A real-life writer in his 60's named Bill Bryson (Robert Redford) has been living peacefully with his family in New Hampshire for twenty years. Despite speculation among his audience, as a writer, he has no current plans for any future releases of any books.
While attending a funeral, he takes a small stroll to the Appalachian Trail and decides that he wants to live the adventure of hiking the trail in it's entirety. He contacts several people in hopes to have someone join him on the journey, only to eventually be contacted by a guy named Stephen Katz (Nick Nolte), who shows an interest. The thing is, they haven't spoken in several years since a falling out. However reluctant though, no one else will join him on this hike, so they agree to undergo the journey together.
While it's inspiring to see these two go on their both physical and emotional journey, the film unfortunately falls a bit short in any sort of awe-factor. It really is just a couple of old guys walking around in the woods and sharing stories and information, getting to know each other a bit better as people, etc. It reminded me a lot of 'The Bucket List', but far less tear-forcing. Wherein 'The Bucket List' you know it can only end sadly, this leaves things a little more open.
Some of the people they come across offer to help, or spend some time with them, but again, no one really sticks out. They're mostly just passers by. That is until Kristen Schaal comes into the picture. If you don't know who she is, she's most notably known for being the voice of Mabel in 'Gravity Falls'. And if you're anything like me and enjoy the overall cute goofiness of Mabel Pines, you will enjoy her character here, because that's essentially who she's playing. Apart from her, appearances are made by Emma Thompson as Bill's wife, Catherine, Nick Offerman as the guy selling them their camping equipment, and Mary Steenburgen as Jeanie, a motel owner who seems to have the hots for Bill.
The characters are relatable enough, and feel reel enough (at least most of them), and the overall story from Bill's perspective is a nice, simple coming of age story (if that counts for people over 60, I'm not sure). But I did find two massive things about this that I'm afraid I have to criticize it for. This begins with these characters I just covered. Basically, they're all just faces along the way. But in some cases, like with Kristen Schaal's character, you're really curious to know what ever happened to her.
The other thing is that there didn't seem to be a lot of consequence from this whole adventure. For example, they have a moment where they have to face some black bears and the problem isn't exactly intimidating as it's going down. Granted, the solution is actually somewhat realistic, but I daresay that things need to at least feel threatening when you're putting them on the screen. It doesn't have to look like 'The Edge' or anything, but you'd imagine more fear in the scene at the very least.
It's the kind of movie one might catch on a Sunday afternoon, when one wishes to just chill out and enjoy an afternoon of quiet nothingness. There's a bit of a charm to the movie overall, but in the end, it's simply not the best work of anyone involved. It gets a pass, but it's really unenthusiastic. I'm willing to bet that the book of the same name it's based on is probably more entertaining, as it's sure to be more personal. I might give it a shot, myself.