I don’t know why, but sometimes I feel like I was born with the responsibility of leading groups of teenagers through foreign countries. While I love the spirit and budding intellect of the 13-18 sect, they do seem to be permanently set on the ‘self destruct’ mode. Certain adolescent boys enjoy a few rounds of “who can chant the word bomb loudest in the security line” while others prefer the even more thrilling “let’s seek out someone in China who will sell us pot.” For their own sake as well as my own, I developed a mini film festival of movies centered around oversea adventures gone bad. These movies will make them so terrified they’ll never dream of straying from the law, or even miss a curfew, ever again. These titles may also be advisable for anybody who leans toward spontaneous and experimental behavior while on vacation, or anyone whose judgement has ever lapsed after a few margaritas. So maybe….all of us.
Return to Paradise
This day-mare inducing 1998 drama features Joaquin Pheonex and a young (and disturbingly serious) Vince Vaugn on a mad cap romp through betrayal, bicycle touring and Malaysin imprisonment. “They don’t torture us here…it’s the boredom that get’s to you,” gasps a wide eyed Joaquin in a home video made in his cell as he begs his friend to join him in prison, therefore sparing his own life. And all because of few ounces of hashish. (Are you listening in the back row, kiddos?) Added bonus: the hanging scene (sorry, plot spoiled) and a lithe, pre nervous breakdown Anne Heche.
Half teeny bop, half terror, this movie about two endearingly ignorant high school graduates is decidedly more fun to watch while still delivering a potent message. Viewers will abstain from any interaction whatsoever from charming strangers with hidden agendas. Also, they’ll want to avoid Thailand. To keep it fresh, purchase the melancholy soundtrack and have the young adventurers upload it onto their Ipods.
Locked Up Abroad
Things an audience will avoid after being subjected to this television show: cocaine, bamboo, balloons, South America, strangers, being alone, being with other people, jails, soup made out of rice and water, alleyways, Africa and traveling. So make some popcorn and settle in for a horrifyingly educational Friday night.
The Amanda Knox Story
After three years in an Italian prison, Amanda Knox was pronounced innocent and sent home. The bulk of the evidence produced against her in the original trial centered on her ‘strange behavior’ and ‘keeping undesirable company.’ This true account of one gal’s nightmare is enough to keep us all squeaky clean and constantly surrounded by wholesome people in broad daylight.
Films to Avoid: Bridesmaids
This may be the single funniest movie ever produced, but keep the young ones away before you hit the road. Despite what Kristin Wiig’s quirky, lovable self can get away with onscreen, disruptive airplane antics will get you a lot more than a ruined bachelorette party and a sullen but iconic bus ride across the Midwest. Also, air marshals are generally not as fun loving and affable, although I’ve never actually met one.
If you or your kids are no longer interested in traveling after watching any of the suggested films, don’t worry. This fear is perfectly normal and will wear off in about six to eleven years. By then, we’ll all be responsible adults.