Surprise! I’m still on vacation! Now, I was totally going to continue with lists of movies that I haven’t seen (and I’ll get back to that series soon), but I figured I’d just share some of my favorite vacation movies. They have been arbitrarily chosen and ordered as per my usual way of doing things. Anyway! Enough stalling, here goes nothing!
11. Stealing Beauty (1996)
In the wake of her mother’s suicide, 19 year-old Lucy (Liv Tyler) has many questions she’d like to have answered. Taking a holiday to the Italian countryside where her mother’s friends reside seemed like just the thing to do. Stealing Beauty is a quiet, lovely movie that marked the first leading role for Liv. Sometimes, it really isn’t about the destination as much as it’s about the journey, even if the journey is metaphorical as well as physical.
10. National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983)
It would be remiss of me if I didn’t include one of the many National Lampoon vacation movies on this list. So, I chose the one that started it all. All Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) wants to do is take his family on a cross-country road trip to the famed Wally World theme park. That shouldn’t be so hard, right? Wrong. Written by John Hughes and directed by Harold Ramis, National Lampoon’s Vacation is the iconic movie about Murphy’s Law on vacations.
9. The Notebook (2004)
Okay. I’m a girl who loves schmaltzy romance movies. At heart, The Notebook is about how two young people meet one summer and fell madly in love. Sure, there’s a lot of stuff that happens after that. There are tears, kisses, and all kinds of shenanigans. It’s the movie that really made people love Ryan Gosling and put Rachel McAdams firmly on the map.
8. Under the Tuscan Sun (2003)
I don’t think it’d surprise anyone to find out that visiting Italy is on my travel to-do list. It certainly doesn’t help that its landscape gets shown off in movies like Under the Tuscan Sun. Now, I like this movie because like Eat, Pray, Love, it’s about a woman who goes off in search of some sort of meaning in her life. Unlike Eat, Pray, Love, it doesn’t irritate me. Man, if I ever get married and divorced, I want to suddenly move out to Italy too.
7. The Parent Trap (1961)
Long before Lindsay Lohan did the twin thing in the 1998 remake, Hayley Mills and Hayley Mills set The Parent Trap. I grew up on this movie. I half-wondered if I’d ever meet my long-lost twin at summer camp (nope, never did). When I was little, I really believed the film starred a set of twins because they did the editing of the film so well. The film was also helped by its other cast members like Maureen O’Hara and Brian Keith. Sure, the remake has its own charms, but the original is where its at. Now, the sequels. . .I’m still on the fence about those.
6. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2005)
Friendship. Traveling. Pants. When four friends find a pair of jeans in a thrift store that magically fits all of their body types, they decide that it’s fate and they must keep those pants. Then, they go their separate ways for the summer and begin a pants rotation by wearing the jeans and then mailing them off to the next girl as a way to keep in touch with each other. They deal with love, loss, family drama, and trying to find their own ways in the confusing world of adolescence. I can’t help but like this movie and its well-cast characters.
5. Dirty Dancing (1987)
This movie is such a pop culture icon. It’s quotable. It’s swoon-worthy. It’s about a girl who’s on a vacation with her family and finds love. She also finds a more pragmatic attitude as to how the world works and manages to deepen her relationship with her family. Mostly, though, it’s about a growing up. And dancing. And dancing dirty. I still loved seeing this at the AFI Silver in Silver Spring, MD with Carlos. We were among fans of the film who were waiting with bated breath until Johnny (Patrick Swayze) said The Line: “Nobody puts Baby in the corner.” There was cheering. It was magical.
4. The Fifth Element (1997)
Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Tegan, how is The Fifth Element a vacation movie? What’s wrong with you?” It’s all very simple: Korben Dallas (Bruce Willis) wins a vacation, goes on said vacation, yells about being on vacation, and then happens to help the titular Fifth Element, Leeloo (Milla Jovovich), save the universe. See? Totally a vacation movie.
3. How Stella Got Her Groove Back (1998)
This movie is all about how Stella (Angela Bassett) decides to take a much-needed vacation where she finds love and phenomenal abs. Honestly, I’m not going to deny objectifying Winston Shakespeare (Taye Diggs). Heck, the movie doesn’t even deny objectifying him. He’s one attractive man and, really, that’s one of the reasons this film made it this high on the list. It also helps that Whoopi Goldberg was so good in this movie. Then again, she’s almost always fantastic in whatever she’s in. So what if the real life romance upon which this was based went poorly? I’ll always have the movie.
2. High School Musical 2 (2007)
I am shameless in my love for the High School Musical franchise. I particularly love High School Musical 2, the film that takes place during the Summer between the gang’s Junior and Senior year where most of the kids find work at the local country club. They finally let Zac Efron do his own singing and gave us the awesome, over-acted hilarity of the song “Bet On It.” The best part was the possibly accidental but hopefully not homoerotic subtext between Ryan (Lucas Grabeel) and Chad (Corbin Bleu) that culminated in the baseball diamond dance-off followed by the inexplicable clothing swap. Watch it and you’ll totally get what I’m talking about.
1. Up (2009)
Pixar really proved in the first fifteen minutes of Up that they can rip your heart out, squeeze it hard enough to make you cry, and then put it back in your chest to re-inflate it during the rest of the movie. As the kids say these days, it hits you “right in the feels.” All widower Carl Fredricksen (Edward Asner) wants is to be left alone to do his own thing. When he can’t do that, he blows up a bunch of balloons and flies away on a South American adventure with stowaway Russell (Jordan Nagai). It’s a gorgeous movie that really makes me laugh, cry, and totally wish I had a dog with a translator like Dug (Bob Peterson). Also, it totally counts as a vacation movie. So there.