Category: Personal Development Written by Jeffery N. Thompson Views: 1724
The COVID-19 pandemic has left most of us stuck at home for the last few months. Depending on where you live and your circumstances, it may be a while before you go on holiday.
That means you’ll need to find another way to escape from your usual surroundings. If you’ve got a Netflix subscription or a DVD player, you might find the answer in the form of a film.
Movies have the power to transport us all to a different place. Watching a good travel movie during the lockdown might just be what you need to go on a journey.
Read on as we list our ten favorite travel movies of all time.
1. Midnight in Paris
First on this list is a film set in one of the world’s most popular travel destinations; Paris.
Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams star in this Woody Allen comedy. Wilson plays Gil, a disillusioned writer on vacation with his wife and their friends. While aimlessly wandering the streets alone one night, he travels back in time. He finds himself in the company of Ernest Hemingway (Corey Stoll), F. Scott Fitzgerald (Tom Hiddleston) and other literary and artistic heavyweights of the 1920s.
The rest of the movie sees Gil wrestling with career choices and the strange reality he plunges himself into. While undeniably absurd, it is genuinely hilarious in many places, and it paints Paris in its most beautiful light.
2. Into the Wild
Into the Wild is the kind of adventure movie that will inspire you to pack your bags, gather your roof rack accessories, and set off into the outdoors.
Christopher McCandless (Emile Hirsch) is a recent college graduate who has lost faith in the idea of traditional life. A dysfunctional family situation convinces him that he must journey alone across America to find peace.
McCandless changes his name to Alexander Supertramp and begins his trip. He meets several interesting characters along the way (Hal Holbrook’s touching performance earned him an Oscar nomination) but remains determined to settle in the wilderness of Alaska alone.
This film (based on actual events) takes a compelling look at the transformative potential of travel. It's not always an easy watch, but it gives us a profound insight into Supertramp/McCandless's gentle, brave character.
3. Lost in Translation
This might not be the cheeriest travel movie you ever watch, but it will unquestionably be one of the best.
Bill Murray is Bob Harris, an aging film star who has traveled to Tokyo to shoot a whiskey commercial. Unhappy with his family life and the recent direction of his career, he has slipped into a mid-life crisis.
Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) is a recently married young woman accompanying her husband to Tokyo during his business trip. She spends most of her time wandering the city or the hotel alone. When she and Bob meet in the hotel bar one evening, an unlikely friendship forms.
This is a romantic film in one way, but it does not seek to tell the usual “happy ever after” tale that is so typical of the genre. While Bob and Charlotte have a genuine, intimate connection, their respective life situations keep them from acting on their impulses.
The film’s sense of cultural displacement is echoed perfectly by the messy urban sprawl of Tokyo. The brightness and energy of the city are entirely at odds with the difficult emotions Bob and Charlotte must deal with, but the contrast sets them off perfectly.
The film is also an excellent advertisement for Tokyo. If you like busy cities with ceaseless activity, it could be one to put on your bucket list.
4. Little Miss Sunshine
Packed with laughs as well as heartfelt moments, Little Miss Sunshine has something for all viewers.
Olive (Abigail Breslin) is a child beauty pageant contestant. After unexpectedly securing a final place in a prestigious competition, her cash-strapped family pile into a run-down Volkswagen van and drive to California.
As mechanical troubles persist and nerves wear thin, the family is pushed to the limits of their resolve. Hilarious and heartbreaking in equal measure, the film grabs your attention from start to finish.
Little Miss Sunshine was a huge critical success, gaining four Oscar nominations and two wins. One of the latter went to Alan Arkin for Best Supporting Actor. His turn as the grandfather who was thrown out of a retirement home for taking hard drugs is one of the most entertaining performances the Hollywood veteran has ever given.
5. Up in the Air
Most of the films on this list are about a dream holiday or a distant location. In one way or another, they all look at the importance of going from one place to another.
Up in the Air, however, is the only film that is so celebratory of the act of travel itself.
Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) works in termination assistance for a human resources firm. This essentially means that he fires people professionally; cowardly employers commission his company to lay off their workers.
As his work takes him nationwide, Ryan spends most of his time either in an airport or on a plane. This nomadic lifestyle has grown on him; he often leaves his apartment for weeks at a time and hasn't seen his family in years.
When new workplace practices threaten his way of life, Ryan must confront some uncomfortable realities about himself. This comes with an unexpected romance with a fellow frequent flyer (Vera Farmiga) and a professional partnership with a talented but naive junior executive (Anna Kendrick).
Up in the Air takes a different look at traveling than other films we’ve listed here. It doesn’t always paint the life of the traveler as a pleasant one. However, it carries weighty lessons on what is truly important in life.
6. Green Book
Green Book is a story of friendship, tolerance, and race relations in America’s Deep South in the 1960s.
Mahershala Ali plays Don Shirley, an acclaimed jazz pianist of African descent. Viggo Mortensen is Frank Vallelonga, a nightclub bouncer who gets a job as Shirley’s chauffeur while he tours the southern states.
Because he is a celebrated musician, Shirley escapes the racist ire common in that part of America at the time. However, his hosts never treat him as an equal. We see Shirley play virtuosic solos on the piano at private parties, before being invited to dine in the servants’ quarters with the other folk of African descent.
Green Book wears its themes lightly. Though there are scenes of violence and explorations of Shirley’s problematic drinking habit, the focus is on the fun the two main characters have during their developing friendship.
7. The Beach
The Beach is, in many ways, the ultimate travel fantasy. Who wouldn’t want to find an idyllic island entirely separate from the rest of the world?
When Richard (Leonardo DiCaprio) travels to Thailand, he's unsure exactly what he's looking for. While sharing a joint with an odd stranger (Robert Carlyle) in a hostel, he learns of a secret paradise tucked away on a nearby island. He teams up with a French couple (Virginie Ledoyen and Guillaume Canet), and the trio finds the spot together.
The titular beach is indeed a paradise for a while. However, various complicating issues, such as violent invasions and shark attacks, arise. Nevertheless, the beauty of the landscape is impossible to deny.
Based on Alex Garland’s cult classic novel of the same name, The Beach will tempt you to take off to south-east Asia like no other film.
8. In Bruges
This quirky comedy-drama takes place in Bruges, an idyllic Belgian city. Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell play two hitmen on the run after a botched job, with Ralph Fiennes as their psychotic boss.
Over an action-packed 107 minutes, we see sex, violence, and drugs and truly touching interactions between the two main characters. Amazingly, it is the debut of director Martin McDonagh's feature-length film; he went on to direct the critically-lauded Two Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, in 2017.
In Bruges treats viewers to hilarious characters and a touching story. However, one of its main selling points is the beauty of its setting. Bruges is medieval Belgium at its best, and the Christmas season (during which this film is set) lends it even more charm.
9. Catch Me If You Can
This biographical crime drama from Steven Spielberg takes us across America, starting in New York.
Frank Abagnale (Leonardo DiCaprio) leaves home when his parents get divorced, still a teenager. He funds his survival with confidence scams, which become more lucrative as he develops his skills.
Once he becomes adept at check forgery, he attracts the attention of the FBI. Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks) is the agent who must pursue Abagnale across America as he impersonates a pilot, a doctor, and a lawyer.
Catch Me If You Can is mainly based on actual events, making the story even more extraordinary. It features strong supporting performances from Amy Adams, Martin Sheen, Christopher Walken, and Nathalie Baye.
Snappy and stylish throughout, this film is one of Steven Spielberg's best. Despite taking 22 years to get from inception to theatrical release, it beautifully made.
10. Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Barcelona is one of Europe’s most popular tourist destinations. After watching Vicky Cristina Barcelona, you’ll know exactly why.
Woody Allen’s comedy follows Vicky (Rebecca Hall) and Cristina (Scarlett Johansson) as they spend a summer in the Spanish city. They spend their days visiting museums and eating in restaurants until sweet-talking Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem) offers to take them to Oviedo for a weekend.
Despite Vicky’s initial reluctance, they go on the trip. It’s a weekend that will change the trajectory of both their lives.
Vicky is left questioning her relationship with prim businessman Doug (Chris Messina). At the same time, Cristina ends up involved in a polyamorous relationship with Juan Antonio and his ex-wife Maria Elena (Penelope Cruz).
It is ultimately Cruz who steals the show; her ultra-energetic performance won her an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. This made her the first Spanish-born actress to claim one.
Films to Bring You on a Journey from the Comfort of Your Living Room
Just because you can’t hop on a plane this summer, doesn't mean you can’t enjoy the wonders of foreign places. Put on one of these films with your family or friends this evening and take yourself to a different place!
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Jeffery N Thompson is a full-time content marketing specialist. He has been closely following the cannabis industry trends for quite some time. He has dabbled in various domains before the cannabis industry. On his off days, He likes to spend his time at the nearest animal shelter, lift weights or be nose deep in a novel.
This article was submitted exclusively to CrystalWind.ca by Jeffery N Thompson.
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