PC # 55 – The Way, the movie

I am staggered at how many people have done, are doing, or will do the Camino because of the movie, The Way.

From a craft perspective, it's not a great film.

From a box office perspective, it was a complete flop. It's opening weekend in the US was $110,000. That's embarrassing.

It's total world wide box office to date is $4.4m. That's a dud. That kind of box office ends careers.

Yet it's Rotten Tomatoes score – an industry guide now to how a film is received by critics and audiences – is spectacular.

82% of critics liked it, and 83% of audiences liked it.

Those kind of numbers save careers. And interestingly, the critics and audience numbers are almost identical. That's rare.

But culturally, the film has had a huge impact.

Huge.

I cannot count how many people I've spoken to who have told me that they decided to walk the Camino after seeing that film. And not only Americans – but people from all over the world.

Cinema can have a powerfully beneficial impact on society, as this film has had, and continues to have.

But I'm curious to hear from you guys – what was it about The Way, after seeing it, that made you want to walk the Camino?

 

130 thoughts on “PC # 55 – The Way, the movie

  1. I wanted for my wife and son to get an idea of what I was talking about when I described to them what I wanted to do. The film kind of made it a bit more real for both of them, or so they tell me. I have wanted to do el CDN for many years but I started to get serious at around the beginning of 2010. I think that for me the movie helps to focus on the prize, walking the camino with my wife and son, which in itself is an invaluable experience.

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  2. Hi Bill,

    I had already decided to walk the Camino and was totally immersed into training when the movie was released here in Arizona. Naturally, I went to the theater the day it opened because I knew I already had solid plans for my September/October 2012 Camino.

    The film did not, as you know, depict the true essence of the Camino. Sure he stayed in albergues, sure the pilgrims were friendly and became his family helping him when he was in a jamb. But all of the landscape they filmed was pristine old time Camino trails – I was a little shocked to see how much pavement and how many highways I walked alongside and nearby last fall. And I think the film romanticized the cities of Burgos and Leon. I do know I was a bit apprehensive of the Burgos Gypsies, which turned out to be totally unfounded.

    I don’t think the movie influenced my decision at all. Of course, what I say regarding the movie is simply my personal opinion.

    Arlene

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    • Like you Arlene, I wasn’t impressed with the film from a story point of view.

      The gypsy sequences were just to add drama and conflict. And I don’t think the film properly dealt with the Meseta, which is a huge part of the Camino.

      I think from a narrative perspective, it’s very difficult telling a linear story like that one and maintaining audience interest – but the Rotten Tomato scores would say otherwise.

      I have to say I wasn’t surprised when I went onto imDb Pro and checked the box office figures. However, the range of influence of the film has been amazing.

      Bill

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  3. My wife and I saw the movie at home on our cable movie channel. As soon as it ended, we both spent several hours on our computers researching it. We were drawn by the spirituality, the beauty, the total experience. The next day at church the title of the sermon was The Way. We were sold. We did three weeks worth of the Camino in June, from St. Jean to Fromista. It was everything we expected and so much more. We plan on completing the journey next year.

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      • We stayed in a casa rural in Hornillos and there was a The Way movie poster on the wall signed by Martin and Emilio. Turns out the owner is the brother of Emilio’s daughter-in-law. Supposedly, both Martin and Emilio stayed at the same casa rural.

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  4. I am a sucker for any film with Martin Sheen! Seeing The Way was not the reason that I wanted to walk the Camino. I was in Santiago as a foreign exchange student when I was 16. I watched the pilgrims come to the Cathedral, and told myself that I would walk the pilgrimage one day. The movie — caught by pure accident on Netflix one night — spurred me on. I know it is a box office flop, but I think it is an awesome film. I have now watched it five times. I was touched by the film in a way I cannot describe. Until I saw the movie, I didn’t truly understand the human transformation made possible by the Camino. Until I saw the movie I thought of it as an “adventure” through the eyes of a 16 year-old. Seeing the movie opened my eyes to emotional passage as well as the physical one.

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  5. I’m not a movie person, but a co-worker suggested I might enjoy The Way. I was skeptical, but got it from the library, and was hooked by the scenery and the challenge that I could do it alone and be reasonably safe. I’ve seen it eight times. I especially appreciated listening to the commentary about the making of the film – the simplicity of it’s making, learning that the Sheen/Estevez family originally came from Gallicia and their occasional connections to locations along the Camino. In a simplistic way, I enjoyed watching the personalities merge.
    Gradually, as I’ve read more and listened to people talk about their experiences on the Camino, I realize this is a much deeper undertaking – in so many ways. I am SO grateful to have been guided to this movie, and terribly excited to be on my way in about 7 weeks!
    Terry

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    • HI Terry with a “y” ! –

      🙂

      it’s fabulous that the movie has impacted you in such a powerful way.

      I haven’t heard the commentary yet – I’ve bought the DVD and would like to do so – but I’d forgotten the Galician connection with the Estevez family.

      It’s really amazing how that film has triggered people.

      Bill

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  6. Hmm, my mom always told me, if you have nothing nice to say about something, stay quiet. Did not always listen to what she said.

    I watched the movie with my neighbor and husband the night before I left for the Camino. I had purposely avoided to watch it. My friends who had walked before me suggested I not ‘contaminate’ my journey by having unrealistic expectations.

    I liked the movie for seeing the sights, sympathized with the story line and got a good giggle out of some of the scenes. My husband especially enjoyed the segment with the crazy monk/hospitalero and said that he expects me to come home with that stamp. ;-). The Camino is not the movie. It is not even in sequence and a great disappointment to some of my walking companions who wanted to ‘repeat’ the movie walk. I know of 2 couples, who gave up, because it just wasn’t like the movie. What I do know is that the movie would never have inspired me to walk the Camino. Just like in 1999, the book by Hape Herkeling brought an influx of European walkers, since the release of The Way, the Camino has become more crowded overall and continues to experience some trouble some changes. There are a lot of Tourists walking, less Pilgrims. My Spanish friends who live along the Camino have to deal with both and it is a challenge.

    For anyone walking the Camino in the future, please remember Tourists demand, Pilgrims accept!
    Walk with an open heart, a smile on your face, leave your expectations at home, stop worrying and just put one foot in front of the other. Open your eyes and ears. See and hear what the Camino tells you and you will have the time of your life – your own very precious movie – that will replay in your heart for the rest of your days. Buen Camino.

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    • Ingrid,

      Interesting how two similar journeys can bring such different perspectives. I am not sure how to tell the difference in a tourist and a pilgrim. I never encountered or observed anyone with a demanding or demeaning attitude. I never saw anyone who appeared to me to be offensive. I regret that you and some of your Spanish friends have had a different experience.

      I watched movie and that is what got me interested in the Camino. I don’t care whether the actual Camino tracked the movie or not, as one was a movie based loosely on the Camino and the other was the actual experience of walking the Camino. I don’t care that they don’t particularly parallel. I would have to watch it again now that I have walked it to ascertain the differences. By pure circumstance, I had the pleasure of staying at the Hotel Akeretta which is the hotel featured in the movie and even occupied Martin Sheen’s room. We thought that was pretty cool. So, in short, I liked the movie and I liked the Camino. I think I saw a challenge in walking it when I watched the movie and that is what motivated me. It was neither a religious or spiritual quest, though I certainly got some of that along the way. As I have said before, I just showed up and walked without expectation. I had no disappointments except for Jill having foot problems and the continuous weather issues, but with the weather, you just take what you get, but I did not expect it to be that bad for that long. But then neither of my co pilgrims did either. We were all in it together.

      Steve

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      • Steve, that’s amazing! You had the same room as Martin Sheen in that fabulous hotel!! Did you request it, or was it just a gift from the universe?

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          • Folks –

            I saw the photo. It is still indelibly seared into my brain.

            I would advise you to avoid this photo. it will scar you for life it will cost you thousands in therapy..

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          • I thought you signed off. You just jealous cause you did not think to put a photo of you in a bubble bath, but then again you were not in Martin Sheen’s bathtub.

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          • Some of us are “true pilgrims” Steve.

            We do not approve of bathtubs, even if they are celebrity endorsed.

            We true pilgrims bathed nightly in streams, or if there were no streams handy, in water channels, or if there were no water channels handy, under a tap. And if there were no taps handy, from the pure clean water of a spring. And if there were no springs handy with pure clean water, then we’d spray ourselves with beer.

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          • Steve,
            I also stayed in the same hotel in Akretta. Joseph the owner was great wasn’t he? I didn’t get Sheen’s room, darn. But ……………… not sure if I should tell this story, but what the heck, if you are directing us to your blog with a picture of you in Sheen’s bathtub.

            After cleaning up for the day, I was sitting outside on the patio reading my email, when I looked up to the balcony where I think Sheen was looking down on the proprietor’s imaginary bull fight. And guess what was there? A male pilgrim, obviously just showered, hanging out his clothing over the balcony railing. He was totally without any clothing, guess he had just washed it all. He saw all the people on the patio looking and he didn’t seem to care one bit. Nobody looked at or spoke to him that night at dinner.

            Isn’t that the same hotel where in the movie, Sheen saw the guy hanging his laundry on a washline in nothing more than his thong? Maybe this guy saw the movie and thought he would provide a bit of one-upmanship.

            Arlene

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          • Arlene, I need to go back and watch the movie now that I have done the Camino. We could not sit on the balcony as it was, of course, raining. That was a 1723 building that Joseph and his wife had spent 4 years redoing. I loved that they kept all of the old wood beams and flooring where possible.

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      • Steve, we may have the seed of a crisis or a confession here. Cast your eyes down to the bottom of the page. It seems that in one of Bills own posts he has made a Freudian slip- and thereby admitted he is also….a SEAL KILLER.

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    • Ingrid, I think its hilarious that some people gave up because the Camino wasn’t like the movie.

      I think that is so so funny!!

      It’s actually at the heart of a bigger subject – how audiences interpret drama as factual entertainment.

      “The Way” is a movie, it’s not a documentary. It has to meet the demands of a dramatic narrative, not factual accuracy. People tend to confuse that.

      They expect “Lincoln,” the movie, to be factually correct. If they want factually correct entertainment, then they should watch the History Channel.

      Even then it’s most probably wrong!!

      Bill

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      • Bill, are you saying that “Lincoln, Vampire Killer” was not really based on Lincolns early life?

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      • Bill, I agree, I found it hilarious too, not so much the grumbling…lol and Steve, I am so glad you had a great time… so did I. From day 1, I kept telling myself – tolerance Ingrid, remember it is your core value… tolerance. There were days that was a challenge. Nothing to do with the movie of course, it’s just life. 😉

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  7. We became interested in the Camino in early 2010 when my husband decided to get back into distance walking and we were looking at routes in the UK, France, Italy and Spain. I knew about the Camino because I run into the Shirley MacLaine book all the time at our local used book store. I’ve always been a travel essay fan. I don’t read fiction. Husband walked SJPdP to Burgos in May/June this year.

    We heard about the film around the time it was released in the US in late 2011 and couldn’t wait for it to arrive at our local theaters. It never did… I picked it up when it was released in DVD last year. Husband has watched it twice, I’ve watched it 8 times. Why? Because it is way better than the drivel that our local 3 theaters and our satellite TV provider shows. 8 times? It has somehow replaced my favorite couple of I have in late night rotation (and there’s only a couple – French Kiss, The Apartment, North by Northwest, Butch Cassidy, The Sound of Music, An Affair to Remember, and a couple of others in the never put away pile). And my top 100 favs aren’t your top 100 favs – YMMV.

    So I think it is more a coincidental timing thing rather than a movie influencing hubby and I.

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  8. Hello Bill,

    I have known about the Camino for about 12 years, when a friend walked the Via de la Plata. My interest was roused, but with work and other things, it was put into the “sometime” basket. Then we had a family tragedy, soon after my husband saw the movie on a plane, well before it was available on Amazon or in theatres here. He was so taken with it, and I needed absolutely no persuasion, I stopped work and we began preparation. The rest is history – and we go back next year. How it gets under your skin.

    Kay

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  9. I first heard about The Way when it had its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2010. It did not win any awards or prizes as bigger films premiered then, most notably The King’s Speech, Ben Affleck’s The Town and our own Denis Villeneuve’s Incendies. But I do remember that it was generally well received. But you’re right Bill, in that, it did not fare well at the box office, perhaps because of a very small advertising campaign. However some films who do not do well at the box office go on to cult status later on. The Wizard of Oz was not considered a huge success when it was released, but once it aired on television, it has become a yearly tradition.
    I remember reading that Emilio Estevez actually conceived some similarities between the characters in The Way with those of the Wizard of Oz.
    It’s quite interesting to view The Way again and seeing the parallels with W of O.
    I think what really got to me were the underlying messages of redemption, of letting go of guilt, of forgiving yourself, and of hope. After having gone through my own ”Annus Horribilis” in 2008, I really connected with these characters, and I promised myself that I would find a way to someday walk the Camino and find peace.

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    • HI Sonia –

      yes, the box office doesn’t reflect the cultural impact of a film, nor its lasting value. There are many examples of films that did no business on opening, but went on to have a longevity way beyond its earnings.

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  10. This question is harder than it first seems, Bill. It wasn’t the movie that made me want to do the Camino. I had to really think about it, because as you say, its not a very good movie in many ways. I don’t know how many times I’ve watched it, and I have the dvd, unopened.A religious subject is always going to appeal to me in a movie, so there’s one reason.But in the end,I think its the character of Tom that got to me. He’s alone, successful at work, not so much with family. Tragedy strikes, and off he goes across the ocean to pick up the pieces. Still alone,he decides to walk the Camino with Daniels remains, a gesture of love and respect he didn’t get to

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  11. My husband and I watched the movie BECAUSE we were going to walk. We elected to make the kids wait to watch until AFTER we had walked. While it was not a brilliant film, it did capture some of what the Camino experience is. If anything, it downplayed the snoring….and failed to mention the farts at all;-) In looking back at the film after walking, I can see the effort that was made to capture the camino family idea – but I missed that the first time. I just saw it as weaving four stories together to make a movie! We LOVED the way we met and re-met various people along the way – and I still think that’s one place the movie didn’t quite get there. Having locations out of sequence bugged me a little too;-) BUT friends who have not walked, are desperate to after seeing the movie, so it can’t be all bad! Under normal circumstances I’d have ranked it as an average movie – nice light entertainment if you don’t want a heavy drama….but because of my personal experience with the Camino, I feel a little more generous towards it! And the kids loved relating their own experience to the movie even though there were not too many “we’ve been there” moments as we only walked from Astorga.
    Watching the movie would not have made me want to walk, but walking 300km has left me planning to go back and do 1,000km!

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  12. This question is harder than it first seems, Bill. It wasn’t the movie that made me want to do the Camino. I had to really think about it, because as you say, its not a very good movie in many ways. I don’t know how many times I’ve watched it, and I have the dvd, unopened.A religious subject is always going to appeal to me in a movie, so there’s one reason.But in the end,I think its the character of Tom that got to me. He’s alone, successful at work, not so much with family. Tragedy strikes, and off he goes across the ocean to pick up the pieces. Still alone,he decides to walk the Camino with Daniels remains, a gesture of love and respect he didn’t get to make when his son was alive. He grows, awakens spiritually, and becomes a Pilgrim-at the very end we see Tom walking through what looks like Morocco.So for me its the quiet, singular hero that finds a way.to make it,after all, that appeals to me. I guess he’s my size of a hero- accomplishes saving his own life but with very little fanfare.An everyday hero.I can relate to him in a lot of ways -maybe he’s something I can aspire to without falling on my behind.

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    • Hi Sister –

      That’s a really good summation of the movie. And obviously it’s impacted on you in the way the filmmakers intended.

      I’ve only seen it the once – before I walked the Camino – but should look at it again. I’m sure I’d get a lot more out of it the 2nd time around.

      The film does though have a quiet gentle spirituality about it – something that you obviously responded to.

      Bill

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      • My turn to ask a question. Now I know what YMMV means, can you please tell me what the little black diamond shapes with question marks inside on your posts means?

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  13. Again, I can only say that the movie spoke to me and I can not recite the places it deviated from the Camino. I am sure I can when I rewatch it, but I absolutely don’t care. They are two different experiences. Steve

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  14. Hello everyone,

    Most of you already know how it is that I came to walk the Camino and it is 100% based on the very strong reaction that I had to the movie, The Way. It was a life changer! The movie found me! I had never heard of it but the one and only time I have ever been on Netflix, its name jumped off my computer screen, into my awareness, and then into my psyche! I watched it alone and from the moment that Tom gets the phone call from the French Police-chief, I began crying and cried all through the movie. Tom’s personality, mannerisms and tone all felt both familiar and so real to me that I was mesmerized by the story. I saw him as a stubborn man who needed to change himself in order to save his life. And by finally letting his guard and his walls down, did the real man come forward! It was validating a reality that I had always believed but had yet to see with that particular personality type. I was moved.

    I then told my husband, Steve with whom I have been separated since July 1, 2012, about it and really encouraged him to watch it. He did so about 4 months later and on Jan 10, in about a 4 minute text we agreed to walk the Camino together, in mid May! I’m not sure if I ever told you all about this before, but that same night I was a volunteer for the Palm Springs Film Festival and I was going to be escorting some of the big stars to their seats. We got the list of the actors who were going to be there and went on to do our jobs. Out of the blue, we got word that an unexpected actor showed up. Can you imagine how I felt when Martin Sheen came walking down the aisle! I was so shocked, happy, surprised and basically blown away, that it didn’t dawn on me to tell him what I had decided just hours earlier! But his presence felt like my universe and my PGS were confirming our decision to go.

    I built up in my mind that the Camino would be calling my name everywhere I went and that I would meet up with a lot of spirits and spiritual situations. But, that was not the Camino I was to experience this time and only since returning back to Spain after leaving the Camino half way due to my plantar fasciitis did I see, hear and feel the changes that I made on the half that I did walk. I will finish the walk but at this moment do not know exactly when.

    Thanks, for the topic, Bill, it is dear to my heart……..xoxo

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  15. Hi All,
    Been moving all day and feel like I just walked the 500 miles with a 50 pound pack!! Back in Nov. I was on the computer working and my husband was in the same room watching the movie. He had picked it up from Netflix thinking it may be interesting. About ten minutes in I stopped working and watched the movie. I’ve now watched it ten times and last week bought the DVD. We are not very religous but we both felt it was just calling us to walk. Don’t know exactly why but we both fely we had to walk the Camino. We aren’t in great shape but getting better with practice. We leave on August 13. We are so excited we can hardly stand it. Would love to stay a night in a parador but tjat wouldn’t be experiencing the camino. After watching The Way I hope to meet lots of people from around the world, have some tapas, paella, wine and other local specialities.. I’m taking my camera and want to take many pictures. I have found that if I stop for 30 seconds every so often, my hips don’t hurt as much. So I can blame the stopping on the camera!!. On other sites, some people have called those that are not doing the Camino for exactly religous reasons, tourists. I think walking 500 miles makes meapilgrim and it is all thanks to the movie The Way!.
    Lynda
    PS Sorry about the typos, but after three sentences it doesn’t show what i’m typing and hard to then proofread.

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    • The passionate way you talk about the Camino makes it pretty clear to me, anyway, that you are Pilgrims!

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    • Hi Lynda –

      well, again the film has prompted you to walk the Camino. How wonderful!

      By the way, on this blog, and in my forum, we make no distinction between pilgrims and so called tourist-pilgrims, or tourigrinos as some might call them.

      I personally take the view that anyone who walks, cycles, rides, or taxi/buses/trains the Camino is a pilgrim. I think the term tourigrino is a pejorative term, and I refuse to use it. I think those who wish to classify pilgrims aren’t being pilgrim-esque themselves.

      But, that’s not what this blog is about or your post.!! You and your husband must be getting so so excited. Only a fortnight now!! You must be jumping out of your skins.

      Bill

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  16. Just amusing myself reading the nonsense and not so nonsense in this blog and came across Sonia’s mention of ‘Incendies’. I am no well informed critic but I thought that was a simply brilliant movie. One of my all time favourites but I couldn’t remember the name and that has been driving me even more bonkers…..so thanks heaps Sonia.

    I also loved The Way but I was a full blown Camino addict by then so I was somewhat biased I suppose. I am really interested to hear from you Bill why you say it is not a well crafted film. I know precious little about the craftwork of films, only whether I enjoy them or not. Rather like my wine knowledge. I’m keen to hear a film makers pov.

    Debbie

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    • Debbie –

      I’m offended!!

      You think that a discussion about Steve cavorting naked in Martin Sheen’s bath, and it being a thing of infinite sadness that he wish to burden us all with a photograph, is nonsense?

      Or that a discussion of pirate parrots walking the plank doesn’t warrant some deep thought?

      Bill

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      • Bill, when I saw these comments of yours, it immediately sprang to mind, that I’d love to be next to someone reading this who doesn’t know the story of this blog and the personalities inhabiting it and see their reaction! Can anyone look at those 2 sentences and think we’re not nuts??? Incidentally, how can you drink a good dark (Bundaberg or not) rum with Passiona?? Try it with just a hint of lime and water … doesn’t come better!!!

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      • Hmmm – when I re-read these two sentences just now Britta, I think perhaps you might be right.

        I think Steve is DEFINITELY nuts…

        Now, as for Bundy and Passiona… Being a former Brissie boy, Bundy and Passiona was my drink du jour when I was trying to impress a female, at the tender age of 16.

        However, I remember once making a documentary in the tip of Cape York Peninsula with a woman who drove a semi-trailer into the aboriginal communities on the other side of the gulf, and we got smashed one night on Bundy and Passiona.

        I have never in my life felt as sick as I did that following morning.

        That was the last time I ever imbibed Bundy and Passiona…

        Bill

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      • And Debbie, please note that in Bills case, his work with the plank-walking pirate parrots is a condition of his rehab after the unfortunate bite bird incident.

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        • keep me away from bite birds.

          I like to run them over and squash them flat.

          oh, and the rehab has worked perfectly thanks for asking…

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          • Now Bill, you know the concern wasn’t so much the hostility you felt about the bite birds, or even the running them over- it was the way you felt compelled to preserve the incidents on film that was worrying.

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          • haha!!

            or rather

            HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHA

            (that’s serial killer mad laughter.)

            (actually, we should stop this. It’s probably in poor taste.)

            (I’m not a very good judge of those things though)

            (I don’t know why I’m putting things in brackets.)

            (I think pretending to be a seal killer has unhinged me slightly)

            (goodbye.)

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      • Most definitely not. Where is this hot photograph? And as for pirate parrots…. I owned one…. Her name was Paddy. A pink and grey with attitude.

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    • Hi Debbie –

      Just to correct you there, I didn’t say it wasn’t a well crafted film, what I said was: “From a craft perspective, it’s not a great film.” And by that, I’m saying it’s not an “Argo,” or a “There will be Blood,” or a “Godfather II.”

      I could go through some of the things that didn’t quite work for me with the film – but as a filmmaker myself I don’t want to use this blog to criticise someone else’s work.

      Emilio Estevez and Martin Sheen made that film with heart and the best of intentions. And even though it didn’t work at the box office, the critics and the audiences loved it, and it continues to have a social impact.

      That, for me, is a successful film.

      I hope I’m not dodging your question here, it’s just that it’s too easy to sit in judgement on someone else’s work – and perhaps before I’d walked the Camino, I would have done that.

      But not anymore.

      Bill

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      • I totally understand your reluctance to criticism the film Bill.

        There is an American documentary on the Camino that I hope will be released soon. Lydia B Smith is the director among other things and I think it is called Walking The Camino.

        From the bits I’ve read about it and the trailer I’ve seen, I think it will be very good. Many people have certainly put their heart and soul into it for no financial gain whatsoever.

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  17. I had already decided to walk the Camino over a year ago when I heard about and watched The Way. It sort of solidified my resolve. Granted, the warm feelings and spiritual awakenings resonate with me because I like that kind of thing. When I re-watch it, I realize that a good chunk of it is somewhat hokey…but the good parts are really good.

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    • Hokey is a good term for some of it Julie – yep –

      But the thing I’ve learnt is that one person’s “hokey” is another person’s “sentimental.” Taste and critical judgement in these things is so personal.

      You can never tell!!

      Bill

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  18. In Feb we attended a talk at REI in Seattle for those contemplating walking the Camino. There were over 250 attendees.The question was asked as to how many were there after having watched the movie and about 80% raised their hands. Going to be a lot more Americans , sorry Sister, people from the USA on the Camino in near future.
    Lynda

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    • Hi Lynda –

      that’s astonishing. But it doesn’t surprise me.

      That film has had a huge impact. So many people I spoke to on the Camino, not only from the US but other countries as well, told me they were there principally because of that movie.

      Bill

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  19. I was drawn to going to the movie The Way after watching a preview one day (and yes I paid full ticket price in a Cinema). I had already known about the Camino from reading Tom Trumble’s book- Unholy Pilgrims and glancing through Shirley MacLean’s novel- The Camino- believe me, two totally different perspective’s.

    I have to say I loved the movie not only because of my blossoming interest in the pilgrimage but also because I felt that having a father and son bond in the movie was so extremely emotive to the story-line and in real life. It just made it extra special….. to me.

    With eyes wide open, I read other people’s experience of their Camino knowing that when I eventually walk in May next year, my Camino will be without expectations or predisposed ideas of someone else’s journey.

    When I was a teenager, my parents built a yacht in the backyard with a dream to show their 3 girls the world. We eventually sailed into many sunsets over a period of 16 months taking a teacher with us. This teacher, years later, wrote his experiences down in a manuscript and asked us to proof read it. It was remarkable that a family of 5, on a 50 foot yacht, travelling everywhere together, can recall different nuances of events. I suppose that is what makes us unique- who knows what is special to someone may not be to another.

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  20. Sorry- I thought my name would appear as I have posted comments before but the above was from me.
    Michelle

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  21. To start I want to tell you how much my wife and I have enjoyed your posts about your Camino. Now the movie. Two years ago we hiked the Appalachian Trail and planned to hike the Camino before we saw the movie but we found the movie enjoyable and encouraging because it depicted some of magic of taking on a long journey and how strangers from diverse backgrounds become friends and age becomes less of an issue. The odd thing is I enjoyed the movie much more the second time I saw it than the initial viewing. My favorite moment was the end where it shows him walking through Morocco. It gave me the feeling he got a new perspective of life from his Camino experience which I guess was the point of the movie. Of course I’m a romantic, not a film critic. By the way we start our Camino 15 August 2013 so we have yet to experience the Camino. Happy travels.

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    • Hi BrickThomas –

      well you don’t have long to go before you leave –

      you must be in your final prep with packing etc. Have you been training?

      You must be excited.

      I should see the movie again, except my wife won’t watch it with me again. She says I’m too obsessed with the Camino.

      I refute this, of course.

      I’m thinking of tiling our kitchen floor with scallop shells just to get back at her.

      Bill

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      • Bill,

        The training could have been better. I have been traveling through Europe with a backpack since the end of May and have lost a few inches on my waist so hopefully that will help. But I am exited about starting the walk and experience what ever that may be. By the way your kitchen design ideas are brilliant.

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  22. Howdy all

    I walked in 2009 and as I did there were whispers on the trail about some movie being made or had been made.
    When I came back the whispers grew louder. A local Camino group in NZ played the DVD just before Christmas in 2011 for a Camino meeting. For me it was great to watch it as there was another sound track to the movie in this little church hall we were in.
    There was the laughter at Tom’s first night experiencing snoring…there was the little chats that would start up when someone saw some scenery they remembered. And then after… there was the discussion about how clean they all looked and how the cast never seemed to have sore feet and those backpacks looked really light. And did the women really walk in jeans the whole way???. 🙂

    It felt so lovely to sit in a room with all those people who had walked the Camino.

    But when the movie got released in the theather…it felt strange….all of a sudden total Camino strangers were talking about My Camino. They wanted to go because it looked like a great walk to add to their bucket list. Actually, being honest….I was rather put out that “My” Camino was becoming everyone else’s. Im please to say…I got over myself. Who was I to judge how God sows a Camino seed in someone’s heart.
    And I think that’s the role of this movie…..for some…they will see it want to go and wont. For others they will wait for years and years and then go and not like it. And for others, they will watch it and will be on the trail a week later 🙂

    Bill, although I’m not a Director…I concur with your critique of the movie. There were some odd moments, some forced chemistry, a lot of over-acting. (in my opinion)…..but it still got me.
    I have watched it four times now. I have shared it with my best friend so he can understand what it is I’m about to do. For me…the desire to return was already planted before I saw the movie….but watching it……was like clearing away the weeds to allow the seed to grow.

    Speaking of baths……(way back up the top) I was very blessed to stay in some places that had a bath in 2009. The funniest thing was talking over dinner about how nice the bath was …but how hard it was to get out of. We even developed a special technique of getting out of the bath and then the next night we compared notes about how it worked.

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    • Hey Abbey –

      haha – I thought I had neatly avoided critiquing the movie!

      If the filmmakers purpose was to make a respectful and quietly spiritual film about the Camino, then they succeeded.

      And re your bath as we say here, I’ll let that one go through to the keeper

      Bill

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  23. I think the film is flawed, but it is saved by some very good actors’ performances, including what seems like some ad-lib, and I think that what you see as perhaps a slackness in the plot I would see as being an attempt at pseudo-realism via the inclusion of multiple elements not actually necessary to the plot. It’s a common technique of “realistic” novel authors, far less common in film where the writer and director only rarely has the luxury of being able to do anything but keep the narrative as lean as possible.

    The Way remains highly entertaining, and is illustrative of the sort of transformations that can occur in someone’s life, even though my own experience was radically different. I think it’s a positive that there’s no 1:1 correspondence between this film and the Campbellian Hero’s Journey, and I think the grounding in the vagaries and unpredictables of “reality” actually improve the storytelling rather than detract from it.

    Of course, having walked the Camino in 1993, The Way has therefore had zero influence on my decision to walk the Camino, including not my next one either …

    My favourite Camino film is actually Saint-Jacques … La Mecque by Coline Serreau.

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    • Hi Julian –

      the film was a very gentle exploration of grief, regret, and a parent’s obligations.

      I think o that level it worked quite successfully.

      Working improvised doesn’t obviate “leanness,” especially in film, where unnecessary beats can be cut tight, depending on how it was shot.

      Bill

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  24. Bill, firstly, is Bundy and Passiona the male version of Passion Pop, which I have been known to consume? Many years ago, of course!
    Now to more serious matters – I have watched The Way in the comfort of my lounge room, but only recently and some time after booking my flights to walk the Camino. It had absolutely no impact on my decision. However, I have resisted watching the film again as I don’t want it to change / impact on / influence my expectations of the Camino. I had naively hoped that it would give me a better understanding of the experience but I am not so sure about that. Am I reacting strangely?
    Sorry to say, I rarely watch movies and have very few favourites so am in no position to critique.
    Blessings
    Anne

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    • Hi Anne,

      Nope, Bundy and Passionate isn’t as sophisticated as any drink with the word “Pop” attached to it.

      Bundy and Passiona is a mongrel drink.

      It’s probably wise of you not to look at the film again if you think it might in some way impact on your walk. Best to go with a clean slate.

      Bill

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  25. Bill et al,
    It has been fun reading all the exchanges about the film The Way, and everyone’s various experiences.
    Last year, late summer, my husband and I were able to take a few days respite, and one day we sat overlooking the water off Salt Spring Island (off the coast of British Columbia, Canada) chatting in the afternoon sunshine over a glass of wine, local goat cheese and various other little treats, about things we wished to do before we are too “advanced” in years….so in that relaxed atmosphere I dropped the fact that it was my wish to walk this Camino Frances. Quite nervous about how he would take it, because we have a farm and an on-farm cheesemaking business, and we really don’t get many days off, let alone go away for several weeks! Anyway, he is totally supportive even though it is a real stretch to organize for my absence.
    One of my friends told me there was a movie about the Camino, so I found it in our local library. (I hardly ever watch movies since my Swiss husband passed away in 1991- I find I cannot bear the emotional roller-coaster that I am put through at the pace decided by the film) I enjoyed it because it is set in a foreign place, and it was great to see the context/geography of the places I would be visiting. I found the story of the healing and redemption of the various characters charming (maybe that is not the best word) but I think it portrayed the concept of pilgrimage as an opportunity for personal reflection and transformation well enough. The fact that the Estevez family is originally from Galicia made it also about connectedness over generations and relationships between real people. I watched it again with my husband so that he could see what it was about and could feel more connected to my decision to go on this pilgrimage. He loved it too, and since then feels better about me leaving to do this.

    I am flying to Europe on August 25th to start my Camino. I am almost sick with the anticipation!

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  26. Hi Bill, and all the many others on this post. I was taken to Santiago by my parents in 1974. I was only eighteen years old. No one talked about the Camino back then! I don’t recall any pilgrims at the cathedral. But my love of Spain never left me – it was the first overseas country I visited and the sights and smells of food stayed with me. A few years ago Kevin James, a retired Australian diplomat, wrote a book about his experience on the Via de la Plata. We heard him being interviewed on Margaret Throsby’s ABC (Australia) radio program on Cassic FM. The idea germinated then and my wife and I started talking about it. We bought the book but It has taken 6 years to sort out business, enough leave and other family matters to find the six weeks to walk the Camino. We watched the movie more to get an idea of the countryside that we would traverse. Maybe not my favourite movie, but not bad either. We leave in 5 weeks for SJPdP and can’t wait to start! Buen Camino to all the other bloggers about to start their own journey. May you have a wonderful experience, Maggie and Peter

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  27. http://youtu.be/nptOvl9CHc4 I am not sure if this will post. It’s from a friend of mine who posted on her blog. Short, only about 2 minutes long. Bill, Steve and others who have walked will agree, the fortunate ones who will walk in the near future… he speaks Camino wisdom. Ingrid

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