8 Movies that Will Inspire You to Travel Around the USA When Life Goes All Wrong

8 Movies that Will Inspire You to Travel Around the USA When Life Goes All Wrong

03.09.2021 Off By manager_1

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Nomadland, Chloe Zhao’s Academy Award-winning film, is inspiring a new wave of tourism to South Dakota’s unlikely locations, such as the Reptile Gardens animal farm and the Wall Drug Store with a cowboy theme. Why? Because both of which are featured in the film.

While we have respect for these attractions, it is less about the context than what’s selling them. Nomadland portrays the Badlands as appealing and beautiful, even though it is not a paradise for tourists. These spots are not just for souvenirs and pretty pictures. We’re there to find something like Frances McDormand found there: something deeper and more meaningful.

A great movie can inspire us to take another look at a place and its inhabitants, to discover beauty and charm in places we haven’t thought of before.

The movies from today article are meant to inspire you to travel through America without making stops at the most tourist attractions. These journeys won’t be so easy. These are visits to landscapes that are as diverse as the Americans themselves, and have narratives as complicated as our relationships.

The Straight Story (1999)

The Straight Story is the most unbelievable of all David Lynch movies. It avoids heavy symbolism, disturbing imagery, and instead of those director uses wistful scenery. Alvin Straight (Richard Farnsworth), sets out on the 240-mile journey to Laurens, Iowa to visit his brother Lyle (Harry Dean Stanton), who has recently suffered a stroke. He is not very able to drive and has limited resources so he takes a lawn tractor. Lynch and his crew travel at five miles an hour (based on Alvin Straight’s real-life experience), and they discover the beauty and sounds of the midwest and its people.

Where to stream: Disney+

Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

An eclectic and damaged family travels in a yellow Volkswagen van to get their youngest daughter from Albuquerque (New Mexico) to Redondo Beach (California), where Olive qualified for the “Little Miss Sunshine” beauty pageant. Although the personalities of the family members may seem a bit gimmicky, the cast is fantastic and conveys the message that it’s okay to not conform. The metaphor of the American dream’s small victories and big disappointments is reflected in the western roads they travel.

Where to stream: Digital rental

It happened in one night (1934)

It has been called the “first screwball comedy” and is a strong contender for the title of the best Hollywood road trip movie. Ellie Andrews, a wealthy heiress, hops on a Greyhound in Florida to escape her abusive father and reunite with her husband (no-yet-husband) in New York City. She meets Peter Warne (Clark Gable), an earthy reporter who is willing to help Ellie if she’ll tell him the story that will get him back his old job. Ellie’s (literally!) traffic-stopping legs, and a precarious blanket divider in her motel room are just a few of the factors that bring Ellie and Peter together.

Where to stream: Crackle and Plex

Queen & Slim (2009)

It is tempting to compare Queen & Slim  to Bonnie & Clyde (even looking just on the title), but those two in the classic 60s film were criminals. The Jodie Turner Smith and Daniel Kaluya characters are fugitives because they are not guilty of any crime. After a bad Tinder date, the cop pulls them over and a fight ends with the officer. On their trip from Ohio to Cuba, they become folk heroes. Melina Matsoukas, director, also takes her time on the journey. However, some of the most powerful imagery is found in and around New Orleans where they have a little bit more breathing room. It’s not surprising, given the complicated history of Black Americans driving across the country, that so few American “road trip” movies feature Black characters. Even those that do, such as Queen & Slim characters tend to gravitate towards darker themes and ask more questions.

Prime Video, Hulu: Where to stream

Wild (2014)

Reese Witherspoon portrays Cheryl Strayed  woman who left Minneapolis in 1995 to hike a 1,00 mile section of the Pacific Crest Trail (this is a common goal for the adventurous and sporty). The film juxtaposes Strayed’s flashbacks to her mother’s death and difficult divorce with the life-threatening challenges of hiking in the wilderness without much preparation. (The first time she attempts to cook food, she discovers she brought the wrong fuel). Strayed’s trip is less about escape than a trial-by-fire, a way for Strayed to confront and burn out some of her dark past. This idea is amazing.

Where to stream: Digital rental

On the Road (2012)

On the Road, Jack Keroac’s Beat-era novel adaptation, received kind of mixed reviews. However, the stunning and outstanding performances captured much of the novel’s appeal: the feeling of throwing out alarm clocks and road maps to hit the open road during the height of the jazz revival in the late 40s/early 50s. Although the movie does not capture the novel’s benzedrine-fueled energy, it perfectly portrays the look and conveys the fantasy of living on your own terms.

Where to stream: Prime Video and Hulu. Sling TV

Something Wild (1986)

Nomadland and this kind of movies find beauty in the open spaces of the west and midwest. But, the beauty found in urban east journeys can be more complex. Something wild is a look at screwball comedy of the past. There are hints of It Happened one Night. Jeff Daniels’ character gets pulled along by Lulu (Melanie Griffith) on an absurd road trip from New York City. Jonathan Demme’s brilliantly bold color scheme is complemented by some wonderful music to show the unexpected joy they find on their east coast stopovers. It’s all about letting go of your baggage, as with many other American travel movies.

Where to stream: Prime Video and Pluto TV

Old Joy (2006)

Kelly Reichardt’s films (Wendy and Lucy, Meek’s Cutoff and First Cow) often invoke the spirit and adventure of a road trip even though the characters aren’t traveling very far. It’s two friends from high school who meet up for a camping trip in the Cascades east Portland, Oregon. Although they are both 40 years old, Kurt (Will Oldham), is determined to keep his hippie lifestyle. Mark (Daniel London) sees the trip as a short break from his settled life. In the Pacific Northwest, Bagby Hot Springs, and other attractions, there’s plenty of drama and much to be said.

Where to stream: The Criterion Channel