Think of a movie that you really, truly love. Think of a film that is profoundly near and dear to your heart. Think of something so perfect and wonderful in every way, you will never, ever tire of it's glory.
That, my friends, is how I feel about this PBS Donner Party "American Experience", which, God bless the internet, you can watch for free on You Tube RIGHT HERE!
There's one particular historian interviewed throughout, sitting in his plaid shirt and warm glow, who I've always adored. He's so passionate about the story, he tells the history with such directness, you can feel he's just as into this as you are and it is clear, he can tell it better. His name is Harold Schlindler and I love him.
My favorite line of the whole film comes from Harold, talking about the shortcut the Donner Party decides to take.
"Clyman, who had just been south of the lake on horseback coming east with Lansford Hastings, says, ''Don't do it. Don't do it because you can't take wagons that way. Go the old route. Be safe. You'll perish.'' And Reed says, ''There's a nigher route and we might as well take it.''
The typed word hardly does this justice. Please forward to minute 8:30 of THIS to see how awesome Hal Schindler is.
Anyway, I finally googled Mr. Schindler and discovered, much to my horror, he died 10 years ago. I've been saying "there's a nigher route!" for a decade in the hopes of one day, meeting this fascinating historian and gushing, "I loved you in the Donner Party!"
Nope. He's dead.
Here is a wonderful obituary written about him, which only makes me love Hal more and further regret never having the pleasure of sitting by a roaring fire with him and hearing tales of the Wild West.
The best kind of people are people who care so much about something, their enthusiasm is contagious, even if whatever the hell they care about is something boring, like stamp collecting or sports. And my dream is to one day appear as an expert in a documentary and be half as badass as Hal...