Road Trip Movies
I am queueing up some road trip movies in our Netflix account, and I would love your suggestions to add to our list.
On my list so far are:
Before literally kicking the bucket when his car careens over an embankment, “Smiler” Grogan (Jimmy Durante) tells onlookers he’s stashed $350,000 in stolen loot beneath “the big W” in the town of Santa Rosita, and thus begins a mad dash to recover the dough.
What an amazing collection of talent: Spencer Tracey, Milton Berle, Sid Cesar, Buddy Hackett, Ethel Merman, Mickey Rooney, Dick Shawn, Phil Silvers, Terry-Thomas, Jonathan Winters, Jim Bakus, Peter Falk, Normal Fell, Buster Keaton, Don Knotts, Carl Reiner, Jack Benny, and even an uncredited cameo by Jerry Lewis (as “Man who runs over hat”).
If our trip includes “a big W” we’ll let you know once we’ve dug up and re-stashed the loot.
After Jake Blues (John Belushi) gets out of prison, he and brother Elwood (Dan Aykroyd) reunite for a one-night charity concert, then wind up in a monumental chase.
This is not a good movie, but it still manages to be a great movie. (I should point out, before Neil does, that Dan Aykroyd is Canadian, too.) I still love the soundtrack and the church scene with James Brown is one of my favourite movie scenes (right up there with “I am Spartacus!”).
Burt Reynolds, Farrah Fawcett, Dom DeLuise, Peter Fonda, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and Jackie Chan are all entrants in an illegal cross-country car race, and all are willing to do anything to win.
I’m not sure how Blues Brothers wound up rated R while Cannonball Run was rated PG. I recall Cannonball Run as being in distinctly poorer taste.
I haven’t seen Cannonball Run in dog’s years, and I’m guessing that what I’ll delicately term its “1970’s sensibilities” are probably a little uncomfortable to watch today. (Has anyone seen it lately?) But Cannonball Run makes the list because it is still an ultimate road trip movie. I remember loving Dom DeLuise in this film, and I think this must have been Jackie Chan’s first big American movie role.
When a bus filled with eight elderly women breaks down in the wilderness, the group of strangers is stranded at a deserted farmhouse with only their wits, their memories and eventually some roasted frogs’ legs to sustain them.
Rita Kemply of the Washington Post characterized Strangers In Good Company as Outward Bound on Golden Pond, and that strikes me as a pretty good description. I saw this in Montreal back when it was released, and found it interesting and sweet but also substantial. Given that their bus breaks down, I don’t know if this is strictly speaking a “road trip movie” Kemply calls it “a kind of road movie sitting still” but then we haven’t been logging that many miles yet ourselves so I’m not really in a position to point fingers.
Strangers in Good Company was produced by Studio D of Canada’s National Film Board, which is now tragically defunct. A film came out in 2007 about the history of Studio D, and Gail Vanstone of York University also recently published a book titled D is for Daring: The Women behind the Films of Studio D. I look forward to tracking down both the book and the film.
(If I keep including Canadian content, do you think Stephen Harper will send me some grant money?)
Convinced little Olive (Abigail Breslin) is beauty queen material, parents Richard (Greg Kinnear) and Sheryl (Toni Collette) and the rest of the family embark on a life-altering road trip to a pageant.
Several friends recommended Little Miss Sunshine to us, but I dragged my feet on watching it because the trailers and promotions for it did nothing for me. When we finally watched it, I was delightfully surprised by how quirky and subversive it is. (That’s high praise from us.) Without spoiling the film for anyone who hasn’t seen it, I’d just like to clarify that Neil and I are not traveling with any dead bodies in the Mini. So far.
What are your favourite road trip movies?
As I look at this list, it occurs to me that many road trip movies are of dubious quality; this genre seems prone to movies that, while great as road trip movies, are not necessarily good as just plain movies. So be sure to explain your favourite road trip movies’ redeeming qualities!
And don’t feel constrained to American movies or English language films. There’s got to be some great road trip movies from other regions, and I’m surprised I can’t think of any off the top of my head.
Please share your favourites!