For this month’s final review for Genre Grandeur – Travel Films here’s a Top Ten Travel Film List by Rebecca of Almost Ginger
In case you missed any of them, here’s a recap:
- Love and Monsters (2020) – Aaron
- Kings of the Road (197) – David
- Into the Wild (2007) – Rob
- Journey to the Center of the Earth (2008) – Darren
- Tenet (2020) – Aaron
- The Endless Summer (1966) – David
- Due Date (2010) – Ryan
- Funny Face (1957) – Emily
- Passengers (2016) – Rob
- Nomadland (2020) – James
- Nomadland (2020) – Aaron
- Bloody Spear at Mount Fuji (1955) – David
- Born Free (1966) – Sally
- National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983) – J-Dub
- National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983) – Rob
- Ad Astra (2019) – Aaron
- The Road (2009) – Paul
- Two Lane Blacktop (1971) – David
- 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) – James
- Master and Commander: The Far End of the World (2003) – Vinnie
- The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings (2001) – Rob
- The Aeronauts (2019) – Aaron
- Lean on Pete (2016) – David
- Top Ten Travel Films – Rebecca
In addition, I watched and reviewed 12 movies for my companion series Genre Guesstimation. Unfortunately, only one of them will now be considered among my favorites of the genre.
- Master and Commander: The Far End of the World (2003)
- Love and Monsters (2020)
- Around the World in 80 Days (1956)
- Around the World in 80 Days (2004)
- Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018)
- The Darjeeling Limited (2007)
- The Road (2009)
- *Nebraska (2013)
- Ad Astra (2019)
- The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)
- The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)
- The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014)
Thanks again to Rebecca of Almost Ginger for choosing this month’s genre.
Next month’s genre has been chosen by Nick Rehak of French Toast Sunday and we will be reviewing our favorite Biographical Films.
Please get me your submissions by the 25th of May by sending them to firstname.lastname@example.org
Try to think out of the box! Great choice Nick!
Let’s see what Rebecca thought are the best films in this genre:
Since I’m not a massive fan of writing reviews (I’d rather take a hockey stick to the kneecaps), it was suggested I write a top 10 list instead. This loophole pleased me greatly, so here we are. Except half of my entire watchlist seems to be travel films. The movies are either set in a destination I want to travel to or I’ve watched them because I love films about physical and metaphorical journeys.
So I set some boundaries to make it a bit easier to choose a top 10. These are my favourite travel films that are (primarily) in the English language and released in the 2010s.
10. Inferno (2016)
Is Inferno a travel film? Or, like the rest of the Robert Langdon trilogy, is it just a particularly stressful business trip film? Regardless, I make no effort to hide my love for Inferno and its predecessors The Da Vinci Code (2006) and Angels and Demons (2009). But don’t get me wrong, these are still terrible movies.
In every film, Tom Hanks plays your friendly neighbourhood symbologist tasked with solving some ridiculous conspiracy-based riddle. I do love a good conspiracy theory. In Inferno, he travels to Florence, Venice and Istanbul. I also love great filming locations. I’m also partial to a nice church and a museum or two, hence why I love these movies.
But most of all, I love how seriously the characters take their missions in these films. Whoever says Tom Hanks can’t do comedy needs to watch Inferno. Ron Howard may have made us wait seven years for the last installment but it was exactly how I expected it would be. Take from that what you will.
9. The Inbetweeners 2 (2014)
I had to throw a British comedy in this list somewhere. The Inbetweeners 2 is the follow up film to 2011’s The Inbetweeners Movie which in itself is a follow up to the uber successful TV show The Inbetweeners which defined a generation.
The movie follows a group of four working-class mates who descend on Australia to have a great time. Unfortunately, girl trouble, gap year toffs and dead dolphins get in the way. It’s highly relatable (for me, at least), effing hilarious and far superior to the first feature-length effort.
8. Edie (2017)
Nothing gives me the warm and fuzzies like watching someone who is not 21-years-old have goals and achieve them. The great Sheila Hancock plays the titular character who, finally released from her late husband’s controlling grip, follows her dream of climbing Mount Suilven in the Scottish Highlands.
The vast majority of travel films are also films where characters take an internal journey, and Edie is no different. I adore witnessing her win back her self-confidence. And Scotland looks rather beautiful in this movie, too.
7. Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)
Finding out Spider-Man: Far From Home was following in the footsteps of The Princess Diaries 2: The Royal Engagement (2004) and The Cheetah Girls 2 (2006) delighted me to no end. Not sure what I’m getting at? Disney teen movie sequels set in Europe!
Young Peter travels to Venice, Austria, Berlin, Prague, the Netherlands and London (phew) on a class trip before heading back to his neighbourhood. I thought the film was fun and I loved the locations. I have definitely rewatched this movie a few times within the last year to satiate my travel thirst.
6. Crazy Rich Asians (2018)
American and British travel films are overwhelmingly white. There’s some okay LGBTQ+ and class representation but it could do with a kick in the pants when it comes to POC.
Crazy Rich Asians was a breath of fresh air for many reasons but it is, technically, a travel film. Rachel is American and heads to Singapore to attend a wedding with her boyfriend which is a country she has never set foot in and a culture completely new to her. It’s colourful, chaotic and a travel movie like no other.
5. Wild (2014)
I remember seeing Wild in the cinema and saying, “yes, this is awesome” to myself several times throughout. It’s just my kind of movie, you know? Reese Witherspoon is one of my favourite actresses and she nailed Cheryl Strayed hiking the Pacific Crest Trail perfectly.
Even though the book is great, Wild is a wonderful adaptation that really holds up on repeat viewings. Every time Reese as Cheryl says “oh my god” as her tiny body heaves that huge bag of water and attaches it to her pack before she starts her hike, I snort laugh. I have packed some useless junk in my backpack many times which is okay until you have to carry the damn thing.
4. Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018)
This is the fourth sequel on this list so I guess I really like sequels, huh? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again has strong similarities to The Godfather Part II in plot, characterization and quality.
Everyone’s comedy and enthusiasm is on point, Lily James is incredible as Donna and Colin Firth is as gay as the day is long. And aside from the beautiful Greek islands and countryside, I love that at the bare bones this is a film about how a woman has a lovely time, erm, shagging her way around Europe.
3. Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)
Hunt for the Wilderpeople was Taika Waititi’s last New Zealand based film before he defected to Hollywood. It stars Sam Neill as a reluctant foster father to a Tupac-loving teen. They unwittingly become the target of a manhunt after venturing into the bush.
It’s clear by now that I love a comedy travel film, and all the actors have perfect comedic timing and are phenomenal as their characters. I also love the idea of literally beginning an adventure from your backyard and not flying off to somewhere remote. Plus, it’s just a great movie.
2. Brooklyn (2015)
Brooklyn is basically a perfect film in my eyes. Saoirse Ronan stars as Eilis who moves from small town Ireland to the US in search of better prospects. She experiences extreme loneliness, culture shock and guilt. But ultimately, she becomes a much stronger, self-assured person by allowing herself to cross the ocean and leave the fish bowl.
I probably identify with the movie because I believe that’s what travel has done for me. The film also explores how people can feel caught between two cultures in a way that I haven’t seen in many movies. The Farewell (2019) did this really well, too. Ultimately, I think Brooklyn is an on-point character study and I feel more empowered every time I watch it.
1. Call Me By Your Name (2017)
I ummed and ahhed about making Call Me By Your Name my number one pick in light of Armie Hammer’s recent transgressions. But to choose anything else would be a barefaced lie. This film is one of my favourite films full stop, let alone travel films. I get teary just listening to the opening credits music. Michael Stuhlbarg’s final monologue is a top 10 scene, for sure.
Call Me By Your Name feels like I’m watching a dream or a fairytale. The title card reads “somewhere in Northern Italy” like it’s a fantasy land where men can be romantic and follow their feelings free from societal expectations. It’s a world where the characters spend their days cycling through Italian piazzas, drinking apricot juice and swimming in lakes. Sounds like the ideal fantasy to me!
Honourable mentions: The Way (2010), Tracks (2013), Before Midnight (2013), Captain Fantastic (2016)