Wednesday, June 23

Best Travel Movies

I have been bitten by a serious case of the travel bug.  And while I have always loved to travel especially with Hubster and friends, this year the Hubby and I have been exploring different countries, cities and provinces on an almost monthly basis.  And it has given silly blogger yet another wishful dream for a life occupation: Lady World Traveler.

And so in memory of our recent road trip to Poro-Point, La Union, here are some of my favorite backpacking/travel movies.

1. Lost In Translation - The ultimate finding-oneself-in-a-foreign-land movie.  I love how even the most sublime of encounters is given a hint of subtlety by Coppola.  I was a huge fan of Japan way before the film was released but seeing all the different craziness in that country from this movie made me fall in love with the Orient of the Pacific even more.

Like a good dream, Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation envelops you with an aura of fantastic light, moody sound, head-turning love, and a feeling of déjà vu, even though you’ve probably never been to this neon-fused version of Tokyo. Certainly Bob Harris has not. The 50-ish actor has signed on for big money shooting whiskey ads instead of doing something good for his career or his long-distance family. Jetlagged, helplessly lost with his Japanese-speaking director, and out of sync with the metropolis, Harris (Bill Murray, never better) befriends the married but lovelorn 25-year-old Charlotte (played with heaps of poise by 18-year-old Scarlett Johansson). Even before her photographer husband all but abandons her, she is adrift like Harris but in a total entrapment of youth. Doug Thomas

2. Motorcycle Diaries - similar to another Gael Garcia Bernal vehicle, Y Tu Mama Tambien, this movie, although tackles Che Gueverra's carefree life from would be doctor to revolutionary icon, is ultimately a buddy-road movie.  It takes you for a ride to amazing South American landscapes.  Gael Garcia Bernal always makes silly blogger drool, add to that all that fabulous scenery, sigh, can't wait to go to South America one of these days.

3. The Beach - Yes, I have heard numerous fans of this Alex Garland novel bash Danny Boyle's take on this beloved backpacker's journey relentlessly.  But silly blogger thinks all the bad press was blown way out of proportion.  True, I love the book more, but Leonardo diCaprio's search for the ultimate paradise in Thailand ain't half bad either.  Plus seeing Thailand's fantastic 'virgin' beach made me want to rush pack my bikinis in trusty Jansport and go find myself a Daffy's map.

After receiving a not-so-secret map to a secluded island from a stoned-out loony (Robert Carlyle, full of dark portent and spittle), Richard sets out to find the hidden paradise with a young French couple (Virginie Ledoyen, Guillaume Canet). What they find is a tropical commune existing in delicate balance with Thai pot farmers, and before long–as always–there’s trouble in paradise. There’s trouble in the movie, too, as DiCaprio is reduced to histrionics when the plot turns into a muddled mix of Lord of the Flies and Apocalypse Now, with shark attacks tossed in for shallow tension.   Jeff Shannon

4.  Into the Wild - At first I was a bit turned off because nothing seemed to be happening.  Alascan landscape wasn't doing it for me But I watched it again with a different perspective and suddenly I just got it.  Emile Hirsch plays every backpacker's god here.  

This is the true story of Christopher McCandless (Emile Hirsch). Freshly graduated from college with a promising future ahead, McCandless instead walked out of his privileged life and into the wild in search of adventure. What happened to him on the way transformed this young wanderer into an enduring symbol for countless people — a fearless risk-taker who wrestled with the precarious balance between man and nature. - Amzon.Com

5. The Good Year - It always has to be an obsessive-competitive corporate slave driver who gets changed by a beautiful bohemian  woman  in a foreign country.  I love seeing the French countryside.  And it's a solid romantic comedy film, not too much crazy plot lines even if Ridley Scott did try to put a surprise twist in the end.

A Good Year provides a languid, gorgeous viewing experience.  Based on Peter Mayle's book A Year in Provence, Crowe plays Max, a workaholic London bonds trader who doesn't know the meaning of vacation.  When his uncle dies, leaving him a picturesque estate in the south of France, Max views it as an opportunity to cash in the vinery and pocket the profits.  The scenery plays as much of a role in this film as its characters. The lush vilalge adnstreaming sunlight portray Provence as an idyllic, magical place.  Even Max falls under its spell. - Jae Ha Kim

Synopses and images c/o


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