off its feebleminded citizens by sending in a brute squad and (gasp!) a black sheriff. Cleavon Little plays Sheriff Bart, a 1970s funksploitation hero stuck in the podunk prairie of the 19th century. Gene Wilder, as the Waco Kid, is Bart's de facto deputy, a drunken gunslinger who's "killed more men than Cecil B. DeMille." The famous sight (and sound) gags—the beans scene, the man-child Mongo knocking a horse out with one punch—are beyond excessive. Though some of the bigoted cursing makes you squirm, it's supposed to, and Brooks aimed his sharpest barbs at the racists. "These are people of the land," says the Waco Kid, describing to Bart why the townsfolk can't accept him. "The common clay of the New West. You know—morons."

Evolution of the Adventure Hero

From Tarzan and Bogie to Spicoli and Depp, a look at the rise of cinema's indestructible action archetype

1920 The Mark of Zorro: Swashbuckling and silent, Zorro (Douglas Fairbanks) becomes Tinseltown's first adventure icon.

1932 Tarzan the Ape Man: Olympic swimmer Johnny Weissmuller has gold-winning shoulders and the willingness to wear a loincloth on camera.

1938 The Adventures of Robin Hood: Hollywood takes men in tights seriously with Errol Flynn's gentleman bandit combining fancy swordplay and suave sophistication.

1950 Rio Grande: Ten-gallon hats, bandannas worn with rakish esprit, trotting off into sunsets—is there a western cliché that came before the Duke?

1951 The African Queen: Bogart's boozy riverboat captain, Charlie Allnut, brings gravitas and dry wit to the adventure stud.

1956 Moby Dick: As Captain Ahab, Gregory Peck tracks his beast, gets his butt kicked, and . . . dies lashed to the great whale's back. Well played!

1960 Spartacus: Who is Spartacus? Kirk Douglas is Spartacus! And he proves that men can wear sandals and miniskirts and still be tough as nails.

1962 Dr. No: Sean Connery is Bond—James Bond—a tuxedo-wearing, babe-shagging, licensed-to-kill Brit spy. Vodka martini sales go way up.

1963 The Great Escape: Steve McQueen establishes the strong, silent type, and more and more men let their motorcycles do the talking.

1969 Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid: Newman and Redford dish rugged charm, subtle humor, and fine acting as the infamous Wild West duo.

1973 Enter the Dragon: And enter Bruce Lee, auteur of the combat sequence. Lee choreographs all his own fights based on jeet kune do, his own form of martial art.

1975 The Eiger Sanction: As mountaineer Jonathan Hemlock, Clint Eastwood (who also directs) trades his pistol for automatic weapons and alpine espionage.

1977 Star Wars: Luke and Han enter the pop pantheon, as does Chewie (Peter Mayhew), loyal—and hairy—as a sheep dog.

1979 Alien: "This is Ripley, last survivor of the Nostromo, signing off." So says Sigourney Weaver, the first ass-kicking outer-space babe.

1982 The Man From Snowy River: Ah, a man and his horse . . . ride down a sheer cliff! Welcome to the club, Jim Craig (Tom Burlinson).

1982 Fast Times at Ridgemont High: "All I need is a cool buzz and some tasty waves and I'm fine." Sean Penn steps up as stoner surf master Spicoli, bane of a certain Mr. Hand.

1982 Conan The Barbarian: Arnold Schwarzenegger hits the silver screen, sword swinging—and we all buy gym memberships, hoping to get huge.

1985 Better Off Dead: John Cusack schusses Squaw Valley's K-12 chute to impress the belle of his high school. Who says angst-ridden teens can't be heroes, too?

1985 Pee-Wee's Big Adventure: Gotta love a guy whose dream is to win the Tour de France.

1986 "Crocodile" Dundee: Paul Hogan is an Aussie croc hunter in New York. A cliché is born.

1988 Die Hard: As John McClane, Bruce Willis wages a one-man war on terror long before it's cool.

1988 The Great Outdoors: In the misadventurous spirit of Tim Cahill, John Candy and Dan Aykroyd take their turns as bumbling outdoorsmen of the big screen.

1992 A River Runs Through It: Brad Pitt puts fly-fishing on the map. We're still trying to figure out what the hell "shadow casting" is.

1992 The Last of the Mohicans: Daniel Day-Lewis pulls off Hawkeye, pioneer-turned-Indian. Not bad for an English actor!

1993 CliffHanger: Absurd, sure, but revel in the spectacle of Sly dangling in the Dolomites. "Yo, Adrian, I'm on belay!"

1993 Free Willy: Orcas make great pets. Er, actually, no, they don't. Willy (Keiko) proves it.

1994 The River Wild: Meryl Streep—performing most of her own stunts—is Gail, a retired river guide and the ultimate backcountry supermom.

1997 Seven Years in Tibet: Pitt again, now as Austrian alpinist and Dalai Lama chum Heinrich Harrer. free tibet sticker, anyone?

1997 Austin Powers: international man of mystery: Secret agent Powers (Mike Myers) ranks somewhere between Pee-wee and Chewbacca—but is oh-so quotable!

1999 The Matrix: Keanu Reeves's Neo navigates a virtual wilderness. Nice metaphor for the modern workplace.

2000 The Perfect Storm: Swordfishing-boat captain Billy Tyne (George Clooney) takes on an angry Ma Nature. Guess who wins?

2001 Lara Croft: Tomb Raider: The ultimate nerd-pleaser: Angelina Jolie as an archaeologist, in Lycra, traipsing through a humid Cambodian jungle.

2002 The Scorpion King: The Rock stole the show in The Mummy Returns, so he gets his very own prequel.

2002 xXx: Vin Diesel wheelies into the spotlight as Hollywood's beefcake du jour.

2002 Blue Crush: Kate Bosworth, we love you. Will you marry us?

2003 Pirates of the Caribbean: Johnny Depp is swishy pirate and rake Jack Sparrow. Finally, someone brings a little class to the rogue's rogue.

2004 The Day After Tomorrow: As a fearless climatologist, Dennis Quaid battles nature at its very, very worst. Global warming was never so exciting.

2004 The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou: Bill Murray brings heady dysfunction and an ever-present doobie to his role as a Jacques Cousteau–like undersea explorer bent on avenging his best friend's death at the jaws of the elusive "jaguar shark."

2005 Sin City: Frank Miller's graphic novel gone cinematic gives us a resurrected Mickey Rourke as noir vigilante Marv, a righteous comic hero who leaves appalling slaughter in his wake.

Outside Classics

Best Vacation-Inspiring Odyssey

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
An epic quest with the most eye-popping scenery on film. Sure, it's a fantasy involving furry-footed little men, but LOTR makes us want to trek through the mountains, across the plains, and under the forest canopy on our own New Zealand adventure.

Best Bad-Weather Drama

The Perfect Storm (2000)
What began as a 1994 Outside feature by Sebastian Junger became a titanic best-selling book and a Hollywood blockbuster. But even when you know the real-life story of the Andrea Gail—a fishing boat caught in one of the most hellish nor'easters ever—the suspense and special effects are still hair-raising.

Best Horror Flick (with Paddles)

Deliverance (1972)
Four friends set out on a river trip in Appalachia and wind up either dead or scarred for life. Starring Burt Reynolds and Jon Voight, the film teaches everything you never wanted to know about murder by bow and arrow, evil hillbillies, and the dark side of "city boy" egotism.

Best Two-Wheeled Adventure

The Motorcycle Diaries (2004)
This portrait of the revolutionary as a young man features Gael García Bernal as the 23-year-old Che Guevara, who in 1951—when he was a med-school student—took a moto trip across South America with his friend Alberto Granado (Rodrigo De la Serna). If all odysseys were this transformative, there'd be a lot more hell-raisers in the world.

Best Reason Not to Go Camping

The Blair Witch Project (1999)
Josh, Mike, and Heather are lost in a Maryland forest, hunted by an unseen force, and captured on camera looking justifiably terrified. Then they die. If only they'd remembered to bring the GPS!

Tainted Love​: The Best Adventure Movies

Blue Lagoon (1980)

  • Why It's So Wrong: Most of us watched to see if Christopher Atkins and Brooke Shields would make like Adam and Eve. They did (sort of), but while the filmmakers had us trapped, they served up 104 minutes of bad dialogue.
  • Why It's So Right: Tropical beaches, beautiful scenery, two innocents stumbling upon unspoiled paradise. It's The Lord of the Flies, except this time one of the castaways is a nymphet.

Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989)

  • Why It's So Wrong: Even if your high school classmates were totally bogus, there's no way they were stupider than these two guys (Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter), who use a time machine to meet VIPs like Beethoven and Joan of Arc and haul them back to Southern California so they can ace a history report.
  • Why It's So Right: Lines like "Want a Twinkie, Genghis Khan?" are pretty damn funny. And we love the fact that SoCal slackers save the world. Party on!

Cliffhanger (1993)

  • Why It's So Wrong: We tried to count the ways, but between John Lithgow's lame British accent, Sylvester Stallone's rock-jock jive, and the endless alpine absurdities—including a gun that fires bolts directly into rock—well, we lost track.
  • Why It's So Right: Toothy peaks, daring rescues, Rocky in crampons . . . oh, and lines like "Gravity's a bitch, ain't it?"

Vertical Limit (2000)

  • Why It's So Wrong: Chris "Mr. Sensitive" O'Donnell as a burly K2 mountaineer? Ahem, we'd like to fire someone in casting. There's also the little matter of getting everything wrong, from climbing technique to the shape of K2. But whatever.
  • Why It's So Right: It's a blast to watch grimacing actors haul liquid nitro up the world's second-highest peak.

xXx (2002)

  • Why It's So Wrong: For starters, the deadly flood of one-liners from Vin Diesel, who says things like "I live for this shit" just before getting yanked, via parachute, out of a zooming airplane.
  • Why It's So Right: BASE jumping off bridges, motocross chases in Colombia, a cameo by skater king Tony Hawk, and Diesel playing an extreme-sports-star-turned-secret-agent who can snowboard an avalanche.

Action on Everest

"You could have taken the '96 crowd out of central casting," says Beck Weathers, author of Left for Dead: My Journey Home from Everest, a 2000 book in which the Texas physician writes about his barely surviving Mount Everest in 1996, the infamous year that eight climbers died in a mountain storm. "The people were certainly more interesting than the piece of real estate."

Hollywood seems to agree, hence the decision to tell the dark story of Everest '96 once again—this time in a big-budget, big-screen feature film from Universal Studios/Working Title Films titled Everest and slated to be directed by Billy Elliot's Stephen Daldry. It's certainly a blockbuster story, but so far fans of Jon Krakauer's 1996 magazine account in Outside, and his best-selling book Into Thin Air, have had to squeeze satisfaction from one made-for-TV movie (ABC's dismal 1997 adaptation of Krakauer's book) and a brief glimpse of some of the climbers, including a severely frostbitten Weathers, in David Breashears's 1998 Imax film, also titled Everest.

As we reported in early 2004, Universal/Working Title has begun work on a feature about the peak, one that takes a different look at the Krakauer story, which focused a great deal of attention on the controversial decisions by guides Scott Fischer and Rob Hall to keep pushing for the summit after their designated turnaround time. Already, the filmmakers have reinterviewed many of the surviving climbers and family members and have optioned Weathers's book. The plan is to tell a "more personal story," says producer Jon Finn (Billy Elliot), one that follows Weathers and Kiwi guide Hall, who perished in a storm while trying to lead another client down the mountain.

As of this summer, the project was gathering serious momentum. Breashears, a coproducer, shot background footage on Everest in May 2004. Daldry has just emerged from staging a musical version of Billy Elliot and is turning his attention to Everest, determined to make it both authentic and dramatically appealing. That means location shoots, believable effects, and a story audiences care about—in other words, exactly the kind of climbing movie that Hollywood has had a hard time getting right in the past.

Technical accuracy and Himalayan filming aren't the only reasons the film has been in the slow cooker. Daldry wasn't satisfied with the first screenplay, from writer Michael Cristofer, so he turned to Lem Dobbs (The Limey) for a second try. Daldry hopes to begin principal photography in December 2005, with the film hitting theaters sometime in 2007.

No casting decisions have yet been made, but Daldry has reportedly talked to Nicole Kidman about playing Hall's wife, Jan Arnold. Weathers says he doesn't care who plays him, so long as the film rings true.

"I hope they make a good movie and that the people come across realistically," adds Weathers, who lost a hand and his nose to frostbite. "I also hope they don't make me look like the love child out of Deliverance."

Wild at Heart

Three critter flicks we love

Winged Migration (2001)
The Skinny: An amazing wing-side view of our feathered friends migrating thousands of miles over all seven continents—starring grebes and geese and gannets. Oh, my.
Beastly bonus: Thanks to cams mounted on planes, gliders, and balloons, every shot is a how'd-they-do-that thrill ride.

Babe: Pig in the City (1998)
The Skinny: Babe, the indomitable oinker (pictured above) who wins a sheepherding contest for his master, Farmer Hoggett, comes to the rescue once more, this time by traveling to the big city to raise money and save the farm.
Beastly bonus: This noirish sequel offers some of the same apocalyptic ferocity seen in the Mad Max trilogy (films also directed by George Miller). A visual feast, it brilliantly captures the perilousness of being an animal, and an outsider, in a cruel bipedal world.

Jurassic Park (1993)
The Skinny: A tropical island's worth of hungry, terrifying, life-size dinosaurs—and some of them are smarter than you.
Beastly bonus: The best T. rex scene on film, featuring a theater-shakingly loud specimen out to get two kids trapped in a truck. (And who wouldn't want to see dinos try to eat Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum, too?)

Coming Soon

  • Lords of Dogtown (June 3): Why We're Psyched: A fact-based feature film about Stacy Peralta and buddies Jay Adams and Tony Alva—the Southern California brats who revolutionized skateboarding in the mid-seventies—Lords of Dogtown promises action, attitude, and skillz.Into the
  • Blue (July 15): Why We're Psyched: Dirtbag scuba divers (Paul Walker and Jessica Alba) search for sunken treasure while fending off drug smugglers and a rival salvage team. What more could you want for suspense? Oh, yeah—sharks. This one's got it all.
  • Grizzly Man (August 19): Why We're Psyched: Famed director Werner Herzog (Fitzcarraldo) recounts the rise and fall of Timothy Treadwell, the bear activist who, with girlfriend Amie Huguenard, was killed by an Alaskan grizzly in 2003. The documentary offers Treadwell's own footage spliced with interviews of his loved ones. This one could stay with us for a while.
  • The Cave (August 19): Why We're Psyched: "There are places man was never meant to go," the movie tagline reads. We're hoping one of them won't be this stud- and babe-filled flick about a dive team stalked by creatures in a huge unexplored cave system. We have a feeling somebody gets chewed.

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