Though I admit it with a fair amount of hesitation, I've been a skeptic on "The River Why" since I first heard about it a couple years ago. Despite the theatrical success of "The Movie" (A River Runs Through It), the boon it was for the sport of fly fishing and the lack of a fictional, feature-length film dedicated to our sport in the years since -- I wasn't sure that what 'The River Why' appeared to be was what I would have wanted for the sport. I'm still not, and that's because I still haven't seen it. Yet the film has, however, been well received by many in the fly fishing community, and the folks behind the film have been doing a lot of apparent good by screening the film and donating the proceeds to conservation organizations.
While searching for more information today, I stumbled on a quote in 1859 Magazine by the author of the book that 'The River Why' is both based on and derives its name from. The book's author, David James Duncan, when asked what he thought about the film had the following to say. "Sigh. I engaged in a three-year legal battle against the producers of the film over their handling of my film rights. That battle was settled ... My name is off the film, Sierra Club’s name is off the film, and the rights have returned to me. I tried to remove my title from their film, too, but the federal magistrate in San Francisco let them keep it ... The current filmmakers held my rights for 25 years, and repeatedly tried to sell off the “property” they claimed to be “developing,” yet claim their efforts are “a labor of love.” Could be, but please spare me any such love. They wrote a crappy screenplay, filmed in a rush to outrace my lawsuits, used a non-fly fisher to play a "Mozart" of a fly fisher, used a rubber salmon to play a wild chinook, and so on."
My confusion continues as the reception of the fly fishing community seems at odds with the opinions of the author of the much loved book that inspired the movie. Are there sour grapes to blame, or are too many fly fisherman just desperate for a new fly fishing movie? Someone clue me in. Or maybe I should just see the damned movie already.
I also recently stumbled on a great read on striper fishing on Casco Bay's flats in Maine. This is the sort of striper fishing I'm determined to find in New Jersey, and which I'm convinced must exist despite finding no evidence of the fact that it does. Check out the article in Midcurrent.
ginkthefly replied on Permalink
The movie doesn't do itself any favors by choosing a backlit tween kiss as the poster for the film.
The_Riffler replied on Permalink
bah ... i wrote this movie off the moment i heard about it. i know everyone keeps acting like it's what we've been waiting for, but it isn't (i personally wasn't waiting for anything). i don't need some half-assed, melodramatic portrayal of fly fishing. there is no shortage of great films right now that portray all the passion of fly fishing without packaging it up in some horse shit hollywood wrapper.