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!

Lightning Review: Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd

Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd movie posterSynopsis
Before they went on a trip across the country together, Harry (Derek Richardson) and Lloyd (Eric Christian Olsen) first met in high school. Their high school principal (Eugene Levy) give Harry and Lloyd the task of finding “special” students for their class. Little do they know, the class is a scheme by the principal to con money for him and his girlfriend (Cheri Oteri).

Review
I think it is safe to say that Dumb and Dumber was a bit of a surprise hit. On paper, the premise and characters sound ridiculous but it works because it has a lot of heart. That’s where Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd fails. It lacks the heart that makes the first film work. Like any comedy follow up, it tries to make similar jokes as its predecessor since that’s often part of what made it work in the first place. This time, they fail to hit their mark. The film wasn’t nearly as funny and I barely laughed. When I did, it was often because of how absurd it was, and not the good absurd that Dumb and Dumber is. It has moments that are marginally tolerable but they are mere drops in a bucket of dirty water. One redeeming quality I can see in this movie is Derek Richardson and Eric Christian Olsen did a good job of imitating Jim Carrey’s Lloyd and Jeff Daniel’s Harry, respectively. The biggest problem with this prequel is that it does nothing to expand on the characters that we see in the first film.

I thought Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd was BAD :-(. With the exception of a handful, the jokes fall flat and it doesn’t have any sort of redeeming qualities that I can see. I guess this kind of poor quality is what happens when a studio goes for a cash grab on a property and the guys that made the first film a success are not included.

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Troy Miller – Director / Screenplay
Robert Brener – Story / Screenplay
Eban Schletter – Composer

Derek Richardson – Harry Dunne
Eric Christian Olsen – Lloyd Christmas
Mimi Rogers – Mrs. Dunne
Luis Guzman – Ray
Rachel Nichols – Jessica
Eugene Levy – Principal Collins
Cheri Oteri – Ms. Heller
Elden Henson – Turk
Josh Braaten – Toby
William Lee Scott – Carl
Michelle Krusiec – Ching Chong
Shia LeBeouf – Lewis
Teal Redmann – Terri
Brian Posehn – Store Clerk

Dumb and Dumber Review

Dumb and Dumber movie posterSynopsis
Lloyd (Jim Carrey) and Harry (Jeff Daniels) go on a road trip to Aspen, Colorado to return Mary Swanson (Lauren Holly) her briefcase after they mistakenly believe she forgot it at the Providence, Rhode Island airport. Meanwhile, Harry and Lloyd are pursued by two kidnappers (Joe Starr and Karen Duffy) who are also looking for the briefcase.

Review
Just by the name, Dumb and Dumber sounds like it is going to be a very outlandish film, with two bumbling idiots doing stupid and absurd stuff to create laughs that lack any actual comedy. That is partially correct. Yes, Dumb and Dumber follows two bumbling idiots who do stupid and absurd stuff to create laughs. However, what sets this film up for success is it is able to create characters that you can care about, root for and get behind, creating a film that is genuinely funny.

From the first introductions of Lloyd (Jim Carrey) and Harry (Jeff Daniels), the movie sets up exactly what you should be expecting from these characters, as well as the movie itself. When Lloyd asks a woman where she is from, and she tells him she is from Austria, he does an Australian accent and says some stereotypical Australian phrases. Harry is a dog groomer and decides the dogs should eat before going to their pageant, not realizing the drive would upset their stomachs. They are set up as dim-witted but good-natured characters. This is perfect for the movie because if they were simply dim-witted, there wouldn’t be any way or reason to really connect with the them.

Since this is a buddy movie, how well the film works rests solely on the shoulders of Carrey and Daniels. If there is any kind of kink in their chemistry, the film would fail. Thankfully, Carrey and Daniels are an absolute blast together. They play very well off each other. Carrey is exactly what you would expect out from him, especially from one of his earlier films. Daniels isn’t as much of a comedy actor as Carrey, especially around the time of Dumb and Dumber‘s release, but he manages to go comedy toe-to-toe with Carrey and they are both the better for it.

What I like most about Harry and Lloyd is their stupidity seems so nonchalant. Like I said before, they are set up as dim-witted, but they don’t realize they are that way. From the small things like misunderstanding what words mean, like Austrian versus Australian, to having the opportunity to be oil boys on a bikini bus tour but instead they direct them to somebody else. The script has all sorts of gags like that and there are many of them. It reminds me of films like Airplane! where the movie throws as many jokes out as possible with the expectation that the ones that miss their mark are forgotten quickly because the next one is already there.

I thought Dumb and Dumber was GREAT :-D. Despite being dumb, for lack of a better term, the two main characters are extremely likable. Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels play extremely well off each other, leading to some very quotable lines and memorable moments. If you like any of Carrey’s other films, especially his earlier ones like The Mask or Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, then you find a lot to love here.

Favorite Quote
Harry: Nice set of hooters you got there.
Mary: I beg your pardon.
Harry: The owls. They’re beautiful.
Mary: Oh, yeah. Are you a bird lover?
Harry: Me? Oh, no. Well I used to have a parakeet but now my main area of expertise is canines. Dogs to the layperson.
Mary: Thanks. I love dogs, too. So how are you involved with them?
Harry: Oh, you know, I’ve trained them, bathed them, clipped them. I’ve even bred them.
Mary: Oh, really? Any unusual breeding?
Harry: No, mostly just doggy style. One time, we successfully mated a bulldog with a shih tzu.
Mary: Really? That’s weird.
Harry: Yeah. We called it a bullshit.

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Peter Farrelly – Director / Writer
Bobby Farrelly – Director / Writer
Bennett Yellin – Writer
Todd Rundgren – Composer

Jim Carrey – Lloyd Christmas
Jeff Daniels – Harry Dunne
Lauren Holly – Mary Swanson
Mike Starr – Joe Mentalino
Karen Duffy – JP Shay
Charles Rocket – Nicholas Andre
Victoria Rowell – Athletic Beauty
Joe Baker – Bernard
Hank Brandt – Karl Swanson
Teri Garr – Helen Swanson
Brady Bluhm – Billy
Cam Neely – Sea Bass
Felton Perry – Detective Dale
Brad Lockerman – Bobby
Rob Moran – Bartender

Movie Quote of the Week – 9/16/16

Movie Quote of the Week banner

Answer to MWL 9/14/16: Harry Dunne (Jeff Daniels) – Dumb and Dumber

Harry Dunne: I don’t know Lloyd. You know, this- this place doesn’t really do it for me. It brings back a lot of memories.
Lloyd Christmas: Per qua?
Harry: It was a few years ago.
Lloyd: What happened Harry? Some little filly break your heart?
Harry: No, it was a girl. Freda Felcher. We stayed at a place just like this. Wasn’t as classy, but, you know, nice.
Lloyd: Felcher? From Cranston?
Harry: Yeah, you know her?
Lloyd: Oh, yeah! I mean, I remember you… talking… about her.
Harry: We had the most incredibly romantic time. I thought we were going to be together forever. About a week later, right out of the blue, she sends me a John Deere letter.
Lloyd: She give you any reason?
Harry: Yeah, I called her up. She gave me a bunch of crap about me not listening to her enough or something. I don’t know, I wasn’t really paying attention.

Thanks for everyone’s submissions and one free night’s stay at the Second Honeymoon Motel to the following people for answering correctly:

Tom (Plain, Simple Tom Reviews)
JeffBecknic (You Had It Coming)

Movie Quote of the Week – 8/7/15

Answer to MWL 8/5/15: Harry Dunne (Jeff Daniels) – Dumb and Dumber

Lloyd Christmas: Got room for one more if you still want to go to Aspen.
Harry Dunne: Where did you find that?
Lloyd: Some kid back in town. Traded the van for it straight up. I can get 70 miles to the gallon on this hog.
Harry: You know Lloyd, just when I think you couldn’t possibly be any dumber, you go and do something like this… and totally redeem yourself!

Thanks for everyone’s submissions and congratulations to the following people for answering correctly:

Carly (Carly Hearts Movies)
Jabrody (Jabrody’s Movielog)