One day, Bill suddenly decides to turn his life around and takes on the challenge of hiking the Appalachian Mountains. The only companion he can find to make the journey with him is an old friend, long lost, Katz (Nick Nolte) which by the way still owes him $600 from their European escapades. Katz is anything but in shape for this journey, and the two quickly realize their differences. While Bill spent his life reading and is full of knowledge about his surroundings (the formation of rocks, the disparition of the American chestnut, and other vital facts), Kats is more of a TV kind of guy, and couldn’t care less about the different types of rocks along the trail.
The journey also brings relationship challenges, as Bill finds himself somewhat attracted to a motel manager that is roughly his age along the way. Katz on his side seems to be flirting with every overweight woman he meets, whether it is at the restaurant about pancakes or at the laundromat when a woman asks him for help with her panty that got stuck in the drum.
At some point, Bill and Katz fall from the trail and find themselves stuck and they die and it’s the end of the movie. I’m kidding. They do get stuck though, and that allows both of them to realize and talk through the meaning they attribute to this journey, as well as their fears and expectations of what the future holds. They fall asleep to a breathtaking sky full of stars and they die. Kidding again.
To sum things up, A Walk in the Woods is full of beautiful shots of the Appalachian Mountains and awkward situations. The movie explores your relationship to your spouse and kids and grandkids, old friends, and new acquaintances, as well as your views on life, when you’re passed a certain age. It’s meant to be funny, and honestly I found myself laughing out loud with the audience a couple of times; but overall I think I wasn’t the target audience of this movie, and I therefore enjoyed it much less than if I had been 40 years older.