Movies: The Ultimate Survival Guides

18 Sep

I watched 127 Hours last night.

For those of you who are unaware, 127 Hours is a movie based on a true story and stars James Franco.  It focuses on the 127 Hours that a real guy spent stuck with his hand lodged between a rock and, well, a bigger rock, in the middle of nowhere.  **SPOILER ALERT** At the end he cuts off the portion of his arm that has him caught and with basically no food and water, drags himself to help and survives to live a long and lovely life.

I’m assuming that wasn’t a spoiler for most of you because it came out a long time ago.  But I don’t live in movie release time.  I live in Redbox and Netflix release time.  Sometimes it takes me a while to catch up to everything but boy do I save a bundle.  In fact, last night was the first time in a long while that I’d stopped by a movie theater.  I didn’t go in; I just stood outside with Dave pondering whether or not to drop 10 bucks to see The Lion King on the big screen.

Apparently the only time I consider spending money at the theater is when I’m offered to see something that I’ve seen several times and came out over 15 years ago.

Anyway none of this is my point. My point is that the dude cut his arm off.  And though by that time in the movie I was totally rooting for him to be free from his canyon of sorrows, I don’t think I could ever do it myself.   I couldn’t even watch James Franco pretend to do it – I had to turn away about half way through the hacking and ask Dave to tell me when it was over.

This concerns me.  I think about this sort of thing a lot.  Would I be able to cut a piece of my own body off if not doing it meant certain death? The answer every time is no.  Honestly, no.  I don’t think I can hack my own flesh up so much that I actually detach a limb.

What if I find myself in this kind of situation sometime?  I don’t do a lot of canyon traversing, but there could be a similar scenario.  And then what has a movie like 127 Hours taught me? Nothing at all.  I’ll die a stupid fool who will wish she spent every moment from the time she saw James Franco to the time she died learning how to psyche herself up enough to tear into her own flesh.

I think I watch too many movies because I spend most of my idle time thinking through these sorts of scenarios.  When I’m at work, I walk through what I’d do if someone had a gun in the building and was going on a terror spree.    At the store or bank, I walk through several robbery and heist movies.  

If I’ve seen it in a movie, on TV, or read about it in a book or the news, I’ve thought through what I’d do in my life if faced with similar circumstances.  A car flashes its high beams at me, I don’t flash them back, and then they drive after me and try to kill me? Check.  I stop my car at an intersection and a crazy killer opens the passenger door and holds me hostage to drive them somewhere?  Got it covered.  I’m walking down the street at night and the person I casually cross on the sidewalk turns around and mugs me?  

Well, I’ve thought that one out but it usually ends in me giving them my money.  So I try not to carry anything.  But then I’m afraid they’ll hurt me because they’re angry I’m poor so I usually just cross the street before people get to me.

It’s quite a predicament.  And don’t even get me started on how much the Saw movies messed me up.  When I saw the first one I had to sit in the theater afterward to recuperate.  Absolute mindexploder.

I read a book called Hatchet in elementary school and made sure to remember that if I’m ever stranded in a remote area and need help and a helicopter or airplane flies overhead, I can take anything metal I have on me and try to reflect the sunlight up to them so they come check it out.  I also read a book called Julie of the Wolves and now know how to stay warm on a cool wintry night on the tundra so I don’t freeze to death.  I even made to sure commit to memory the logic that Sarah uses in the movie Labyrinth to tell which door is lying about the correct path and which door isn’t so that I know how to get through the maze to the goblin king, David Bowie, and save a member of my family he has kidnapped.

You know, just in case.

You can't fool me, goblin king.

Let’s hope these writers did some research because I’m really clinging to these methods.

So right now the scenario I’m playing over and over in my head is whether I could hack off a body part to save my life.  I don’t know how to psyche up for that.  There’s gotta be something I can do to prepare myself.   Maybe I can hunt down the real life guy whose story was featured in this movie and try to get some tips.

After all, I’d sure hate to be in a similar pickle and think of this blog post and how I’d be able to gnaw off my foot if I would have just committed to figuring it out the day I wrote it. 


26 Responses to “Movies: The Ultimate Survival Guides”

  1. Emily May September 18, 2011 at 9:24 am #

    First Comment!

    Anyway, I often find myself doing the exact same thing, imagining what I would do if I was stuck in a scenario similar to the movie. And I haven’t even watched the saw movies for fear of what they would do to my delicate brain! I also watched 127 hours, and managed to watch that part where he hacks through his… Yeah, that part. But I did cling onto Alex’s arm so tightly there were marks on there.

    They stayed there the next day. Great post – ever so true!


    • Jules September 19, 2011 at 1:00 pm #

      Did you just call “First”??

      I thought that annoyance was only prevalent on the youtubes. Please keep it there. Thanks!


      • Jackie September 21, 2011 at 10:52 pm #

        I LOVE that someone called first on my comments.


    • Jackie September 21, 2011 at 11:17 pm #

      Thank you, thank you, thank you for calling first comment. Made my day.

      The Saw movies got a little ridiculous, but the first one seriously messed me up. I’ll never forget how terrible of a time I had with it.

      And I tried to cling to Dave’s arm but I just couldn’t make it. Love that it left marks haha!


      • Jules September 23, 2011 at 6:51 pm #

        Was she calling First Comment as in first comment by that user on your blog — ever?! If so, I might have misunderstood the context and assumed someone calling FIRST, as in first to leave a comment. 😦


        • Jackie September 25, 2011 at 9:35 pm #

          First comment on that post – Em is a frequent commenter 🙂


  2. misswhiplash September 18, 2011 at 9:39 am #

    i think that most of us worry about what we would do in situations and it is not until it happens that you find that you have the courage to do exactly the opposite than what you thought you would do.
    There was a man in Uk yesterday or the day before who was fatally stabbed because he would not hand over his mobile phone. I am sorry that he is dead..but for a mobile ,.. no way.
    as for chopping of bits of your body to survive..that’s a tough one but until you are faced with no alternative, you will never know.
    I just hope that nothing nasty ever happens but you can never be 100% sure. It was a good post and gave us something to think about !!!!


    • Jackie September 21, 2011 at 11:16 pm #

      Wow. For a phone? Then again maybe he was standing up for not being bullied. Still – silly to lose one’s life for something material.

      I sure hope it never happens either – I wish I could turn off the part of my brain that puts me in those terrible scenarios sometimes 🙂


  3. whatimeant2say September 18, 2011 at 10:50 am #

    I worry about these things too. I also mentally prepare for my car plunging into the brink every time I drive over a body of water. Of course, chances are that no matter what events we prepare ourselves for, we will end up being confronted by the one thing we didn’t think of!


    • Jackie September 21, 2011 at 11:15 pm #

      YES! Plunging into a body of water while in a car is a big one. I know I have to roll the window down as I’m headed toward my death because the car door won’t open from the pressure. I also know I’m screwed if I have power windows (which believe it or not comes into play when car shopping).

      True – it will be the one movie I passed over. But I recently watched Tron just in case I get stuck in a video game. Both versions, just in case I also get sent back in time in a video game.


  4. themovieblog8 September 18, 2011 at 11:57 am #

    I definitely couldn’t cut off my own arm. Great post, some of these things I’ve never thought about, although the answers come fairly quickly. (It’s almost always “hide behind something” or yell “look it’s Snooki!”)


    • Jackie September 21, 2011 at 11:14 pm #

      Genuinely laughed out loud @ Snooki. Thank you for that 🙂


  5. whatimeant2say September 18, 2011 at 12:39 pm #

    I love your blog, and named you for the Versatile Blogger Award. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is outlined on my blog. Thanks for all of the smiles you give me!


    • Jackie September 21, 2011 at 11:13 pm #

      Thanks!! I never know what to do with these – I have yet to follow the rules and actually post on it and then do I post them on my blog or do I just say thanks and move oooon – I’m so awkward. But I Absolutely appreciate it – thank you so much for thinking of me. Love following your blog, btw. I really enjoy the way you write.


  6. notquiteold September 18, 2011 at 7:36 pm #

    It’s difficult for me to remove a splinter. So I guess, No.


    • Jackie September 21, 2011 at 11:12 pm #

      LOL well then problem solved for you – you’re a goner. Don’t ever go anywhere for a long time and not tell someone where you’re going.


  7. Jules September 18, 2011 at 8:54 pm #

    I learned a life saving habit from this. No, it’s not to carry around a cheap chinese multitool. It’s real simple. If you’re going out somewhere alone, don’t be cocky and not tell anyone about it. Maybe I should practice what I preach because I don’t do this enough.


    • Jackie September 21, 2011 at 11:11 pm #

      Yes absolutely. I would also argue that it’s to be well-prepared, but swiss army knife or not, cutting off a limb is no easy task. It really was as simple as telling someone where you are.

      I wonder though – he was led to do what he did because he knew no one would find him. I wonder what the outcome would have been if he thought there was a chance someone would come.


  8. egills September 19, 2011 at 5:00 am #

    Oh.. I watched Alive many years ago and that made me think.. starve to death or eat dead fellow human…
    I suppose if I was in that situation I’d have to think long and hard.. would I last the blood loss… would I be able to get to help before starving… I know one answer I’d have is the scissors and plasters I carry in my rucksack when I do go walking wouldn’t be good enough to do the deed… but maybe the vasoline I also carry might help me slip out of the situation?


    • Jackie September 21, 2011 at 11:06 pm #

      YES! Like cannibalism. I think about that all the time. If I had to eat someone, could I? What if they offered up a part of themselves – could I seriously do it? Gross.


  9. knotrune September 19, 2011 at 7:02 am #

    I wouldn’t worry too much. Human capabilities change in desperate situations, brain chemistry helps – if attacked adrenaline can make you think and act faster and apparently be ten times as strong. I guess the effects on the brain of being stuck for 127 hours would have some effect on brain chemistry too – hallucinations, maybe even endorphins to help numb the pain. You really can’t know how you’d react until tested under conditions where your brain chemistry has altered your mental state.


    • Jackie September 21, 2011 at 11:03 pm #

      Very true. I must trust in the power of adrenaline. And hunger. And fear of certain death.

      I think about those stories of super human feats too – things like a single person lifting a car to save someone else. It’s awe-inspiring. How can someone possibly do it?!

      Adrenaline, Jackie. Adrenaline.


  10. pegoleg September 19, 2011 at 10:25 am #

    My daughter was at a convention last week and that guy spoke. As you can imagine, she said he was totally inspirational.

    I also preplan/suffer through all sorts of “what-if” scenarios thinking I’ll be ready. But I don’t know about cutting off a limb. Maybe you should take a sick day to really think this out, just in case?


    • Jackie September 21, 2011 at 10:59 pm #

      How fantastic! I’d love to see him speak somewhere. It just boggles the mind what he went through.

      I should really consider the sick day. Or maybe take a sick day to consider the sick day.

      I have a lot of thinking to do.


  11. iiphotoart September 19, 2011 at 2:55 pm #

    really enjoy reading your blog…keep up the good work!


    • Jackie September 21, 2011 at 10:51 pm #

      Well thank you so much for letting me know! I really appreciate the encouragement.


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