WE’VE ALL SEEN Into the Wild, Midnight in Paris, and The Bucket List. But there are a lot of great travel movies that are totally underrated. Shannon Dell, Morgane Croissant, Ana Bulnes, and Matt Hershberger picked out their favorite underrated travel movies.
Away We Go (2009)
Away We Go might be the best hipster indie movie from a decade that was packed with hipster indie movies. It’s also one of the best travel movies of all time. Burt (John Krasinski from The Office) and Verona (Maya Rudolph from SNL) find out that they’re pregnant, and learn that Burt’s parents won’t be around to take care of the kid. So they decide to move. They don’t know where they’re moving just yet, so they go off on a road trip to all of the contenders. It’s funny, it’s touching, and its Alexi Murdoch soundtrack is insanely good. –Matt Hershberger
The Darjeeling Limited
Traveling is not only about seeing the world and getting to know new people and cultures — the best trips are those which also help us heal, making us gain perspective and come back home feeling renewed. India is one of the most cliché destinations for this kind of inner, spiritual journeys, and precisely the place Francis chooses to have a life-changing train journey with his two brothers. They’re all battling their own inner struggles: Jack is not over his ex-girlfriend, Pete doesn’t know if he’ll be a good father, Francis wants to find their mother, who is living in a convent in the Himalayas. And they’re still grieving the death of their father. Now take this plot and apply the Wes Anderson filter to it — vibrant colors, perfect symmetry, 60s music, trains that get lost, and that soul-affirming weirdness we all need from time to time. –Ana Bulnes
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
The reviews that compare James Thurber’s 1939 short story to the movie featuring Ben Stiller are all quite negative. To remain consistent, I have not read the short story and I loved the movie — apparently, it’s a prerequisite.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty tells the story of a single man (Walter Mitty) who lives a very routine life in NYC. He works for Life magazine at a desk job, hangs out with his mom and sister, attempts to get a hang of internet dating and likes to balance his checkbook. The guy is stuck in a boredom rut, but when his job get threatened, he is forced to embark on an adventure that takes him around the world.
The images are stunning — amazing shots of Iceland, Greenland, The Himalayas — and the story of an ordinary guy’s life being changed by travel is heartwarming and often funny. –Morgane Croissant
It’s maybe the ultimate travel fantasy: Meet a stranger on a train. Get talking. Find that you can’t stop. Get off the train with them in a beautiful European city. Walk and talk all night. Maybe fall in love. Richard Linklater’s 1995 masterpiece Before Sunrise, starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy and set in Vienna, doesn’t have much more of a plot than what I just described, but it remains one of the best movies I’ve seen, period. 9 years later, the trio did a follow up called Before Sunset, in which the two meet in Paris, and then 9 years after that, they made Before Midnight, set on an island in Greece. Each movie is perfect in its own way, reflecting the thoughts and hopes and fears of two very different but very compatible people at different times in their lives. You should watch all three, but this is the obvious starting point. Make sure you’re up to speed in 2022, when they’ll hopefully make a fourth entry into the saga. –Matt Hershberger
The Journey to Greenland
5/10 Complimented with a nice soundtrack (well song because the film was very silent) Journey to Greenland captures the life that people live when surrounded by nothing but ice and the beautiful surroundings that come with this. As an indirect result society contrasts are then shown. Journey to Greenland is a French/Greenlandic comedy. I wanted to watch this film as it would allow me to see what different countries class as humour. I’ve come to decide that French films have less obvious humour compared to English films. The film sent way longer than it actually was. In other words the film was a bit boring. #journeytogreenland #levoyageangroenland #netflix #netflixoriginal #film #cinephile #filmreview #review #greenland
Two young Parisian men who are having a hard time making a life for themselves in France decide to get the hell out of dodge and visit the father of one of them in Greenland. With their wheely suitcases and zero foreign language skills, the pair manages to integrate very well in the little community of Kullorsuaq. They discover the customs of the country and create bonds with the villagers despite the communication problem. The Journey to Greenland is a movie with no frills that depicts perfectly what it’s like to travel with a friend in a very remote and unique place. I laughed out loud many times and shed a few tears at the end. I highly recommend it, but if you’re not into reading subtitles, move along. –Morgane Croissant
Lost in Translation
Everyone loves Bill Murray. He’s an entire generation’s hilarious uncle. In 2003, though, he dropped the clown facade and put in the best performance of his life for Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation. It’s not a movie in which an insane amount happens: In short, Murray, a movie star, has to shoot some commercials in Japan. He’s bored, he’s unhappy, and he bumps into a young married woman (a very early Scarlett Johansson), and forms a quiet, warm friendship. It’s low-key, it’s atmospheric, it has a killer soundtrack and it is beautifully shot, and it will remind you of all the times you were in a strange land and felt totally alienated from everything. And Murray TOTALLY SHOULD HAVE WON THE OSCAR. –Matt Hershberger
It’s about a badass woman in 1977, Robyn Davidson, who travels from Alice Springs across 2,7000 kilometers of brutal Australian Outback to the Indian Ocean on foot with her dog, four camels, and National Geographic photographer Rick Smolan, who is following along to document her journey. It’s empowering, beautiful, and dusty. It’s probably the only thing that has ever made me feel inspired to walk across the Australian desert with a group of camels. But, in the meantime, I’ll just live vicariously through the film. –Shannon Dell