Travel Movies

I mentioned in my Sidebar: Summer Movies 2013 blog entry that I would follow-up that critique of the season’s summer films with some potpourri about travel-themed movies. As I see it, there are two kinds: The Classic Road Trip Misadventure, and The Fish out of Water Tale. On my honor, I’ll keep this short. No, really. 🙂

The Classic Road Trip Misadventure

This sub-genre of travel cinema usually makes for a fun time at the movies. Here, the protagonist is sent on his/her way for a reason – often a family emergency – and he/she (I’ll just say “he,” “him,” or “his” going forward) is forced to share his bumpy journey with someone very unlike himself. The two will ultimately find some common ground by film’s end, and if they aren’t good friends by then they’ve at least garnered some sort of mutual respect. These films were huge in the 1980’s.

Examples: “Midnight Run,” “Planes, Trains & Automobiles,” “Rain Man,” “Twins.”

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Sidebar: Summer Movies 2013

One of my friends told me recently that my whole life is about travel, referring to the fact that I willingly chose to move to Mexico City, a place so very different from my hometown of Chicago. I never thought of things that way, but I can certainly respect her view.

This exchange was one snippet of a larger conversation in which we lamented the lack of vacation time (in her case) or money (in mine). Most people would say that I have little grounds for complaining, considering that my post-college travels have taken me to 70 countries on six continents. And if I’m content in my new life, it is because I have finally accepted (well, mostly accepted) that I just don’t have the pecuniary wherewithal to travel anymore. My unforgettable spring trip to Colombia nearly broke the bank – and that’s considered to be a cheap country! These days, a day trip to Teotihuacán is about all I can manage.

What does this mean? It means I have to content myself with other hobbies and interests. The most obvious, it would seem, are movies. With two multiplexes no more than a 30 minute walk from my apartment, I have countless options for weekend entertainment lest I not feel like navigating the metro or absorbing the latest museum’s offerings. Ticket prices are in the $6 to $10 range, making them about 40% cheaper than in LA or Chicago. Concession prices are similarly scaled back, and you get much for your money on both counts.

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