10 Most Underrated Road Trip Films
The road trip movie formula has proven to be a seemingly endless well for Hollywood. Here are some of the best, underrated road trip films.
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The road trip movie formula has proven to be a seemingly endless well for Hollywood. The open-ended nature of the template has allowed filmmakers to produce numerous variations on the notion of simply taking to the open road.
From comedy classics (Vacation, O Brother, Where Art Thou?) to Best Picture winners (Rain Man, Green Book), the road movie is an inexhaustible starting point. Due to the exceptionally high volume of content, there are bound to be certain gems that get swept away in time’s tides. Here are the 10 best road trip films that are all too underrated.
10 Wolf Creek (2005)
The Wolf Creek series is an Australian horror franchise that has produced two theatrical films and one television show. Though the original film was controversial and buzzed about in its home continent, as well as in the underground indie horror scene, American critics and audiences largely dismissed it as another cog in the torture porn machine.
This is an unfortunate stance because Wolf Creek takes the typical ‘dopey traveling friends fall into the wrong hands’ formula and injects it with a hefty dose of genuinely well-executed subversive horror. Undeniably brutal, but always compellingly horrifying, Wolf Creek deserves a second look.
9 Sideways (2004)
A decidedly grown-up affair, Alexander Payne’s critically adored Sideways details the mid-life antics of a wine snob and his goofy friend as they traverse across the wine country of Santa Barbara, California. Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church have excellent chemistry in the film, a slow and melancholic comedy-drama that reveals itself to actually be about feeling stuck in life, and they are matched by the exceptional screenplay.
For as near-perfect as Sideways is, it’s a crime it isn’t more revered in today’s cinephile circles. Payne continued to use the road trip motif in further films, such as Nebraska.
8 Locke (2013)
Tom Hardy has crafted quite a diverse career in a relatively short time, mixing dark and quiet dramas with top billing in big-budget studio films. Luckily, Hardy is one of the finest actors working today, a fact fully on display with this 2013 one-man film.
Hardy plays the titular character, a man who is driving through the night as he takes a series of phone calls that systematically dismantle his life, piece by piece. A brilliant concept brought to life by an amazing performance from Hardy and a whip-smart script from Stephen Knight that uses the literal road as a metaphor for the highway of the soul.
7 Broken Flowers (2005)
Bill Murray proved he had serious acting chops when he starred in Sofia Coppola’s masterpiece Lost in Translation. Joining with previous collaborator Jim Jarmusch, Murray turns in another brilliantly understated performance in Broken Flowers. Murray plays an old bachelor who receives a letter telling him he has a son, the news of which sends him on a cross-country trip to see four of his former flames.
The film deftly balances poignant reflections of life’s curious paths with Murray’s typical brand of deadpan comedy. A film that should have received as much attention as Translation, it sadly flew under most people’s radar.
6 Sightseers (2012)
Ben Wheatley has been steadily cranking out some of the most inventive genre films of the past 20 years since breaking out with Kill List. This follow-up effort is a dark comedy that was written by and stars Alice Lowe and Steve Oram as a couple taking a road trip that soon turns into a deadly and hilarious descent into Hell.
Wheatley’s sensibilities behind the camera perfectly align with the couple’s script and performances, creating a uniquely brutal comedic experience that often gets lost in the shuffle of the director’s flashier works, such as Free Fire.
5 The Last Detail (1973) / Last Flag Flying (2017)
Though officially speaking, the two films are not sequels, they are undeniably companion pieces. The Last Detail features one of Jack Nicholson’s most overlooked and eccentric performances as one of two Naval officers tasked with escorting a cowardly young man to serve his jail time.
Richard Linklater’s 2017 film picks up the story years later when the young man, now middle-aged, requests the two older officers to accompany him to retrieve his son’s body, a soldier killed in Iraq. Last Flag Flying, in particular, was quickly forgotten about when it should have been acclaimed as one of the year’s best films.
4 The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994)
This is a wacky and heartwarming film about a transgender woman and her two drag queen friends as they travel around in a van they’ve nicknamed “Priscilla.” The film is funny and well-directed by screenwriter Stephan Elliott, but the film’s major achievement comes in the form of the three lead performances.
Terence Stamp, known for his villainous roles, is particularly amazing as the aforementioned woman. The film is in many ways ahead of its time and is just the kind of film we need right now.
3 Withnail and I (1987)
If Downton Abbey can rule the American imagination on both the small and big screens, then Bruce Robinson’s almost unbearably British cult classic Withnail and I has just as good a chance of a delayed crossover. The film’s singular blend of literary tragedy with some of the wittiest one-line based dialogue ever committed to type makes it one of the very best films from the 1980s.
Unfortunately, the film has never had the same level of success in America as it has in Europe, though if it were to be placed on a streaming service, the probability of finding late-night fame is high.
2 Into The Wild (2007)
Being remembered as a great film and being considered a “modern classic” are two very different legacies. Sean Penn’s film Into the Wild is remembered as a great film. Adapting John Krakauer’s brilliant real-life account of Christopher McCandless, a man who left his comfortable life to hike across the country in search of meaning and purpose.
Unfortunately, the story is ultimately a tragic one. Penn’s film manages to capture the essence of profound traveling, the naturalistic feel and look of the film is just right for the material. It’s beautiful and heartbreaking. It’s a modern classic.
1 American Honey (2016)
Andrea Arnold is one of the most ambitious indie filmmakers producing work right now. Her first masterpiece, and one of the best films of the decade, is 2016’s American Honey. At nearly three-hours long, the film is something of a quiet epic that sprawls across the country telling the story of a group of young men and women in the door-to-door sales business.
The film’s central narrative is the relationship between a recruiter, played in a career performance by Shia LaBeouf, and the “new girl” played by Sasha Lane in her first role. American Honey is one of the best road trip films of all time and deserves to be known as such.
Link Source : https://screenrant.com/underrated-road-trip-films/