I had originally set out to list 5 phenomenal road trip movies but the list grew too big and there were too many films I simply couldn’t leave off. To remedy my predicament I decided to break them down between comedy and drama. We are starting with some of the funnier cross-country journeys. Doing it this way proved to be chore. There are so many to choose from. For that reason I wouldn’t call this the definitive list. Still there’s no denying that these five road trip comedies are nothing short of phenomenal.
#5 – “Tommy Boy”
Let me start off by saying that I have a genuine soft spot for this nutty 1995 Chris Farley and David Spade vehicle. The two Saturday Night Live vets were known for their chemistry. Spade was the sour, sarcastic, stick-in-the-mud while Farley was the klutzy, lovable goofball. Here they set off on a cross-country sales trip to try and save his father’s company. Obviously things don’t go well and most of it is due to Farley’s idiocy. But it is one hysterical trip mainly thanks to the clashing personalities of the two characters.
#4 – “Smokey and the Bandit”
There are so many things I equate with “Smokey and the Bandit”. The popular Jerry Reed song “East Bound and Down”. The cute-as-a-button Sally Fields. That black Pontiac Trans Am that I still wish I had. But in terms of comedy it introduced us to one of film’s funniest characters – Sheriff Buford T. Justice. The late and great Jackie Gleason played the role and to say he stole much of the movie wouldn’t be a stretch. This surly, Texas Sheriff’s determination to catch Bandit is only overshadowed by his blindness to his own ineptitude. It makes for some truly hilarious encounters and several classic Gleason lines.
#3 – “Dumb and Dumber”
There is a mind-numbing quality to the humor of this 1994 Farrelly brothers road trip romp. But unlike the awful prequel and sequel, “Dumb and Dumber” had a certain charm and it never felt as if it was forcing itself to be funny. In it we get Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels playing two well-meaning (well, sometimes) idiots traveling from Rhode Island to Aspen, Colorado to return a briefcase. Obviously when you have characters with the IQ’s of a sock there will be obstacles. Carrey and Daniels have a blast and there are so many funny moments. Consider me a member of the film’s substantial cult following.
#2 – “The Blues Brothers”
The only reason this musical comedy from 1980 isn’t tops on the list is because it may not be a road trip movie in the purest sense (whatever that means). But I feel it does fit here and it is simply too good to leave off. John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd set off on their “mission from God” to save the orphanage they grew up in. To do that they have to find and put back together their old blues band to earn the money to save their childhood home. Hysterical characters, wild car chases, great song and dance numbers – they all play a part in this high-energy and truly funny movie.
#1 – “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles”
There are so many movies that could have made and even topped this list (“Vacation” will surely come to mind), but I have such an affection for this 1987 gem (one of John Hughes’ best films). Steve Martin plays a high strung executive trying to get from New York City to Chicago in time for Thanksgiving. A missed taxi cab, a blizzard, and a flight delay threaten that. Thankfully there is John Candy who plays a chatty traveling shower curtain ring salesman. The two are polar opposites yet they keep crossing paths often times with very funny results. Martin and Candy play off of each other like experts and deliver one great scene after another.
There are my five road trip comedies. Do you have any thoughts on these or any others I didn’t mention? Please take time to share your thoughts in the comments section below.