Summer is the perfect time for road tripping. Whether you’re out for the weekend or decide to take several months off to drive around the country, road trips are a great way to enjoy some things that are uniquely Americana – and with Independence Day around the corner, what could be better than that? But where do you begin? Perhaps you’ve been cooking up this idea for ages. But if you’re looking for some inspiration, look no further than these 8 epic road trip movies.
One of the most transformative movies of the 1960’s, Easy Rider represents the culmination of beatnik and hippie counter culture. Wyatt (Peter Fonda) and Billy (Dennis Hopper) undertake an epic adventure, via motorcycles, through the American Southwest and South. Along the way they meet drunks, prostitutes, and other seedy characters. Easy Rider portrays drugs, sex, and the existential crisis of the Vietnam era–themes, that until then, had remained predominantly untouched.
If you were a teenaged girl in the early 2000’s and didn’t live in a cave, then you have seen this movie. Boys, you can skip along to the next movie…Crossroads tells the endearing story of Lucy (Britney Spears), Kit (Zoe Saldana), and Mimi (Taryn Manning). At the beginning of the movie the young version of our main characters create a time capsule of all things important–boy stuff mostly. Their lives eventually take them in different directions until one day they decide to up and leave to Los Angeles to pursue their dreams. At one point one of them is pregnant. They meet a hot stranger and decide to travel with him (red flag anyone….anyone?) Anyway, just watch it. It’s for every female that isn’t a girl but is not quite a woman.
Dumb and Dumber
“That John Denver’s full of shit, man”. Dumb and Dumber, although the bane of every baby boomers’ existence, provided endless entertainment for younger generations. Most people who are fans have memorized most of the movie. Even if you find Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels obnoxious this is a cult classic and must be taken seriously. These boys are on a quest for truth, love and fulfillment. And there are a lot of fart jokes along the way.
Another cult classic, Tommy Boy, tells the story of Tommy (Chris Farley) and Richard (David Spade), an unlikely duo trying to save a small automotive business in Ohio. They set off across the midwest and hilarity ensues. This is another EXTREMELY quotable movie and includes such classics as, “Fat Man in a Little Coat”. Watching this movie still brings a tear to my eye as I think of Chris Farley and all the laughs he gave an entire generation. There are also a lot of fart jokes.
Thelma and Louise
No road trip movie would be complete without Thelma and Louise. A good ol’ fashioned “men are savages and we are going to leave/kill them and hit the open road” kind of move. A young Gina Davis (Thelma) and Susan Sarandon (Louise) find themselves in a heap of trouble after killing a man at a roadside bar. They spend the rest of the movie running from the cops and meeting hot cowboys (a young Brad Pitt). The ending is a real cliff hanger (hahah!).
Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise manage to make the audience equally hopeful and uncomfortable in this award winning drama. Rain Man tells the story of an autistic savant, Raymond Babbitt (Hoffman) and his yuppie, selfish brother Charlie Babbitt (Cruise). Like every good road trip movie, the brothers, once strangers, become closer after the death of their father, Raymond’s crazy awesome toothpick counting skills, and a cross-country road trip. A horrifically awkward sex scene really ties it all together to make a road-trip-movie-classic.
This 1973 film starring Tatum O’Neal and her father Ryan O’Neal take place during the Great Depression. The pair, Addie and Moze spend their road trip circling Kansas and Missouri conning people out of house and home. The movie includes exotic dancers, bootleggers, and an adorable tomboy with a foul mouth–what more could you ask for?
Little Miss Sunshine
Take a neurotic family, add a stellar soundtrack, and stuff it all into a decrepit Volkswagen bus and you have a solid gold road trip movie. This 2006 classic put Abigail Breslin on the map and showed us just how deprived an aging Alan Arkin could be. If you haven’t seen it you’re in for a real treat. The movie revolves around a tight-knit family from Arizona and the world of child beauty pageants. The scene at the end will have you in tears (in a good way) but try to remember that it’s the journey, not the destination, that truly matters.