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Classic buddy films, 21st Century style

May 28, 2014
By Tony Rutherford (letters@graffitiwv.com) , Graffiti

Cinematic "road trips" have matured from screwball scripts ("It Happened One Night") and cross-country journeys ("Cannonball Run") to the more "finding myself" "Easy Rider" twist and , now, challenging intrepid norms and morals ("Road Trip").

Composition of "favorites" would merit a "classic" list and a "21st Century" emerging iconic assembly.

2013 engraved several contenders including the hastily assembled dysfunctional non-family known as "Meet the Millers," where a paid wife and siblings contend with Mexican drug cartels.

The year added an "end of life" road trip, shifting from the speeding suicidal acts in "Thelma & Louise" or "Vanishing Point" to a climax that no man can abort.

"Seeking a Friend for the End of the World" has a random couple thrown together by film fate bonding as each wrestle with the end of time.

Here are some traveling flicks to contemplate:

CLASSICS

- It Happened One Night (1934), Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert star as a reporter helping a runaway heiress who knows how to hitch a ride

- On the Beach (1959), Following a nuclear war U.S. sailors in Australia voyage back to San Francisco to search for the origin of a lone morse code signal. Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner

- It's a Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963), an all star cast of eccentrics careen over each other searching for money missing from a heist.

- Rain Man (1988), Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise as two brothers (one autistic and modeled after a Huntington man) journey across the nation.

- National Lampoon's Vacation (1983) Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) and his family head for the chaotic kingdom of Walley World.

- Smokey and the Bandit (1977), Burt Reynolds and Sally Field make a bet to deliver truckload of beer from Texas to the south.

- Cannonball Run (1981) Burt Reynolds, Roger Moore and Farrah Fawcett compete in an illegal cross-country drag race.

- Wizard of Oz (1939), Judy Garland travels in a tornado twisted house to a magic land where she finds empowerment.

- Sullivan's Travels (1941), Joel McCrea and Veronica Lake are featured as an escapist flick director leaves his mansion and his bank account and hops a train as a hobo.

- Easy Rider (1969), Peter Fonda, Jack Nicholson, Dennis Hopper (counter cultures collide in a trip from Los Angeles to New Orleans)

- Planes Trains and Automobiles (1987), Steve Martin and John Candy endure a pre-Thanksgiving transportation nightmare.

- Vanishing Point (1971), Barry Newman stars as a driver who agrees to steer a Dodge Challenger from Colorado to San Francisco. Catch the D.J. and motorcycle rider.

- Thelma & Louise (1991), Susan Sarandon & Geena Davis play a waitress and a housewife on the run in a murdered man's '66 T-bird.

- Wages of Fear (1953), hop aboard a big truck on a curvy road carrying a cargo of nitroglycerine (features Yves Montand)

- North by Northwest (1959) Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint chug along on a train filled with spies. Gene Wilder paid homage to the Alfred Hitchcock thriller in the comedic, "Silver Streak" (1976), Gene Wilder.

- Romancing the Stone (1984) Novelist Kathleen Turner leaves the big city and heads to Columbia to rescue her kidnapped sister. Michael Douglas joins the trip when they are across the border and she breaks a heel.

21ST CENTURY POSSIBLE ICONS

- Book of Eli (2010) and The Road (2009), two post apocalyptic tales of a man (Denzel Washington) and a father and son (Viggo Mortensen) travel across a desolated nation.

- Zombieland (2009) Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, and Woody Harrelson cruise through a zombie infested America in quest of an amusement park at the end of the rainbow.

- Lord of the Rings (2001-2003), Bilbo and Frodo struggle through J.R.R. Tolkien's fantastic Middle Earth

- Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2012), Steve Carell seeks to wrap up his affairs before a comet strike, but meets similarly alone Keira Knightley. The two hang out with each other until.

- Road Trip (2000), Breckin Meyer and Seann Scott, star as two of four friends racing from New England to Texas to retrieve an explicit tape accidentally mailed to a long term long distance girl friend.

- Hangover (2009), Three buddies hold a bachelor party in Vegas which leads them on an odyssey to get the groom to his bride before the preacher arrives. Zach Galifianakis, Bradley Cooper, and Justin Bartha.

 
 

 

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