Good Roadtrip Movies

Wednesday, April 21, 2010 at 9:21 am

I’m currently on the road between Texas and Los Angeles, so this list of good roadtrip movies is in honor of that fact. While I’m headed to the first annual TCM Classic Film Festival, other roadtrippers have different reasons and destinations in mind. Some enjoy exploring new parts of the landscape, while others like to directly interact with roadside vendors and living, breathing elements of their chosen route. If you’ve enjoyed roadtrips in the past, watching any of the following will bring those memories flooding back. And if you’ve never had the pleasure, then these good roadtrip movies should show you what you’ve been missing.

If you ever want to rent any of these films, you won’t need to go on a roadtrip. Just visit Netflix and sign up for a free membership. We do get a small commission for sending you there, but how else are we supposed to afford gas and snacks for our latest trip?

Road Trip (2000) – When Josh (Breckin Meyer) accidentally mails a sex tape starring himself and another girl (Amy Smart) to his long-distance love, it’s time to hit the road and intercept the damning video. Accompanied by a number of his friends (including Seann William Scott and DJ Qualls), Josh learns that life on the road can be hilarious. Tom Green also co-stars.

Natural Lampoon’s Vacation (1983) – Chevy Chase stars as Clark W. Griswold, a family patriarch who’s trying to drive his whole brood from Chicago to a Los Angeles theme park known as Wally World. Along the way, he’ll have to contend with deadbeat relatives, a faulty automobile, and a temptress in a red Ferrari. Written by John Hughes and directed by Harold Ramis, the laughs never stop in this good-natured comedy about the value of family.

Duel (1971) – Directed by Steven Spielberg, this television movie revolves around a businessman (Dennis Weaver) pursued through the California desert by a menacing tanker truck. Adapted by Richard Matheson from his own short story, Duel is to-the-point and filled with tension.

Kingpin (1996) – The Farrelly brothers present another absurd comedy, this time about a one-handed former bowler named Roy Munson (Woody Harrelson) who hits the road with an Amish prodigy (Randy Quaid) and a brunette sexpot (Vanessa Angel). One-million dollars await in a bowling tournament, but first they’ll have to get past a flamboyant bowler named Ernie McCracken (Bill Murray). Filled with plenty of bizarre moments and gross-out humor, a staple of the guys who brought you Dumb and Dumber.

Road to Perdition (2002) – Tom Hanks plays Michael Sullivan Sr., a mob enforcer in this period piece from director Sam Mendes. After witnessing his employer’s son (Daniel Craig) kill a man, Michael is framed and half his family murdered. On the run with his remaining son, he must seek revenge and dodge a mad hitman named Harlen Maguire (Jude Law). Also starring Paul Newman, Stanley Tucci and Jennifer Jason Leigh.

Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure (1985) – Paul Reubens stars as his childish alter-ego, Pee Wee Herman, and Tim Burton takes the directorial reigns in this offbeat film. When his prized bicycle is stolen, Pee Wee sets off on a cross-country adventure to retrieve it. From the basement of the Alamo to the backlots of Warner Bros. Studios, Pee Wee gets into one madcap situation after another.

Stand by Me (1986) – A group of misfit friends set off into the woods to try and find the dead body of a kid hit by a train. It’s a two-day journey, and plenty of perils and bonding await the boys. An outstanding coming-of-age tale based on a novella by Stephen King. Starring Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, Jerry O’Connell and Kiefer Sutherland.

Road to Bali (1952) – The sixth of seven movies featuring Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour, Road to Bali catches the song-and-dance men as they stop on an island paradise and romance the local princess. They also find a buried chest filled with jewels, setting them at odds with some less-than-lawful locals. Filled with music, comedy, and just a dash of action, the film also features cameos from Humphrey Bogart, Jane Russell, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987) – One of the many comedy classics from John Hughes, this one features Steve Martin and John Candy as a pair of mismatched travelers thrown together during the Thanksgiving holidays. Important lesson learned from this film: never stick your hands between two “pillows” if forced to share a bed with another man.

Tommy Boy (1995) – After his father dies, oafish Tommy Callahan III (Chris Farley) must try to keep the family auto parts company from being sold by his scheming stepmother (Bo Derek). So he heads across the nation on a marathon sales trip, assisted and belittled along the way by his father’s former right-hand man (David Spade). The critics hated it, of course, but that didn’t stop Tommy Boy from enjoying success at the box office. Rob Lowe, Dan Aykroyd, Brian Dennehy and Julie Warner co-star.

Also recommended:

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