Few things are so evocative or exciting like the idea of traveling on the road. But due to the Covid-19 pandemic, packing our bags and going out in search of adventure isn’t really an option for any of us right now. Luckily though, we can still escape through the movies.
Road trips are both a state of mind and an activity, a synonym for freedom. So in an age when a trip from the couch to the kitchen feels like a walk, let these movies take you to an open highway.
1. Sideways (2004)
Director Alexander Payne’s memorable comedy (Election, About Schmidt) takes us on a seven-day journey drenched in Sauvignon Blanc for the California wine country. We join the lovable Miles, played to perfection by Paul Giamatti, and his best friend, Jack, more handsome and who seems to work better, played by Thomas Haden Church (who went on to steal the limelight from Sarah Jessica Parker in the television series U.S Divorce). The story of their lives is gradually revealed as they drive from vineyard to vineyard. Sometimes tender, sometimes funny, is a wonderful study of the midlife crisis best enjoyed with a Pinot Noir.
Sideways movie, 2004
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2. The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994)
In the time before the TV show RuPaul’s Drag Race, there was the explorer Priscilla. Renowned British actor Terence Stamp plays Bernadette, a transgender woman and drag queen tired of the tables in Sydney (Australia), along with Mitzi (Hugo Weaving) and Adam (Guy Pearce in his first major film role).
Bernadette is fed up with doing the same thing and with her life in Sydney, so when the offer comes in for a performance in the remote town of Alice Springs, the three of them set off. Her mode of transportation is a rusty old school bus, painted silver and named – you guessed it – Priscilla. This group’s journey through the Outback contains breathtaking landscapes, lots of soul searching, classic disco tunes, and a few get-togethers with the locals.
Película The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994)
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3. Thelma & Louise (1991)
Ridley Scott reverses the male-dominated gender positioning two women at the center of this story soul search. Harvey Keitel (Hal), Michael Madsen (Jimmy) and a young Brad Pitt (JD) have supporting roles, while Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon offer the performances of their lives.
Thelma (Davis) is trapped in an abusive marriage while Louise (Sarandon) works as a waitress at a coffee shop. The two travel by road to spend a weekend of fishing in a cabin in the mountains, but they barely leave the city before a chain of events unleashes that forces the couple to flee towards the Grand Canyon. A modern classic with two wonderful actors in perfect harmony with each other, and whose ending has become part of modern culture. An essential movie.
Thelma & Louise (1991)
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4. Before Sunrise (1995)
I may be 26, but this proposal from Richard Linklater is possibly one of the best love stories of all time. Ethan Hawke plays Jesse, an American who travels through Europe with a pass from Eurorail, and Julie Delpy to Céline, a Sorbonne student returning home to Paris.
These strangers meet on the train through Austria and decide to spend the night together in Vienna before Jesse has to catch his flight home. They walk, talk, fall in love … it’s perfect. The first part of the trilogy “Before” from Linklater, it’s the quintessential hipster movie, made before hipsters existed. It’s a little pretentious, a little slow, but it’s wonderful. I have thought about Before dawn at least twice a day during the pandemic.
Before Sunrise (1995)
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5. American Honey (2016)
Andrea Arnold’s fourth film proposal is a chaotic and magnetic jewel of almost three hours long about being young and free. We are introduced to Star (the mesmerizing Sasha Lane in her first performance) looking for food in a container. He meets a group of misfit teens, led by the charismatic Jake (Shia LaBeouf), and sees a chance to escape his life.
The clan crosses the country selling magazines door to door, but they spend most of their time drinking and partying. American Honey it is not based on a conventional structure or narrative; Like the characters whose story the film tells, it reflects wildly, freely, and looks sensational on every shot.
American Honey (2016)
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6. The Straight Story (1999)
David Lynch could well win the award for the slowest movie in history. It is the biographical story of a terminally ill WWII veteran who visits his dying brother 800 kilometers away. The delicate health of the veteran prevents him from driving, so he opts for an alternative method of travel: an old lawnmower.
Lynch often creates films that are often dark, sometimes incomprehensible, bizarre and unconventional. But with The direct story Lynch delivers a nuanced and delicate story in which (spoiler alert) nothing bad happens. As we watch Alvin (Richard Farnsworth) slowly walk his journey, we hear stories about his life and meet some lovely people along the way. An unconventional Lynch film that is not talked about enough.
The Straight Story (1999)
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7. Crossroads (2002)
Britney Spears’ debut as an actress It was heavily criticized at the time of its release, and it still has a 14% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. But Crossroads it’s not terrible. It stars a young Spears alongside Taryn Manning and Zoe Saldana as three friends from a small town in Georgia heading for the bright lights of Los Angeles.
Written by Shonda Rhimes, the television power behind Bridgerton Y Grey’s Anatomy, there isn’t much else to the story, but that’s okay. In these stressful times, there’s no shame in laying under a blanket and watching Spears drive to California in a convertible. If only to see the fashions of the early 2000s and sing along to the incredible soundtrack.
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