My Fave Five Road Trip Films (Featuring Often Off Topic)

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Well my friends, we are just a few weeks into the summer (at least if you are in the northern hemisphere that is) which often means popsicles, swimming pools, and vacations. What better way to travel to your destination than by a road trip! Road trips can be eventful to say the least. Several people crammed into a small space for hours on end? Talk about chaotic, particularly if it’s with your family, or at least with mine it is.  Anyway, in that spirit of vacation and travel, I invited Allie from Often Off Topic to look at our favorite films based around road trips. Allie offers reviews of movies, television series, and books. She also gives regular updates on what’s happening in her life in her Going Off Topic segment. If you don’t already follow her, I highly recommend you go check her site out.

This isn’t the first time Allie has been a guest here on DMR, either. Last year, when she was still one half of the duo Flick Chicks, she, her blogging partner Jenna, and I ranked the movies from the Disney Renaissance. Now she is back to join me as a special guest to list her five favorite road trip films. Take it away, Allie!

I so wish road trips were more of a thing in the UK. I guess the main problem is that we’re just a tiny little island, and our roads kind of suck. Nevermind though, because I get to live the dream through movies! These are my top 5 road trip movies.

#5 Paul (2011)

Speaking of British folk who dream of an American road trip, that’s what Paul is all about! Simon Pegg and Nick Frost play 2 comic book geeks travelling across the US, ticking landmarks off their bucket list. Everything kind of goes haywire when they encounter an actual alien outside of Area 51. It’s not up there with Shaun of the Dead, but you can always count on this duo to make a comedy worth watching!

#4 Borat (2006)

How is this movie 11 years old now? Sacha Baron Cohen plays Borat, sent on a trip to the US to report on what Kazakhstan TV says is the greatest country in the world. It preys on people who have no idea it’s a fictional movie, it’s inappropriate, but it’s funny as hell and stole the hearts of many of us Brits, including me. It spawned a lot of copycat movies which were terrible, but this one stands strong.

#3 Chef (2014)

Chef is the ultimate food porn movie, the kind of movie you absolutely cannot watch unless you’ve just eaten a full meal, and even then your stomach will surprise you by rumbling! It’s also a beautiful, heart warming story about a chef played by Jon Favreau who quits his job and takes a trip with his son across the US in a food truck. Isn’t that just the perfect way to travel?

#2 Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

It’s impossible to explain Little Miss Sunshine to anyone without making it sound like the most depressing movie ever. A family take a road trip to take their chubby, uncoordinated daughter to a beauty pageant. Along for the ride is their Uncle who recently tried to commit suicide and well, I’ll let the rest be a surprise if you haven’t seen it before. It’s one of those rare movies that absolutely nails the blend of drama and comedy.

#1 National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983)

National Lampoon’s Vacation isn’t just the greatest family road trip movie ever. It might just be my #1 movie of all time. I can’t tell you how many times I watched this as a child. You don’t need to have had a road trip to identify with this one, just any holiday will do, or even any car journey spent with family. Everything that can go wrong does go wrong, and it holds up surprisingly well after all these years.

In fact, I love this movie so much that part of our Californian Honeymoon last year involved a trip to Six Flags Magic Mountain, which you may not know is where the fictional theme park Walley World in National Lampoon’s Vacation was set. Whilst there we managed to recreate this famous scene!

I think you should share your recreation of that scene, Allie! And not to be outdone on my own blog, here are my five favorite road trip films.

Dumb and Dumber movie poster5) Dumb and Dumber

Dumb and Dumber is the kind of film that, on paper, seems like it should fail.  Two dimwits travel across the country to deliver a briefcase that one of them thought was left behind by mistake.  However, it is one of the funniest films from the 90s and one of Jim Carrey’s best films. And that is why it works, because of Carrey and Jeff Daniels. They have a chemistry that feels genuine.  It gives the film a lot of heart that it might not have otherwise.  As Harry (Daniels) and Lloyd (Carrey) travel to Aspen, Colorado, they cause all kinds of mayhem that garner some great laughs.

The Cannonball Run movie poster4) The Cannonball Run

I feel like The Cannonball Run is a forgotten 1980s gem.  Released in the early 80s, it stars some of the biggest stars of the time, including Burt Reynolds, Dom DeLuise, Farrah Fawcett, Roger Moore, and many others.  I feel that of all the movie genres, comedies differ the most between eras and act as a timecapsule of their era. Every decade seems to have their own flavor or sense of humor. I mention that because it is very different from a comedy you would find these days, but I love it. It is much more subtle, think along the lines of The Naked Gun.  I can honestly say they don’t make them like this anymore.

Finding Nemo movie poster3) Finding Nemo

You might not think of Finding Nemo as a road trip film but it has all the classic staples of a traditional road trip film.  A group of people traveling to a destination together? Check. Film has many side characters who only show up for a scene or two? Check.  Group feels closer at end of film? Check.  What makes this Pixar classic a classic are the characters and their story.  Merlin just wants to find his missing son, Nemo. Along the way, he runs into the forgetful Dory, who joins him on his search.  The story is so simple but it works. By following the road trip formula, Pixar was able to really explore the characters that would not have worked as well in another way.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles movie poster2) Planes, Trains and Automobiles

A John Hughes classic. Planes, Trains and Automobiles is the movie on this list I saw for the first time most recently. I don’t know how it took me so long to watch this movie. Both Steve Martin and John Candy have been favorite comedic actors of mine and the two of them are absolutely fantastic together.  Their chemistry is some of the best in any comedy film.  Even after seeing it several times now, I still can’t help but laugh at Neal Page’s (Martin) misfortune and Del Griffith’s (Candy) good-natured clumsiness.  This was very close to being my number one spot but it was barely inched out by another John Hughes film.

National Lampoon's Vacation movie poster1) National Lampoon’s Vacation

Ah, the OG road trip movie (probably not, don’t quote me on that). I think I was drawn to National Lampoon’s Vacation based on the movie poster / cover art, honestly.  How can that be called anything less than epic?  This is one of those films that anyone can relate to.  Clark just wants to give his family the perfect vacation, his wife Ellen wants to get to Walley World in one piece, while their children, Rusty and Audrey, would rather be anywhere else. The Griswolds are constantly finding themselves in precarious situations that you can’t help but laugh it.  If you ever think your family has problems, watch this film and you’ll instantly feel better.

Honorary mentions include Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, Tommy Boy, Fanboys, and Zombieland.

But wait, there’s more! Here’s Allie again to tell you about it:

Now, it was my suggestion to Drew that we throw in a little something extra into this post for a bit of fun. My question was, if you could go on holiday or vacation anywhere from a movie, either fictional or real, where would you go? I probably should have thought about my answer before suggesting that because that’s why my part of this post has taken so long to write! Thinking of things I’ve watched recently though, I would absolutely love to explore the island of Themyscira, from Wonder Woman (2017). I haven’t had a true beach holiday in years, and that island looked stunning. Plus, I’m not exactly going to complain if Chris Pine just happened to wash up on the shore whilst I was sipping a cocktail!

A place I would really like to go would be the Republic capital planet of Coruscant. However, that might be a little bit further of a trip than Allie had in mind. So instead, I would travel to Hogwarts.  It would be fun to see the best school of witchcraft and wizardry the UK has to offer. Not to mention driving through that picturesque country side.


Big thank you to Allie for joining me. You can see all her antics on her site at Often Off Topic.

If you would like to participate in this year’s Christmas in July Blogathon, click here for details and sign up information.

What are some of your favorite road trip films?

Until next time, cheers!

My Fave Five Buddy Cop Films

My Fave Five banner

Ah, February.  Home of Valentine’s Day, the day you spend with that someone special.  But that “special someone” isn’t necessarily always a significant other.  Your other half might possibly be your best friend. There are plenty of inseparable friends to be found in film.  Buddy cop films have some of the most memorable pairs in cinematic history.  Whether they were friends at the start of the movie or forced to work together, they are always the best of friends at the the end.  We realize they are two peas in a pod and they wouldn’t be the same without each other. In the spirit of love and friendship, here are my five favorite buddy cop films.

Bad Boys movie poster 5) Bad Boys / Bad Boys II

Marcus (Martin Lawrence) and Mike (Will Smith) are long-time friends by the time we meet them at the beginning of Bad Boys.  Their friendship is without question, which is easily sold by the chemistry of the two leads.  Throughout the first film, we see how close they really are.  Even though their relationship is on the rocks in Bad Boys II, they clearly still have each others’ backs, as evident by the scene when Marcus’ daughter’s boyfriend comes by for a visit.  If the characters aren’t cool enough for you, these films are tried and true popcorn action flicks, very reminiscent of the classic 80s buddy cop films.  These are the type of films you can just sit back and enjoy.

End of Watch movie poster4) End of Watch

End of Watch might be the most realistic buddy cop film on this list. End of Watch follows Brian Taylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Mike Zavala (Michael Pena), two beat cops in Los Angeles in a documentary style.  Despite the found-footage-esque camera style, the action is still very tight and crisp.  Normally I’m not a huge fan of it but it is well done and works for the story.  Also through this technique, the friendship can really be felt between Brian and Mike.  From patrolling in their squad car, to making a drug bust, to their home lives and everything in between.  Their friendship is displayed so well that the ending comes as a punch to the gut.

21 Jump Street movie poster3) 21 Jump Street / 22 Jump Street

Based on a TV series from the 80s, Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) are tasked with bringing down a drug dealer by infiltrating a high school… as students.  Schmidt and Jenko start on opposite sides of the popularity ladder but become extremely close friends, almost inseparable.  One of my favorite scenes from the series is when the pair is talking to the counselor in 22 Jump Street about their relationship, where they sound like a married couple. The whole premise of the series is to parody reboots and sequels, to which it does a fantastic job, including many tongue-in-cheek jokes clearly aimed at said reboots and sequels. In the current day and age of Hollywood, it’s nice to see films that can poke fun at themselves.

The Heat movie poster2) The Heat

When I first went to see The Heat, I didn’t expect to fall in love with it as much as I have.  Sarah Ashburn (Sandra Bullock) and Shannon Mullins (Melissa McCarthy) come from complete opposite sides of the spectrum.  Ashburn is a very by the book FBI agent and Mullins is more of a do-anything-to-get-the-job-done detective.  Although this dynamic has been done many times before this film came out, Bullock and McCarthy make it feel fun and refreshing.  The two comediennes show that they can kick ass with the best of any 80s action male duo.

Lethal Weapon movie poster1) Lethal Weapon series

The best buddy cop films start with the two leads at odds with each other.  Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover) is a sergeant in the LAPD about to retire when he is forced to work with Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson), a seemingly insane narcotics officer of the LAPD.  Riggs and Murtaugh are absolutely nothing alike, at least they seem that way at first.  Although they are at each others throats in the beginning, they become very close friends.  Together they stop drug smugglers, weapon smugglers, and illegal immigrant smugglers.  They dealt with a lot of smugglers.  Lethal Weapon shows what a buddy cop film can be at the genre’s best.


Honorable mentions include Rush Hour, The Other Guys, Starsky & Hutch, Hot Fuzz, and Tango & Cash.

What are some of your favorite buddy cop films?

My Fave Five Movie Cars

Have you ever watched a film, seen a car, and think “I wish I could drive that?” I can’t count the number of times that thought has crossed my mind over the years. There are so many cool vehicles in cinema that picking some of my favorites is a difficult undertaking. However, I was inspired by Turo to at least try. Turo is a car rental company that allows you to either rent a car or allow others to rent your car. Think Airbnb but for your car instead of your home. Going on a trip? Check Turo for a car to use, maybe even something like the fan-favorite Aviato. Find your car just sitting around? List your car on Turo and make some money on the side. If you are interested in finding a car to rent, check out Turo’s rentals page to find cars in your area. Now, if I could, here are my fave five movie cars I would like to drive.

Pussy Wagon - Kill Bill5) Pussy Wagon – Kill Bill Vol. 1 & Vol. 2

The Kill Bill duology is full of memorable moments and characters. One such character is Sidewinder’s truck, the Pussy Mobile.  It stands out from most vehicles on the road because of its bright yellow body with red flames, not to mention “Pussy Wagon” in a groovy 1960’s font across the back.  I would mostly want to drive it around to see people turn and look as I drive by with a derogatory word plastered on it.  I mean really, who in their right mind would put “wagon” on their truck? What is this, National Lampoon’s Vacation?

Mach-5 - Speed Racer4) Mach 5 – Speed Racer

How fast do I want to get from point A to point B? Really fast.  That’s where the Mach 5 comes in. Built for speed, I could get anywhere I needed to go in record time. Plus, it has all sorts of gadgets built into it that I could navigate almost any type of terrain, with its cutter blades or tire crampon gripes, or handle any trouble that comes my way with the jump jacks or tire shields and bullet-proof polymer deflector. Yes, the Mach 5 can handle just about anything, except for pesky little brothers and monkeys stowing away in the trunk.

Ecto-1 - Ghostbusters3) Ecto-1 – Ghostbusters 1 & 2

If there’s something strange in your neighborhood, who you gonna call? DREW! Wait… I mean… GHOSTBUSTERS! Traveling through town in the Ecto-1 with the sirens blaring would be the dream. Hopefully with the Ecto-1 comes Peter, Egon, Ray, and Winston. Imagine, going around and catching apparitions with the OG Ghostbusters. Now that would be the dream.

DeLorean DMC-12 - Back to the Future2) DeLorean DMC-12 – Back to the Future trilogy

I think you already know the reason why I would love to drive a Delorean that runs on uranium and is fitted with a flux compositor.  There are a thousand things I would do if I had a time machine.  Of course, it wouldn’t be as fun without Doc Brown and Marty joining in on the adventures.  Although, some of my uses for the time machine are for personal gain, so maybe it’s not the best idea to have the Doc along. At least most of the time anyway.

Batmobile - The Dark Knight1) Batmobile – The Dark Knight trilogy

Cruising down the road in the Tumbler, nothing would get in my way. Sure, there are traffic laws, but do I really need to obey them when I am essentially driving a tank? Plus, the recreational off-roading capabilities are endless. Then when I don’t feel like taking up the entire road or want to feel the breeze in my hair, I could always take the Batpod for a spin. The Batmobile is the ultimate cinematic vehicle.


I would like to thank Turo for reaching out to me for this project. Again, if you want to find a rental car in your area, visit their rentals page to see what is available near you.

What are some of your favorite vehicles from cinema you would like to drive?

Until next time, cheers!

Drew’s Movie Reviews Turns 3! Anniversary Week 3 Conclusion: My Fave Five New Movies I Watched in Year 3

Hey there, dear readers!

Welcome to my blog’s third birthday! That’s right, 36 months ago to the day I posted my first posts.  And in that time it has blossomed into the cute little place you see today.  In what has become customary here, I reviewed two trilogies throughout the week.  This year, I looked at two series that I haven’t seen before: The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. If you missed any of my reviews for them, here are the links:

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

One of the biggest changes I made this blogging year was changing my scoring system.  From the start up through December 2015, I used a number rating from 0.5 to 5. Beginning with my review of Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens, I transitioned into a more loose rating of BAD, OK, GOOD, GREAT.  This wasn’t exactly a huge change but it allowed me to feel less confined in my scorings. A more vague approach allowed me to make my reviews more in line with how I would speak about the film to you as if we were face-to-face, which is more the goal of this blog.  You guys seemed to handle the change pretty well and were very supportive of it.

Many great bloggers nominated me for awards this year but I dropped the ball on them.  I like doing write-ups for award nominations, it is a great way to interact with my fellow bloggers, but I never got around to many this year.  Much of my time and focus went into my reviews, features, playing Splatoon (seriously, I’m addicted to that game), or many of the other things I do outside of blogging.  So I would just like to take this time and thank those of you who gave me an award that I never responded to.  I didn’t forget about you (well I did but I also didn’t) and I appreciate the nominations.  Thank you.

Every blogiversary, I like to look back at all the movies I have watched in the last twelve months and give the top ones I have watched that were new to me, whether I watched them on home video or in the theater. Last year, my list was comprised of entirely movies seen in theaters but this year it is mixed, which is exciting. So here are my fave five films I watched during my third year of blogging.

Rocky Balboa movie poster5) Rocky Balboa

Late in 2015, I went through the Rocky series for the first time.  Out of all six, Rocky Balboa was my favorite.  Rocky V was a very disappointing end to the series, so I’m really glad that a sixth Rocky was released because it gave the character an ending he deservedThe entire series is composed of feel-good moments but Rocky Balboa was the most emotional of them all.  Most of the time is spent outside the boxing ring, and with a Rocky coming to terms with his old age, it offers one of the best character studies of the series.  I know many people consider Rocky the best of the series but I think that honor belongs to Rocky Balboa.

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King movie poster4) The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

After the slow start in The Fellowship of the Ring and large set-up in The Two Towers, The Return of the King brings all of the plot threads together.  The run time is absurdly long but it packs a lot in.  The action is top-notch and all the characters get satisfying endings to their stories.  The use of practical effects most of the time and using CGI only when necessary adds so much to the film that got lost in the Hobbit series, something that plagues many films today.  I know I got around to watch this series late, but it was definitely worth the wait.

Zootopia movie poster3) Zootopia

Every Disney movie tries to have some sort of lesson.  Zootopia has the standard “don’t give up on your dreams” that is common in many Disney movies.  But on top of that, it tries to handle the sensitive topic of racism and stereotypes.  Although the topic is brought up often, it doesn’t feel heavy handed.  It comes across strongly but never overwhelming.  What really solidified this as a favorite for me was the buddy cop aspect.  Nick Wilde (Jasaon Bateman) and Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) try to solve a mystery of savage residents in Zootopia.  Like the best buddy cop movies, they are very different and become reluctant partners.  Disney has had a resurgence lately and Zootopia is keeping that train going strong.

Some Like it Hot movie poster2) Some Like It Hot

I’ve seen Some Like It Hot on several “best of” comedy movie lists.  Comedy is one of my favorite genres so the “Try it, you’ll like it” blogathon hosted by Movies Silently and Sister celluloid gave me the perfect chance to check it out.  Whenever I look at “definitive” or “best of” lists like that, I always read them with some hesitation because I have been let down before.  However, Some Like It Hot every bit deserves to be on those lists.  Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon are absolutely hilarious together.  Every scene is side splitting.  If you have never seen this, you owe it to yourself to check it out. You won’t be disappointed. As they say, they don’t make them like this anymore.

Deadpool movie poster1) Deadpool

It was tough to decide which movie got the top spot on this list but Deadpool inched out over Some Like It Hot.  Deadpool had been in development hell for years and audiences were not sure if it was even going to happen.  After a disappointing appearance in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Fox had to nail the character of Deadpool this time or completely lose the support of fans.  Luckily, they completely nailed him.  Ryan Reynolds was perfect in his first outing as Wade Wilson and is even better the second time.  It is easy to tell he and the entire cast was having a great time.  As a huge fan of the character myself, I could not ask for a better movie version of the character.

And with that, I close out year three and move into year four!  From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank all of you for reading this blog.  I know people say this all the time but it does not make it any less true: I wouldn’t be here without any of you (heh, I rhymed). Your constant likes and comments tell me all the time spent writing reviews, finding quotes, gathering trailers and collaborating with many of you is all worth while.  Thank you everyone for all your support!

I’m excited to see what the next twelve months have in store and hope you will stick around to help me see it, too. 🙂

Until next time. Cheers!

My Fave Five Feel Good Films (Featuring Life of this City Girl)

Everybody likes to feel happy. There is nothing better than feeling good about yourself and the things around you.  We can all find happiness in the things around us, it truly is the little things in life.  That is the idea behind the 100 Happy Days challenge, to find something each and everyday to be appreciative for and that makes you happy.  Recently, Natasha, the lady behind Life of this City Girl, completed the challenge herself.  Her success and the success of many other made me think about things that made me happy.  One of those things for me, obviously, are movies.  In particular, there are those movie that can’t help but make you feel good after you are done. Whether that is because the hero saved the day, or the main character got the boy/girl they had a crush on, or one of the million other reasons. Another thing that makes me happy is talking and working with my fellow bloggers.  So I invited Natasha over to share five films that give her a smile every time she watches them. Here are Natasha and my five favorite feel good films. Take it away, Natasha!

Drew checked in with me about a possible collaboration post, and eventually came forth with movies that makes us all feel good. He has this feature, and I have my Five Things Friday, so birds of a feather, eh, Drew? Hehe.

Anyway, it is pretty tricky to narrow it down to only five films, but I eventually chose these below. I just realized that most are all really, really girly films, but I love them, will watch them repeatedly and makes me laugh without fail.

5) Mean Girls

Brilliantly penned by Tina Fey, this is a social commentary film on the dramas of high school life. I think everyone is quite familiar with Cady Heron, her “African” background, and her struggles to fit in with the all American teenage environment she is thrust into. Best line ever in this film:

MEAN GIRLS

4) Wild Child

wild child

The least well known of this list, but Wild Child makes me so stupidly cheerful. I had this little fantasy of boarding school as a kid, how much fun it would be, the crazy things we could do (all fueled by Harry Potter and a local book series I used to devour), so this film spoke directly to all those suppressed dreams. Emma Roberts is the epitome of the American brat, her English school mates are so very English, and the heartthrob of Alex Pettyfer in this is through the roof. All the adventures, naughtiness and emotional battles keeps me entertained on the most basic of popcorn levels, and I thoroughly recommend a watch if you haven’t yet!

3) Crazy Stupid Love

crazy stupid love

Ahh this film! It is the second film on this list with Emma Stone in, and as usual, she’s hilariously funny and relatable and enviably pretty. Then there is the ever entertaining and gorgeous Ryan Gosling, who manages to be hilarious and attractive and so damn cute. This is one of Steve Carrell’s favorite pieces of work – I love when he is more than those silly little comedies that gets made so often. It’s a funny film, with great one liners and casual advice on life on love. I’ve probably watched this one ten times already.

2) The Avengers

Avengers

MCU is my favorite powerhouse at the moment. They are thrilling, full of adventures, they produce their movies well and they are just getting better – proven by more intricate plots as they continue into their third phase. I particularly enjoyed The Avengers because it was the first time all the characters came together on screen. It is also typically Marvel with sarcasm and humor in between the drama.

1) The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

lotr

This movie is the besssst. It is my favorite in one of my favorite franchises ever. It is perfectly done, the characters are so well cast I can’t imagine them as any other character, the movies are actually quite loyal to the books. And that fight scene at Gondor. And the Ride of the Rohirrim. And Aragorn taking his rightful place. And and and and EVERYTHING. I can’t help it when I watch this film to cheer and yell and be really very happy when the Hobbitses and everyone end up so damn happy!

Thanks Drew! This list could have gone on for days and days, and it was quite tough narrowing it down to only five.

And what a great bird to be. 😛 Thanks for sharing, Natasha. Now, for my fave five feel good films. Some of my honorable mentions are The Avengers, School of RockDodgeball: A True Underdog Story, The Incredibles and The Blues Brothers.

Legally Blonde movie poster5) Legally Blonde

Some movies have a character that is just so positive and upbeat that their attitude is infectious.  Elle Woods is one of those characters. Throughout her entire journey to become a lawyer, she never lets anyone bring her down. No matter what challenge comes her way, she is always positive and overcomes it.  I can’t help but get a smile on my face whenever Elle stands up confidently against those trying to bring her down.  I can feel her optimism and I always finish the movie in a better mood.

Enchanted movie poster4) Enchanted

Like Elle, Giselle is a positive person. She is thrust from her animated home of Andalasia into real-world Manhattan. In her quest to return home, she runs into Robert, who makes her question her new marriage with Prince Edward.  Manhattan is very different from Andalasia but she doesn’t let the culture shock stop her.  Giselle is always singing a song and looking at the positives of her situation, even when things look bleak.  In the end, she ends up with her true love. And they lived happily ever after, as they say.

Accepted movie poster3) Accepted

Let’s face it, university life can be hard. You know what takes away some of the pressure? Starting your own college with your own curriculum.  That is exactly what Bartleby “B” Gaines and his friends do.  It seems that B can talk his way out of any situation, which is a skill he will need when the neighboring university tries to get his school shut down.  B, played by the wonderfully awkward Justin Long, is one of those characters that you want to see succeed.  He and is band of misfits have a real relationship. To see them have each others back and support each other through thick and thin always makes me feel good through the end.

The Princess Diaries movie poster2) The Princess Diaries

Where the previous movies are on this list because of the characters, The Princess Diaries make the list because of the message. Although Anne Hathaway is an absolute darling as Mia, it’s more about her journey.  Nobody is perfect and it is these imperfections that make us unique and special.  Many thought awkward and clumsy Mia wasn’t fit to become the next queen of Genovia, and she began to believe it herself. But with the help of her Grandma, the current queen, she finds her confidence and accepts her place as the heir to the throne.  Mia’s journey is a heartwarming one and that’s exactly what happens whenever I watch this film.

Tommy Boy movie poster1) Tommy Boy

Ah, Tommy Boy. Just thinking about this movie makes me smile.  Tommy Callahan takes a road trip to save his family business after his father passes away unexpectedly.  He isn’t exactly what you call “book smart” but he tries his hardest, despite what others think of him.  Throw in his father’s assistant into the mix and you have one goofy pair. Chris Farley and David Spade work magic together, making me laugh with every scene. You wouldn’t expect a pair like Tommy and Richard to do well but together they manage to pull it off and save the company, along with hundreds of jobs in the process.  How can that not make you feel good?


Thank you so much Natasha for sharing your go-to feel good films. You can check out all of Natasha’s views and favorites on her site at Life of this City Girl.

The Christmas in July 2016 blogathon is starting in a few weeks. For more information, check out this post.

What are some of your feel good films?

My Fave Five Star Wars Characters (Featuring Box Office Buzz)

There is no doubt that Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a critical and box office success.  It currently has a 93% with the critics and 90% with the audience on Rotten Tomatoes.  It shattered Thursday preview records, opening weekend records, beat Jurassic World‘s box office record by 1 day, and has made nearly $2 billion worldwide! Currently, it is the third highest grossing movie of all time, behind Avatar and Titanic.

The anticipation and hype surrounding the film was like nothing cinema had seen before.  I doubt we will ever see such anticipation or excitement for an event again, at least not anytime soon anyway.  To celebrate the success of my favorite film franchise, I wanted to take a look at my favorite Star Wars characters.  I have asked fellow Star Wars fan and the mind behind Box Office Buzz, Ashley, to join me in the celebration.  You can check out her review of The Force Awakens here.  Ashley reviews all kinds of movies that are so much fun to read.  Go peruse her site, after you finish reading this article of course. 😛 Now, let’s get onto our five favorite Star Wars characters. Be warned, there are spoilers ahead. Ladies first!

Star Wars is my all-time favorite film franchise. While I love the science fiction setting “long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away,” the main reason I love these movies so much is because there are so many great, memorable characters. It’s hard to narrow down my list of favorite characters to just five, but here goes…

5) Finn

I loved many of the new characters introduced in The Force Awakens, but my favorite so far is Finn. While Finn does provide some of the funniest moments in the film, his character is far more than just “the comic relief.” I love how he doesn’t necessarily start the film as a hero; he’s just a regular guy, forced into a situation he’s not prepared for, and his instincts are to simply run from danger. But deep down, he’s sensed just how evil the First Order is, and his feelings for Rey empower him to become a true hero by the end, standing up to fallen Jedi Kylo Ren even though he doesn’t have any Force powers himself. I’m really looking forward to watching Finn’s character grow in the next two movies, and I also hope we’ll learn a little more about his past.

Luke Skywalker4) Luke Skywalker

Luke Skywalker might not have made my top five list a few years ago, but the character has really grown on me, especially as I rewatched the original trilogy in preparation for The Force Awakens. Luke Skywalker starts the trilogy as an ordinary guy, wishing he could travel the stars. Then, he gets pulled into an adventure he never imagined, and he learns he has the power of the Force. One of the things I love most about Luke is his stubborn sense of idealism. Even when everybody else has written off Darth Vader as an irredeemable villain, Luke still senses the good in him and is willing to risk his own life to bring his father back from the dark side. I’m excited to see what happens to his character in Episode VIII, especially if he’s going to train Rey (spoiler alert — possibly his daughter?).

Ben Skywalker3) Ben Skywalker

Although in the plot for The Force Awakens, Han and Leia have a son named Ben Solo who goes to the dark side and becomes Kylo Ren, in the original Expanded Universe novels (which are now called “Star Wars: Legends” and are considered non-canon by Disney), Luke actually has a son named Ben. Ben was a great character, which is why I was a little sad when Disney ended the Expanded Universe. In the books, Ben is trained by his cousin Jacen Solo, Han and Leia’s son; like Kylo Ren, Jacen does fall to the dark side, but Ben doesn’t succumb to temptation. Like his father, he’s a powerful user of the light side of the Force; he’s determined, smart, and has a great sense of humor. My favorite moments with Ben are in the “Legacy of the Force” and “Fate of the Jedi” series.

Darth Vader2) Darth Vader

Darth Vader is my all-time favorite movie villain and has one of my favorite character arcs in the Star Wars saga. When we first meet him in A New Hope, he’s terrifying: he’s a powerful wielder of the dark side, and he appears to show no mercy to those who oppose him. Although he definitely doesn’t seem like a sympathetic character, the other films in the saga reveal a far more tragic story. Regardless of how you feel about the prequels, Darth Vader does have a really sad back story: he falls from the Jedi Order, unintentionally kills his wife, and is trapped inside a life support suit for the rest of his existence. However, he is not beyond redemption; in the end, he turns away from the dark side and sacrifices his life to save his son, Luke. It’s one of the most powerful and poignant moments in the Star Wars saga.

Han Solo1) Han Solo

When I was a kid, I thought Han Solo was pretty much the coolest person ever, and I’ve still got a soft spot in my heart for a certain scruffy-looking nerf herder. Han Solo starts off as a roguish smuggler with a devil-may-care attitude, and he’s pretty good at pretending he’s just looking out for himself. However, his friendship with Chewie and eventually Luke and Leia show he’s got a softer side, and he eventually becomes a hero in the Rebellion. Spoiler alert! He doesn’t get a happy ending in The Force Awakens, but I like how he’s willing to die doing the right thing, attempting to save his son. And he’ll always live on in the original trilogy as the fearless pilot of the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy.

Thanks a lot, Ashley! Now it’s my turn.  I have so many favorite characters, it was hard to narrow it down to simply five. My solution to this problem is to make two lists. One of movie characters, as well as one of characters from the old Expanded Universe (where Ben Skywalker resides) and the Clone Wars television series.  First up, are my five favorite non-movie Star Wars characters.

Jaina and Jacen Solo5) Jacen and Jaina Solo

Jacen and Jaina are twins and Han and Leia’s two oldest children from the old Expanded Universe (EU), mentioned earlier by Ashley.  They both become very powerful Jedi under the tutelage of their Uncle Luke.  For the longest time, the two are inseparable.  They quickly proved themselves to be skilled pilots and duelists.  Unfortunately, Jacen couldn’t resists the temptation of the dark side and became Darth Caedus.  It falls on Jaina’s shoulders to stop her brother from taking over the galaxy in the second Galactic Civil War.  What is it with Solo boys and falling to the dark side?

Ahsoka Tano4) Ahsoka Tano

Ahsoka Tano was Anakin’s apprentice during the Clone Wars.  She is everything Anakin is: skilled duelist, great pilot, brash, and constantly spoke out against authority, which earning her the nickname “Snips” from her master.  As Star Wars: The Clone Wars progresses, the viewers get to watch her grow, both in her skills as a fighter and her wisdom as a Jedi. At the beginning of the series she has a single lightsaber.  Eventually, she begins wielding a second, shorter lightsaber and becomes very proficient using dual lightsabers.  After being framed for a crime she didn’t commit, she left the Jedi Order.  For those who watched the entire series, like myself, her leaving was a huge emotional blow.  There is a silver lining however, as since she was no longer a Jedi, she survived Order 66 and she makes another appearance as a much older and wiser Ahsoka in the television series Star Wars: Rebels.

Darth Bane3) Darth Bane

Darth Bane is notable in the Star Wars mythos because he was the Sith responsible for creating the Rule of Two: One Sith to posses the power, the other to crave it.  During his time, there were many Sith, fighting a war with the Jedi all around the galaxy.  He became fascinated with ancient Sith teachings and realized the Sith could not prosper in such numbers because of their selfishness and lust for power.  To eliminate the rest of the Sith, he tricked the leaders into using the Thought Bomb, a strong dark side technique that killed the users, as well as everything around them.  Shortly after, he took up his first apprentice, Darth Zannah.  Darth Bane was an intimidating person, standing at two meters tall! He was also very muscular from working in a mine most of his life. Often he was able to defeat his opponent simply by overwhelming them with strength. For a few years, he even had an organic suit from creatures called orbalisks, making him impervious to blasters and lightsabers.  Darth Bane is one of the most powerful Sith that ever existed, or at least he was in the pre-Disney canon.

2) Mara Jade SkywalkerMara Jade Skywalker

Mara Jade Skywalker is the reason I am so sad the EU is no longer canonical.  Hands down she is one of the most bad-ass women in the entire Star Wars universe.  When she is first introduced, she is a secret warrior for Palpatine called an Emperor’s Hand.  As an Emperor’s Hand, she traveled across the galaxy performing missions for Emperor Palpatine in secrecy.  After the events of Return of the Jedi, she fell in love with Luke Skywalker and birthed their son, Ben.  She was very strong in the force, managing to fight off an alien virus while pregnant and still was able to defeat her enemies in combat.  Talk about girl power!

Cade Skywalker1) Cade Skywalker

Cade Skywalker is hands down my favorite Star Wars character.  He is the main character of the comic series Star Wars Legacy, which takes place 137 years after A New Hope.  What makes him so fascinating is he is a Jedi who doesn’t want to be a Jedi.  Ten years before the story takes place, the Sith rise up once again and eliminate most of the Jedi Order, including Cade’s father, Kol Skywalker.  He becomes a pirate and bounty hunter and refuses to acknowledge his Skywalker heritage.  Before too long, he is once again drawn into the galactic conflict and reluctantly picks up the lightsaber.  But he doesn’t always stay on the straight and narrow.  He regularly channels the dark side, drawing from its power to increase his strength as well as heal others.  It’s a intriguing dynamic that isn’t seen anywhere else in Star Wars.

And now what you all have been waiting for, here are my five favorite Star Wars movie characters.

Darth Maul5) Darth Maul

Darth Maul is criminally underused in the movies.  He is one of the coolest characters to come from The Phantom Menace, and George Lucas kills him! Or so it would seem.  He later returns in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars series with a new set of robotic legs.  Maul is one of the few in the Star Wars universe who uses a double-bladed lightsaber and time and again proved his skills with it in duels with characters ranging from Qui-Gon Jinn, General Grievous, and Count Dooku.  It was great that Maul was able to get the development he deserved but it would have been great if he would have had a bigger presence in the films.

Rey4) Rey

Rey is my favorite character to come out of The Force Awakens.  She has no problem taking care of herself in a fight, easily taking down two or three guys at once.  Towards the end of the film, she even takes on Kylo Ren, who has been trained by Luke Skywalker, and manages to hold her own.  Her heritage is a huge mystery right now.  Personally, I’m hoping there is nothing special about where she comes from and she is just a strong, force-sensitive person.  Alas, I don’t think how it will play out. Rey’s story arc is the one I am most looking forward to in the upcoming movies.

Han Solo3) Han Solo

OK, let’s be honest, what Star Wars fan doesn’t like Han Solo?  He’s the bad boy, the guy who your parents warned you about.  When Luke and Obi-Wan first meet him and his co-pilot Chewbacca, he’s only in it for the money. Han doesn’t care about anything except the check.  His charm is irresistible and he tries to play it like he looks out only for himself.  As the series progresses, we realize there is a lot more to him and he actually has a big heart.  In the end, he cares for his friends and family and dies doing what he feels is right.

General Grievous2) General Grievous

General Grievous was introduced in the Star Wars: Clone Wars micro-series that aired from 2003 to 2005, between the releases of Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith (not to be confused with the series with Ahsoka I mentioned earlier).  When I first saw him, I instantly liked him.  Here was this cyborg, wielding four lightsabers, facing multiple Jedi Masters at once, and winning!  What is more bad-ass than that!?  It is hard to tell from just the movies alone, but Grievous is actually quite the skilled duelist.  Grievous and his MagnaGuard droids trained under Count Dooku.  Before he became a cyborg fighting for the Separatists, he was already an accomplished and skilled fighter on his home planet of Kalee.  Grievous is another character, like Darth Maul, who deserved more screen time to show how great he can truly be.

Darth Vader1) Darth Vader

Darth Vader is without out a doubt the coolest character in the Star Wars saga.  He has one of the best entrances in cinema, his presence alone is unnerving, he is a Sith Lord, fully in control of the dark side of the force, and his men fear him.  It is hard for me to accept that such a strong character came from the Anakin we saw in the prequel trilogy.   The entire saga is based around his rise, fall, and redemption, making it one of the most emotional film series there is.  Anakin just wanted to save the ones he loved and was willing to do whatever it took.  Unfortunately, that path lead to the dark side. Thankfully, his son Luke was able to see past that black armor and realized the good that was still inside of him.  His redemption is one of the best moments of the entire Star Wars saga.


Big thanks to Ashley for joining me in celebrating our love for Star Wars. Be sure to check out her website, Box Office Buzz.

Who are some of your favorite Star Wars characters?